Odlomak 1

(Thomas Pynchon, V.)

She wondered, standing stone-still at the crossroads, whether the old man had trusted her, had waited after all. She prayed that he had, less perhaps from concern for him than from some obvoluted breed of self-aggrandizement which read the conforming of events to the channels she'd set out for them as glorious testimony to her own skill. One thing she had avoided - probably because of the supernatural tinge men acquired in her perception - was the schoolgirlish tendency to describe every male over the age of fifty as "sweet," "dear," or "nice." Dormant in every aged man she saw rather his image regressed twenty or thirty years, like a wraith which nearly merged outlines with its counterpart: young, potent, possessing mighty sinews and sensitive hands. So that in Captain Hugh it had been the young version she wished to help and make a part of the vast system of channels, locks and basins she had dug for the rampant river Fortune.

If there were, as some doctors of the mind were beginning to suspect, an ancestral memory, an inherited reservoir of primordial knowledge which shapes certain of our actions and casual desires, then not only her presence here and now between purgatory and hell, but also her entire commitment to Roman Catholicism as needful and plausible stemmed from and depended on an article of the primitive faith which glimmered shiny and supreme in that reservoir like a crucial valve-handle: the notion of the wraith or spiritual double, happening on rare occasions by multiplication but more often by fission, and the natural corollary which says the son is doppelganger to the father. Having once accepted duality Victoria had found it only a single step to Trinity. And having seen the halo of a second and more virile self flickering about old Godolphin, she waited now outside the prison while somewhere to her right a girl sang lonely, telling a tale of hesitation, between a rich man who was old and a young man who was fair.

At length she heard the prison door open, heard his footsteps begin to approach down a narrow alleyway, heard the door slam to again. She dug the point of her parasol into the ground beside one tiny foot and gazed down at it. He was upon her before she realized it, nearly colliding with her. "I say," he exclaimed.

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