Marina Warner


The only other woman living in the hotel besides Kate wasn't a guest, but the hotelier's girlfriend, and she waited on him with quiet ceremony each night as he presided over the restaurant from the comer of the dark inner room behind the bar. A pied-noir, he'd come out to this comer of the colonies with the first strangers' army a long time ago, and he too had kept the flowery manners of the past, and a formal mode of speech. She never sat down with him, but now and then disappeared behind a curtain, where, it was said, she also fixed pipes for him to smoke, later. The ropes standing out on the backs of his hands betrayed how the circulation of his blood had slowed right down.



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