"Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads on willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?"
“I also kept in this box-because I had nowhere else secret enough to keep it-an old stereopticon slide that I had stolen from my uncle’s house in Meridian. It depicted savages, on some horrid African veld, eating a bloody dismembered thing that I was sure was a person. In normal consciousness (and it was not a drawing, but a photograph) it frightened me so much that I wouldn’t even touch it, and I kept it well hidden beneath the other photographs at the bottom of the box. But sometimes, after I had taken my medicine, I would get it out and stare at it for hours-bewitched, in a kind of abstract way, at both the horror of the scene itself and its odd lack of power to affect me.”