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Tim Powers

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“How old are you, Brian? You ought to know by now that something always breaks up love affairs unless both parties are willing to compromise themselves. And that compromising is harder to do the older and less flexible and more independent you are. It just isn’t in you, Brian. You could no more get married now than you could become a priest, or a sculptor, or a greengrocer.”
Duffy opened his mouth to voice angry denials, then one corner turned up and he closed it. “Damn you,” he said wryly. “Then why do I want to, half the time?”
Aurelianus shrugged. “It’s the nature of the species. There’s a part of a man’s mind that can only relax and go to sleep when he’s with a woman, and that part gets tired of always being tensely awake. It gives orders in so loud a voice that it often drowns out the other components. But when the loud one is asleep at last, the others regain control and chart a new course.” He grinned. “No equilibrium is possible. If you don’t want to put up with the constant seesawing, you must either starve the logical components or bind, gag and lock away in a cellar that one insistent one.”
Duffy grimaced and drank some more brandy. “I’m used to the rocking, and I was never one to get motion-sick,” he said. “I’ll stay on the seesaw.”
Aurelianus bowed. “You have that option, sir.”
Chapter 18 (p. 247)

Tim Powers

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