“A man was the sum of his limits; freedom only made him see how much so.”
“One left; things shifted in one's absence; one returned to something else. Time frustrated all. There was no sneaking past its rough guard, even to get to one's own yard of intimacies.”
“Anything is possible. A man is what he makes up his mind to be.”
“He was like a nation in crisis, looking back, and back and back — its history might be ugly, but its past shone perfect.”
“Of course he bothers me. He's my husband.”
“— Snob mon cul, dit Zazie.
— Gentille mon cul, rétorqua Zazie.
— Grandes personnes mon cul, répliqua Zazie.
— Seule mon cul, dit la fillette avec la correction du langage qui lui était habituelle.
— Politesse mon cul, dit Zazie.
— Quelle colique que l’egzistence, reprit Madeleine (soupir).
— Tu causes, tu causes, c’est tout ce que tu sais faire.”
“The scene had been a nightmare, one of those insane nightmares where the most normal objects become infinitely menacing.”
“So, boy, how does it feel to be pouring out a never-ending stream of--?”
“Stop that!” I scowled at my brothers as I shooed them away from Milo. “How can you make such jokes in front of him?”
“To be honest, the only thing in front of him right now is the sea and the supper he ate three days ago.” Castor’s grin got wider.
Polydeuces was contrite. “We mean well, Helen. We’re only trying to make him laugh. A good laugh might take his mind off being so ill.”
“It’s a shame we’re bound straight for Corinth,” the old sailor said, rubbing the back of his neck. “Since nothing else seems to be working for this lad, could be that a short rest on dry land would steady his stomach.”
“You think we’d ever be able to get him back on board afterward?” Castor asked.
The sailor shrugged. “What would he have to say about it? He’s your slave, isn’t he?”
“He’s our sister’s slave, or was,” Castor replied. “She freed him as soon as she bought him.”
“And still he came onto this ship with you, sick as seafaring makes him?”
“This is his first voyage,” I said, stooping beside Milo to place one arm protectively around him. “He didn’t know he’d get sick.”
“Oh, he’d have come along even if he’d known that a sea monster was waiting to gobble him up,” Castor said, with another of those annoying, conspiratorial winks to his twin. “Anything rather than be separated from you, little sister.”
Polydeuces eagerly took up his brother’s game. “That’s true,” he hastened to tell the old sailor. “If you could have seen the way he’s been gazing at her, all the way from Calydon!”
“Can we blame him, Polydeuces?” Castor asked with mock sincerity. “Our little sister is the most beautiful woman in the world.” They collapsed laughing into each other’s arms.
Milo made a great effort and pushed himself away from the rail, away from me. He took two staggering steps, fists clenched. “She is.” Then he spun around and lurched for the ship’s side once more.
My brothers exchanged a look of pure astonishment. The old sailor chuckled. “He may have been a slave, Lady Helen, but he’s braver than many a free man, to talk back to princes that way! But it wouldn’t be the first time a man found courage he never knew he had until he met the right woman.”
My face flamed. I wanted to thank Milo for putting an end to my brothers’ teasing--whether or not it was all in fun, I still found it annoying--but I was strangely tongue-tied.
Fortunately for me, the old sailor chose that moment to say, “That’s not something you see every day, a mouse trying to take a bite from a lion’s tail. Mark my words, this lad has the makings of a great hero. Why, if I had it my way, I’d put in at the next port and carry him all the way to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, just to see what marvels the Pythia would have to predict about his future.”
“The exercise of reason is not available only to specialists; it is accessible to everyone.”
“How odd, that light should prevent one from seeing.”
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