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In the evening when the TV’s off I don’t do needlework and I don’t do tapestries or write cheques to the horticultural society – I am lacking a sorority, sir. My curriculum vitae is very poor, in places –

But really it’s no good being vague now. Here – you must press on my wrist; you must press on my side. Is it fast, General Practitioner? Is it high? You mustn’t send me away for tests, doctor, we must talk, we must talk about it.

You see, there were five, ten, maybe twenty of them in a group, and hanging around; waiting around like daisies, only not as good – not as true – and what did I do, sir?

I bullied the circle unkindly. ‘Up with the traitor!’ I cried, in error. ‘Down with the star!’ And I tore up their union. I made them fight and become weak, uprooting them until I smelt their under-smell of death, and was – too late, too late – horrified. My continental sister, gasping on the ground, had hardly cried at all.


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