It’s a commonplace of parenting and modern genetics that parents have little or no influence on the characters of their children. You never know who you are going to get.

And there was something I’ve since noticed over the years-the mountain range that separates the naked from the clothed man. Two men on one passport.

She thought of Robbie at dinner when there had been something manic and glazed in his look. Might he be smoking the reefers she had read about in a magazine, these cigarettes that drove young men of bohemian inclination across the borders of insanity?

Drowned in the lake, ravished by gypsies, struck by a passing motor car, she thought ritually, a sound principle being that nothing was ever as one imagined it, and this was an efficient means of excluding the worst.

To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things.

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