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FORD, Madox Ford

The Good Soldier

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I don't think that before that day I had ever wanted anything very much except Florence. I have, of course, had appetites, impatiences. Why, sometimes at the table d'hote, when there would be say, caviare handed round, I have been absolutely full of impatience for fear that when the dish came to me there should not be a satisfying portion left.

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Leonora, as I have said, was the perfectly normal woman. I mean to say that in normal circumstances her desires were those of the woman who is needed by society. She desired children, decorum, an establishment; she desired to avoid waste, she desired to keep up appearances. She was utterly and entirely normal even in her utterly undeniable beauty. But I don't mean to say she acted perfectly normally in the perfectly abnormal situation. All the world was mad around her and she herself, agonized, took on the complexion of a mad woman; of a woman very wicked; of the villain of the piece. What would you have? Steel is a normal, hard, polished substance. But, if you put it in a hot fire it will become red, soft, and not to be handled. If you put it in a fire still more hot it will drip away. It was like that with Leonora.

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