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Bruno is nearly ninety. Obsessed with his past and a passion for spiders, he is the centre of a complex web of relationships involving his estranged son Miles; Danby, his hapless son-in-law; Danby's mistress, Adelaide; and her twin cousins, the vengeful Will and the mischievous, sinister Nigel.
rage. Not everything which ought to be against a wall had a wall to be against. The sitting room was partitioned by a long sideboard and a tall bookcase which stood out at right angles into the room. This did not matter much as no one ever went in there. Life went on in the kitchen. Will had once gone through a short phase of wanting to ‘modernise’ the flat, but had got no further than buying a steel chair of outstanding ugliness which now stood in the hall mercifully covered with coats. The
thinking ill of himself. If only he had kept his head with Bruno and not got excited and upset. How easy it was afterwards to see this and to see how simple it would have been to have acted otherwise. But he had been so shocked and moved by simply seeing Bruno again and had not had time to collect himself. He knew now that he had quite deliberately tried not to foresee what it would be like, tried not to use his imagination. The father to whom he wrote respectful letters twice a year, and whose
But it’s not a light thing. You may find this incomprehensible. I’ve only seen you a few times. But oh God Lisa, please believe it’s serious, it’s terrible. I do love you and I do want to see you and get to know you and I ask you please to consider this as a serious possibility. I will behave very well and do anything you want. Don’t just blankly say there’s no point. How do you know there’s no point until you try? I know I’m nothing compared with you, but I love you terribly and one is not
of glass was sticking into the sole. Holding the torch carefully she examined her foot, running her hand over it cautiously. A rapid stain of red was tingeing the soaking stocking. Adelaide stared and moaned. Her questing hand was stiff with cold. ‘Adelaide, get the stamps!’ Bruno’s scream reached her again. Adelaide turned the torch on to the wooden box. It was tilting over sideways and several of the drawers had fallen open. The familiar coloured faces of the stamps could be seen inside their
hand reached out before her. ‘ADELAIDE, THE STAMPS, GET THE STAMPS!’ Bruno’s terrible cry was just above her. As she reached the next step she managed to shift the torch and cast its ray up ahead of her. She shrieked. Bruno was standing at the top of the kitchen stairs, leaning against the newell post. He was wearing only the jacket of his pyjamas and his thin legs, like the legs of an insect, were bending at the knees. The great swollen head swayed above, checkered by the light into huge