"You have a visitor, Mr. Falk; a young lady."
Stuy-Rem, once removed, barely hears Nurse Somerset’s upbeat voice, his own more
entertaining, the world within his mind increasing its distance from the world
inside his (periwinkle blue) room (to his bipartite perception), the monologue
cum dialogue echoing in his head providing him with self-sufficient company.
No one comes to
save our lawyer—
Send whomever away.
Used to getting no response, Nurse Somerset perseveres.
Miss Wolffmüller. Miss Nana Wolffmüller."
Drawn from inattention like a mollusk from its shell, Stuy-Rem lifts his head,
cocks it at an angle that betokens full awareness, grimaces once, and then
"Well, well, well; send her in! We’re receiving. Particularly phantoms from our
academic past—we share an alma mater. Mustn’t keep her waiting. She’s Eurasian,
is she not?"
"She has an accent. I don’t think German, despite the name, but she does look
"Could be our girl. Wait. How do we look?"
Stuy-Rem tries to rearrange his hair by raking fingers
through the matted, unattended locks. He appeals to the
"Would a comb do any good? Do we stink? Should we get a quick shave? No? Hopeless?"
Taken aback by this atypical concern about his appearance, the Nurse does what
she can to make her patient presentable by sponging his sallow face, brushing his
unkempt hair, straightening his crumpled smock, then puffing up the pillows to
support his slouching posture.
"There. A fashion plate you’re not, but she won’t turn tail and shriek. Unless you misbehave."
"Warn her we’ve been ill—nothing catchy—to minimize the shock. Say we look like
hell but haven't yet checked in."
Nurse departs. Soon after, Nana Wolffmüller makes her cautious entrance.