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From: Angelica Manuel
Subject: geranium
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 21:58:56 -0500

Leithen turned his eyes to the tall woman at his left hand.
Now he must be aware every hour of its ignoble frailty.
He must firstmake some necessary arrangements about his affairs which wouldkeep him from brooding. In common politeness Leithen forced a show of attention, butBlenkiron had noted his dull eyes.
He had survived the War, when the best of hiscontemporaries had fallen in swathes.
I want you to know my Simon better, she said. After that Blenkiron would depart and he would see him no more.
Theres plenty of lads that remind me of my own old lot.
In themorning he had visited his bankers to look into his money affairs. I heard you five years ago at the Bar Association, Savory said.
Well,he must indulge that craving at a distance, or otherwise hisfriends would discover the reason.
As always aftera meal, he felt languid and weak, but his mind was no longercomatose. As an invalid, slowly growing feebler, alwaysexpectant of death?
He awoke, as heusually did nowadays, sweating and short of breath.
Blenkirons face showed a quickened interest.
He would die standing, as Vespasian said an emperor should. Then the day before yesterday had come the crisis.
He roselanguidly, struggled through the day, and went to bed exhausted. Theres plenty of lads that remind me of my own old lot. Thats a new thingabout our boys, Sir Edward. It was a differentLondon then, quieter, cosier, dirtier perhaps, but sweetersmelling.
He caught aglimpse of himself naked in the long mirror, and was shocked anewby his leanness. Francishas a good many sides, and most people know only one of them.
His thoughts clung to this physical shell of his. You can have yourpick of half a dozen jobs.
We want help in the job, Blenkiron continued, and its not goingto be easy to find it.
Theres plenty of lads that remind me of my own old lot. On the contrary, he considered that fortune hadbeen ludicrously kind to him. But he spent a few minutes in the library, to whichthe men retired for coffee and cigars. Spring atLaverlaw had been diviner than ever.
Soon he must think things out, but not at once. The man hadprobably some lawsuit in hand, and if so it would not take long torefuse. This queer thought kept returning to him with the force of arevelation.

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