There is a Russian proverb,’ Nepeja said. ‘Beat your shuba, and it will be warmer; beat your wife and she shall be sweeter.’

There was a brief silence, while his hearers considered the analogy. ‘Beat your brother and he shall be deader?’ at length Danny said.

I have been told to live in Scotland, and I shall do it, but I doubt if it will be to Scotland’s benefit. There are handicaps, I have found, more crippling than blindness. Even the part of me that did not come back from Dourlans would hardly have made you a whole man.

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