The Confusion – Neal Stephenson

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Eliza liked Fatio but remembered, now, why the man had always made her a bit uneasy. Nicolas Fatio de Duillier was forever an Actor in an Italian Opera that existed in his own mind. Today’s scene at the Library of Gresham’s was meant to be some kind of a set-piece. The Duchess, summoned in haste by a mysterious note, fumes impatiently for an hour—dramatick tension mounts—finally, just when she is about to storm out, Fatio saves the day by rushing in, aglow from superhuman efforts, and turns disaster to triumph by bringing in the Master himself. And it was dramatick, after a fashion; but whatever genuine emotions Eliza might have had she kept to herself, for no reason other than that Fatio was studying her as a starving man studies a closed oyster.

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