The Image of Harold Turgis Harold Turgis is one of the main characters of the novel “Angel Pavement” by J. B. Priestley. Harold worked for Twiggs and Dersingham, which dealt with a sale of veneers(фанера) and inlays. His position is described in the novel as Stanley’s senior or Mr. Smeeth’s junior clerk, which can be explained that he is not a bad worker, but not good enough either, he is somewhere in-between.
And this fact doesn’t let the reader feel drawn to him from the very beginning of the story. As far as his appearance is concerned, again no one could say that he was handsome but he was not ugly either. “He was in his early twenties, a thinnish, awkward young man, with a rather long neck, poor shoulders, and large clumsy hands and feet. He was obviously neither sick nor starved, yet something about his appearance, a total lack of colour and bloom … His features were not good nor yet too bad.
He had brown eyes that might have been called pretty if they had been set in a girl’s face, a fairly large nose that should have been masterful but somehow was not; a small still babyish mouth, usually open, and prevailing several big and irregular teeth; and a dropping rather than retreating chin. ” All this made Harold Turgis rather unprepossessing to other people as well as to the reader. Mr. Smeeth portrayed Turgis as quite a good worker, but a little bit careless: “He does his best.
He’s a bit careless sometimes, I’ll admit, and he’s not to be trusted far with figures yet…. ” Harold was not lazy, he did everything what he was supposed to do, but at the same time he lacked enthusiasm for office work, moreover “he never regarded himself as one of the firm”. Even when the company was busy again and everything was very well for it, Turgis didn’t share everybody’s joy, for him it meant only a great deal more work: “Turgis didn’t see the fun of going hard at it all day and every day and frequently having to stay an hour later”.
In his everyday life Turgis was just one of London crowd, where he spent a deal of his time. He knew better than anybody else severity of crowd and the city itself, when he was jolting in overcrowded buses hasting to work or back home to his poor lodgings, when it was pouring and an icy wind chilled to the marrow, and his cheap and shabby clothes couldn’t protect him from foul weather—Turgis rented a tiny bed-sitting room at the top of Mr. Pelumpton’s house. He proved to be “a good quiet lodger, sober, and punctual in his payments”.
On Saturdays and Sundays Harold`s landlady provided him with breakfast and dinner, on the other days of the week he had only breakfast in the house and had “to shift for himself for his other meals”, what means that half of the week he was half starved. Turgis went on well with the Pelumptons and spent not one evening talking to Mr. Pelumpton, though “He really thought Mr. Pelumpton a ridiculous old bore”, which testifies to the fact that he rather subdued to other people than expressed his own opinion, he found it easier and safer. He was a youth who liked to agree with his company, not because he felt kindly disposed towards other people, but simply because it was less trouble to agree and applaud. ” Harold was not really sociable and companionable, he didn’t have friends and wasn’t longing for finding some; he didn’t want company for company’s sake. But he dreamt of finding a good, beautiful girl who would love and support him and who would share with him his lonely existence. Turgis considered himself to be a very romantic person and by temperament an inborn lover. His thoughts never left the other sex long; happiness had for him a feminine shape; the real world was illuminated by the bright glances of girls… ” He realized that he had nothing to offer a girl, but his heart, soul and love, as he was far from being beautiful, clever, successful or rich, but still he didn’t lose his hope. ‘He knew that he had little to offer on the surface, was nothing to look at, nobody in particular, but he felt that inside he was different, he was wonderful, and that sooner or later a girl, a beautiful and passionate girl, caring nothing for the outside show, would recognize this difference….
Then life would really begin. ” But still he was languishing in poverty, visiting on Sundays pictures and teashops, hoping to meet there a wonderful girl, his partner for the whole life, and trying to amuse himself by reading advertisements, the victim of which he was, since nearly every his shilling “was conjured out of his pocket by the richest and most artful advertising managers . “Perhaps that is why his suits bagged so soon, his shoes soaked up the rain, his cigarettes shredded and split, and his amusements failed to amuse”, which proves that he didn’t possess a critical mind, couldn’t analyze his mistakes and make conclusions.
However miracles always happen to people who believe in them. Once Lena Golspie came to the office to see her dad and Turgis saw her: “There, like a being from another world, stood a girl all in green, a girl with large brown eyes, the most impudent little nose, and a smiling scarlet mouth, the prettiest girl he had ever seen”. Since that very moment she became his dream, his inspiration and goal. If earlier he had just a vague image of a desired girl in his mind, now this image accepted the shape of Lena Golspie.
Harold hadn’t seen or spoken to her since that time, but he thought and dreamed about her a great deal. He didn’t know her but was sure that he already loved her and that made him at least change his appearance: he shaved every day, bought some new collars and brushed his clothes. And evenings he spent strolling along Maida Vale, where Ms. Golspie lived, in hope to see her. One day he received that chance to see Lena, as he was asked to take some money to her. He was so happy; he couldn’t wait till the end of the working day.
When he delivered Lena the money, she invited him to have some tea, then they went to the movies, drank cocktails and danced after returning home. The next day they met again; Turgis couldn’t believe his happiness. He was too naive to understand that Lena spent time with him just because she had nothing else to do, her friends left the city, besides she was not a kind of person who would stay in, she adore entertainment most of all, so she used Turgis like a toy. Even the last night when they were to meet and she didn’t come, he tried to justify her: “He thought of a hundred excuses for her.
She might have been taken ill quite suddenly… something might have happened at the house. ” After that accident Turgis’s life was like a bad dream: “his real life had been this pursuit of Lena, he could not forget her for a single minute. ” “At first, he had realized, with wonder and humility, that it was all miraculous, that he was nobody in particular, with nothing very much to offer. But she herself had changed that She had kissed him into being somebody, and now he had a great deal to offer – his love, his life. He tried to put her out of his mind, but failed, everything reminded him of her. Now he lived as he never lived before: he spent sleepless nights, thinking about her, he hardly ate anything, he didn’t look after himself. “That first phase of unusual smartness, brushed hair, clean collars, creased trousers, had passed; he could not bother with that any more… ” Every night he went to Maida Vale hoping to see her and talk to her.
“His mind, however, lived as he never lived before, knowing exquisite agonies, finding pleasure and pain inextricably confused in these hours of waiting and shadowing. He was emotionally and physically exhausted, he couldn’t stand it any longer, that is why he decided to go to Ms. Golspie and have it out with her once and forever. The reception was not friendly: Lena was beside herself with rage, she told Turgis that once she felt sorry for him and spent some time with him as she had nothing else to do, she pointed out that he was nobody and nothing on earth; at that moment she hated him so much. “He looked at her and there came, like a flash of lightening, the conviction that she was hateful, and something broke, and a great blinding tide of anger swept over him.
Her scream was cut short, for his hands were round her soft white throat, pressing and pressing it as he shook her savagely. ” Turgis was sure that he killed her. When he left her room, he didn’t know where to go, he went nowhere, he just wanted to leave her room. Harold aimlessly strolled around the city until he reached the office, where he found Mr. Golspie and Ms. Matfield. He told them everything; they went together to Mr. Golspie’s apartment and found out that Lena was alive. So what did Turgis obtain? He failed to marry Lena Golspie, failed to kill her, he was too poor even to commit suicide, and finally he lost his job.
But the author gave Harold Turgis one more chance: he sent him Poppy Sellers, who loved him and was ready to share with him his life, who could support and take care of him, who could understand him, having the same social background, the same ideals about life “… she was the eager, excited, imploring female, and he was the large, knowing, tolerant, protective male. Already they may have felt that they were going further together now than the way to the remotest picture theatre could take them…. and soon these two were lost in the crowd. “