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Recall That Seventeenth Step

THE TUTOR: No memories, master? What ingratitude, considering that I gave ten years of my life to stocking you wit them! And what of all the journeys we have made together all the towns we visited? And the course in archeology composed specially for you? No memories, indeed! Palaces, shrines, and temples—with so many of them is your memory peopled that you could write a guide-book of all Greece.

ORESTES: Palaces—that’s so. Palaces, statues, pillars—stones, stones, stones! Why, with all those stones in my head, am I not heavier? While you are about it, why not remind me of the three hundred and eighty-seven steps of the temple at Ephesus? I climbed them, one by one, and I remember each. The seventeenth, if my memory serves me, was badly broken. And yet—! Why, an old, mangy dog, warming himself at the hearth, and struggling to his feet with a little whimper to welcome his master home—why, that dog has more memories than I! At least he recognizes his master. His master. But what can I call mine?

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Flies

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