Actually, a bit more Da Silvio

As it turns out, there was still more Da Silvio.  I had forgotten.  This scene takes place near the end of the novel.



Da Silvio, who had just left Ananias’s room, stood at the end of the gallery, his shoes dappled by  droplets of moonlight, to look towards the greenhouse as if it were the City of God drifting down from the heavens towards the plain of Pepuza, as Priscillian had promised, luminous, ghostly, the silhouettes of its broken palms, its ruined trees like the hands of tortured men outstretched in agony. The redwood slat trapezes on which the orchids had this morning balanced, like fragile circus performers in multi-colored tights, swung empty or dangled disconsolate from one rope. Why is it, he thought, that we yearn for each day to end, yet so fear death?

He stood where he was for a moment, not lost in thought but swept up in the sudden sensation of unbalance occasionally induced in him by drink. He felt for a moment as if the ground beneath his feet had sagged, then shivered into a liquid, begun to eddy, to rage. It was as if he were some rough stone which a stream had torn from its bed and turned this way and that and finally over and over, as if it were determined to smooth from his surface any mark which might distinguish him from any other rock. His hearing dimmed. His sight clouded. He swayed a little, extending his arms to either side like a high wire walker and finally falling forward to catch onto the arm of the hat rack. He breathed deeply once and then again and little by little as the moments passed, his equilibrium returned to him, his vision and his hearing were restored. At last he could let go of the armrest, stand erect, yank at the hem of his claret-colored jacket and turn towards the stair. That was what death would be like, he thought, the only difference being that death, unlike this sensation of being swept up by a sudden swift current would not pass. He, if not Garrity, knew what the composer of those schoolboy lyrics meant when he wrote, “And you go dribbling down the stream.”

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