This third heart attack, if that was what it had really been, did not seem to be really all that bad-a mere sketch, as to remind him of its shape. But he knew its shape intimately already, that of a Spenglerian parabola. Yet another interpretation seemed, as he sat in the toilet and excreted as quietly as he could, there being a guest in the apartment, possible, though he was fain to reject it. An inner hand showing in delicate deadly gesture the impending chop or noose. He was glad in a way that she had taken possession of the circular bed, no room for him, since bed was a place where people frequently died, sometimes in their sleep. She lay naked on her back, telling, say, ten-twenty with her arms and seven-thirty with her legs, her delicate snoring indicating that it was a fine February night and all was well. She had left her home in Poughkeepsie, it appeared, and was obviously welcome to stay here with Enderby so long as she did not go out to buy another gun. She at least knew his work. Anyway, there was no question of thinking in terms of a nice long future. These heart attacks had been as good to Enderby as a like and you know harangue from one of his students. But he did not really want the chop to come tonight and in his sleep. He fancied doing some more vigorous death-dodging in the light. There was this to be said for New York: it was not dull.
Wiped and having flushed, Enderby went out to the kitchen to make tea. There would be a hell of a row tomorrow, today that was, when that dusky bitch Priscilla came to do the chores (How come an educated man like you live in such Gadarene filth-she was, after all, a Bible scholar); but there always was a hell of a row. This time there would probably be something about fornication and Cozbi as well as dirt. Enderby ate pensively a little cold left-over stew while he waited for the water to boil: quite delicious, really. He seemed to have lost a fair amount of protein in the last few hours, perhaps cholesterol too. When the tea had sufficiently brewed or drawn (five bags only; not overtempt Providence) and had been sharply sweetened and embrowned, he took it into the living room. He piled pouffe on pouffe to make himself comfortable in order to watch for the dawn to come up. He switched on the television set, which gave him a silly film apt for these small hours. It was a college musical of the thirties (How come that such a scholar / Can put up with such squalor? / Just gimme hafe a dollar / And I'll make it spick and span, man. There was a coincidence!) but it was made piquant with girls in peach-looking camiknicks with metallic hairdos. Enderby did some random leafing through the slim volumes she had brought for him to defile. God, what a genius, etc. The film, with interludes of advertising suspiciously cheap albums of popular music, went harmlessly on while he sipped his tea and browsed.
You went that way as you always said you would,
Contending over the cheerful cups that good
Was in the here-and-now, in, in fact, the cheerful
Cups and not in some remotish sphere full
Of twangling saints, the-pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die
Of Engels as much as angels, whereupon I…
He could not well remember having written that. Besides, the type was blurring. He saw without surprise that the film had changed to one, in very good colour too, about Augustine and Pelagius. Thank God. The thing had after all been at last artistically dealt with, no need after all for him to worry about finding an appropriate poetic form.