“Yes, but it is supposed to be because they are in love with the sailors, and therefore they wish to drag them down to be with them under the sea.” This was venturing into dubious territory. I resolved to backtrack if possible, for fear of upsetting my comrade’s sensibilities. “But it is only a story.”

“And in your dream, this is what they were doing?”

“Yes, I suppose so, but I hardly remember it now. It has gone from me.”

“Did you love them, in the dream, these women?”

“I don’t know. We should not speak of it more. It was a foolish, idle dream.”

“You never speak of women. You talk of books, of fame, of money, but never love.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Are you a lover of boys, perhaps?”

“No, I’m not. I don’t wish to speak of it.”

“You have loved women, then?”

“Yes, I have loved women – or rather, one woman.” In for a penny, in for a pound. If she was curious, he could hear the story.

“I do not wish to hear of this woman. Women are vile in the eyes of God.”

“Not all women.”

“Yes, all women. I despise them. I love only men.”


“But you need not fear; it is not you whom I love.”

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