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    Fifth Interlude

    Just now, at midnight, the host and hostess sat playing cards with their visitors, at a card table lit by four candles, in the spacious drawing room with its carpeted floor and rich curtains drawn across the windows. Vorontsov, who had a long face and wore the insignia and gold cords of an aide-de-camp, was partnered by a shaggy young man of gloomy appearance, a graduate of Petersburg University whom Princess Vorontsov had lately had sent to the Caucasus to be tutor to her little son (born of her first marriage). Against them played two officers: one a broad, red- faced man, Poltoratsky, a company commander who had exchanged out of the Guards; and the other the regimental adjutant, who sat very straight on his chair with a cold expression on his handsome face.


    He had come to Walpole Street to use my typewriter, and seemed amazed to find that I was still living in much the same style as I had always done.


    “Est etiam in magnis Heliconis montibus arbos, Floris odore hominem retro consueta necare.”— Lib. 6. 38

    “She has not been looking ill—as at dinner to-night?”

    “I passed you this afternoon and you did not see me,” said Felicia as they were going in to dinner. “You were in the diligence office.”

    Section XXV. Of color

    "Put up your purse, my dear child! Put up your purse! You must never shew your money to people like that," he said, anxiously; and then seeing, I suppose, my disappointment, he added, speaking very slowly, that I might understand: "My child, do not be offended that I do not take your gold; your gift to me is already made without that, and in my heart I repeat the words of the Moabitess and ask, 'Why have I found grace in thine eyes, seeing I am a stranger?'" As he said this his voice became so broken I looked at him in surprise, and to my great distress saw the old man was crying. Why, I did not clearly understand, and he added to my discomposure by catching up my hand, kissing it, and pressing it to his bosom, repeating something in the Jews' tongue, and saying much I did not deserve, in French.

    But the conservative, while lauding progress, is ever timid of innovation; his is the hand upheld to counsel pause; his is the signal advising slow advance. The word electricity now sounds the note of danger. In Paris, at the mouth of the Passage des Princes, in the place before the Opera portico, and in the Rue Drouot at the Figaro office, a new sort of urban star now shines out nightly, horrible, unearthly, obnoxious to the human eye; a lamp for a nightmare! Such a light as this should shine only on murders and public crime, or along the corridors of lunatic asylums, a horror to heighten horror. To look at it only once is to fall in love with gas, which gives a warm domestic radiance fit to eat by. Mankind, you would have thought, might have remained content with what Prometheus stole for them and not gone fishing the profound heaven with kites to catch and domesticate the wildfire of the storm. Yet here we have the levin brand at our doors, and it is proposed that we should henceforward take our walks abroad in the glare of permanent lightning. A man need not be very superstitious if he scruple to follow his pleasures by the light of the Terror that Flieth, nor very epicurean if he prefer to see the face of beauty more becomingly displayed. That ugly blinding glare may not improperly advertise the home of slanderous Figaro, which is a backshop to the infernal regions; but where soft joys prevail, where people are convoked to pleasure and the philosopher looks on smiling and silent, where love and laughter and deifying wine abound, there, at least, let the old mild lustre shine upon the ways of man.

    ‘Perhaps; but how do you love me? Remember all your words, Dmitri Nikolaitch. You told me: “Without complete equality there is no love.” . . . You are too exalted for me; I am no match for you. . . . I am punished as I deserve. There are duties before you more worthy of you. I shall not forget this day . . . . Good-bye.’

    It hadn’t helped, after all. She was busy from the mo-ment she woke until the moment she went to bed, and be-cause she’d robbed herself of any possibility of rewards, there was nothing to look forward to. Her daily routine was a series of chores, and that was enough to wear anyone down. By giving up the little things that make life worth-while, all she’d done, she suddenly realized, was to forget who she really was.

    Scaramanga's chuckle was like the dry chuckle of a gekko. "Just don't you worry your liny head about the limey, Hal. He'll be looked after when the weekend's over. Picked him up in a bordello in a village nearby. Place where I go get my weed and a bit of local tail. Got only temporary staff here to see you fellers have a good tune over the weekend. He's the temporariest of the lot. Those crocs have a big appetite. Ruby'll be the main dish, but they'll need a dessert. Just you leave him to me. For all I know he may be this James Bond man Mr. Hendriks has told us about. I should worry. I don't like limeys. Like some good Yankee once said, 'For every Britisher that dies, there's a song in my heart.' Remember the guy? Around the time of the Israeli war against them. I dig that viewpoint. Stuck-up bastards. Stuffed shirts. When the time comes, I'm going to let the stuffing out of this one. Just you leave him to me. Or let's just say leave him to this."

    “Our hetman, roasted in a brazen ox, now lies in Warsaw; and the heads and hands of our leaders are being carried to all the fairs as a spectacle for the people. That is what our leaders did.”


    He shook his head heavily and thrust the wine and flowers at Tod. Before Tod could say anything, he had lumbered off.

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