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By Aldous Huxley

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Officially, Will had come to Rendang to sniff the death in its militarized air; but he had also been commissioned to find out what the dictator felt about foreign capital, what tax rebates he was prepared to offer, what guarantees against nationalization. And how much of the profits would be exportable? How many native technicians and administrators would have to be employed? A whole battery of questions. But Colonel Dipa had been most affable and co-operative. Hence that hair-raising drive, with Murugan at the wheel, to the copper mines.

Here and now, boys," chanted the bird. " The really extraordinary thing was that he should be here, he reflected, under the trees and not out there, at the bottom of the Pala Strait or, worse, smashed to pieces at the foot of the cliffs. For even after he had managed, by sheer miracle, to take his sinking boat through the breakers and run her aground on the only sandy beach in all those miles of Pala's rockbound coast- even then it wasn't over. The cliffs towered above him; but at the head of the cove there was a kind of headlong ravine where a little stream came down in a succession of filmy waterfalls, and there were trees and bushes growing between the walls of gray limestone.

The words gave him a deep satisfaction. "I'd sit there," she was saying, "I'd sit there looking and looking, and in a little while I'd be floating too. I'd be floating with the swans on that smooth surface between the darkness below and the pale tender sky above. " And between remembered happiness, she was thinking, and this insistent, excruciating presence of an absence. " She laid her hand on his forehead, and suddenly the words transformed themselves into the things and events for which they stood; the images turned into facts.

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