Banno the Magnificent has strangely proved his worth, especially to Bruna, who has been longing for female company since we made this vast and unaccountable trek into the hinterland, sighting dissolving cities, encountering inexplicable phenomena that became dust and sand as we approached them. So Banno conjured before us a girl of consummate beauty, her slender shoulders unclothed, but her eyes snapping with bright intelligence. As always, we scarcely knew what to say, other than that which might seem brutish. We all knew we were face-to-face with the innommable, but that tied our tongues even further. Bruna – dear Bruna, whose lasciviousness knows no bounds – commented on the remarkable fragility of the girl’s clothing, as though she could remove it, or items of it, by sheer force of will; but even Bruna. who has been known to move blocks of solid marble with a twitch of her famous eyebrows – so redolent of Frieda Kahlo – realised her impotence before an elegance such as this. ‘If there were cold showers in the wilderness’, she said, ‘or even mitigating circumstances, I could go on’; but never mind – she will, she will.

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