“You don’t care about Walter,” she said. “You are not really his friend.” It sounded like a challenge, though she said it with a laugh.

Ulrich gave her an unexpected answer. “We are just boyhood friends. You were still a child, Clarisse, when the two of us were already showing the unmistakable signs of a fading schoolboy friendship. Countless years ago we admired each other, and now we mistrust each other with intimate understanding. Each of us would like to shake off the painful sense of having once mistaken himself for the other, so now we perform the mutual service of a pitilessly honest distorting mirror.”


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