By Thomas Francis Carney

Biography of vital Roman army and political determine by means of a professor of Classics.

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At this distance in time that comparison seems more or less true, if a bit fanciful. Iris was always disappearing, to ‘see’ her friends (I began to wonder and to dread, early on, what the word ‘see’ might involve) about whom, unlike the girl in the fairytale, she was always quite open. I knew their names; I imagined them; I never met them. And there seemed to be so many of them. Persons who were in a sense in my own position. Iris seemed deeply and privately attached to them all. No doubt in all sorts of different ways.

Absurdly, I had imagined our future together as somehow equally grave, a wonderfully serious matter, and only the pair of us of course, for no one else in the world was or would be in the least interested in either of us. We would simply be made for each other, and exist on that basis. The happy child-like girl or woman she had now turned into when she was with me was delightful, but also – as I sometimes could not stop myself wistfully thinking – fundamentally unreal, like the girl in the fairy story.

By telling me she didn’t want anyone to know of the novel’s existence I felt she was singling me out. But it was a routine precaution, almost a formula. Her friends could know, should know. But she didn’t want the matter talked about, either among them or in a wider context. Naturally enough the precaution functioned only on the higher level: as a practical measure it was ineffective. That was brought home to me when I realised that many people who 30 —1— knew Iris were talking about her novel.

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A Biography of C. Marius by Thomas Francis Carney


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