A little after that he came out from behind the

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A little after that he came out from behind the screen, his eyes clouded. Madame told him his breakfast was ready, but he refused it with a shake of his head, not saying a word. It upset us all to see him in this condition. Madame was the first to speak. “W on’t you sit down, Monsieur Mansour? Are you all right?” “Quite all right.” He still stood. “I’ve overslept, that’s all.” Madame pointed to the newspaper spread out on the sofa. “Haven’t you heard the news?” He didn’t seem inter- ested. “Sarhan al-Beheiry was found dead on the road to the Palma.” He gazed into her eyes, showing no surprise or alarm, just staring 'at her, as if he had not heard o t did not un- derstand. Or perhaps he was more seriously ill than we had imagined. Mariana offered him the paper. He looked at it blankly for a while, then read in silence. We were all watch- ing him. Then he looked up. “Yes, he was found -dead— murdered.” “Do sit down,” I said. “You’re tired.” “I’m all right,” he replied coldly, probably not fully conscious of what he was saying. 172 Naguib Makjou\
MIRAMAR 173 “You can see we’re rather worried,” remarked Mariana. He looked from one face to another. “Why?” “Well, we’re afraid the police will come. It will be very upsetting.” “They won’t come.” “But the police, don’t you know. . . ” began Tolba Mar- zuq. “I killed Sarhan al-Beheiry,” said Mansour. Then, before we had understood what he said, he walked to the door, opened it, and looked back at us. “I’m going to the police myself.” He closed the door behind him. We looked at one an- other in amazement and for a moment were all struck dumb. “He’s mad,” said Mariana, panic-stricken. “No, he’s'sick,” I said. “Maybe he did kill him,” said Tolba Marzuq after a pause. “That timid, well-behaved young man?” “He’s certainly sick,” I said, feeling sorty for the boy. “But Vhy should he kill him?” wondered Mariantf. “Why should he confess that he did it?” wondered Tolba in his turn. “I’ll never forget his face,” said Mariana. “Something has touched his brain.” Tolba went on with his theorizing. “He was the last one to fight with Sarhan.” I protested that everyone had fought with him. “There lies the cause,” he said, pointing'to Zohra’s room. I began to be angry. “But he’s the only one who hasn't shown any special interest in her.”
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t in love with her, or that he didn’t wish to take revenge on*a rival.” “My dear sir, Sarhan left her.” “Y es, he left her. But he took her heart and her honor.” “Do shut up. Don’t accuse people like that.” “Will he really go to the police?” said Mariana. We went on talking heatedly until we were exhausted and finally I called a halt. “That’s enough,” I said. “W e’ll submit to what Provi- dence decrees.” Or as darkness an a vast, abysm al sea .

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