The fear of death pervades us, I declared, plunging my knife into the table grain.
Don't make me laugh, Robert replied. Make you? Shall we say lead me in that direction. You jest. Strangely not. Then you underestimate me.
My dear Robert, said Robert (for we were both named Robert), you must admit that within this narrow blink of existence it is common to mark our singularity with such drama as you just exhibited; in short, for all that, we're animals.
The very idea turns my stomach, I replied. Does it? It does indeed. Please go on, for your position fascinates me.
I did not hesitate to go on, but spoke at such extraordinary length I lost my faith of concluding. My friend, I concluded, you may wonder how life is for me.
Less and less, said Robert. In general? Au contraire. But I'm an exceedingly curious case. My dear Robert!
Does it not interest you, I remarked, that I go from city to city, chased by dogs, denying the most apparent truths imaginable?
I have specific information, said Robert, that you have never been chased by dogs...
Swelling with confidence and vigour, I rose to respond, only to discover that twenty Roberts now swam in front of my eyes. My legs gave out; the roast overturned. Dimly I heard Lucy rushing down the stairs, impossibly free of her ropes...