It came to one or two of us (there seem to be more and more of us every day, although some, we suspect, are only copies) that perhaps this ‘gift’ was in fact Banno the Magnificent himself; but we viewed this supposition with a jaundiced eye. The man appeared to be less a gift than a kind of lesion, an unwholesome gap in the universe gifted (yes, ‘gifted’, we all said at once in one of those mutual cries that immediately seems utterly without meaning) with little more than the word that bites, the sign that tears. Yet each evening we find ourselves attending his show of miracles; the fact that we can see the mechanism of each one (he appears to make no attempt to hide them) does nothing to diminish our easily provoked delight.

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