[... ] Just because a person has a title doesn't make him an aristocrat. Some people are great aristocrats who have no other title than the one that nature has bestowed on them, and others like us, who have nothing but titles, are closer to being pariahs than aristocrats.
For the hundredth time, he examined his face in the bathroom mirror, patiently touched every scratch with the styptic pencil, and repowdered them. He ministered to his face and hands objectively, as if they were not a part of himself. When his eyes met the staring eyes in the mirror, they slipped away as they must have slipped away, Guy thought, that first afternoon on the train, when he had tried to avoid Bruno's eyes.
He remembered a version of himself untrammeled by expectation, unimpeded by Ego. He had suffered in the many years since then, seeking to return to that original self, if, in fact, it ever existed. And yet, he was helpless but to regard that unmistakable fear that gripped him in his dream as a sign that his unevenness lent him now to utter incongruity with this specter of past.
In one way, I suppose, I have been "in denial" for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light. But for precisely that reason, I can't see myself smiting my brow with shock or hear myself whining about how it's all so unfair: I have been taunting the Reaper into taking a free scythe in my direction and have now succumbed to something so predictable and banal that it bores even me.
A bran' new book is a beautiful thing, all promise and fresh pages, the neatly squared spine, the brisk sense of a journey beginning. But a well-worn book also has its pleasures, the soft caress and give of the paper's edges, the comfort, like an old shawl, of an oft-read story.