Secret Women, Part IV



She realized that she was not being asked merely to share his bed -- but his whole life, the monomania upon which it was built. Normally, it is only the artist who can offer this strange and selfless contract -- but it is one which no woman worth the name can ever refuse. He was asking, not for her hand in marriage [...] but for her partnership in allegiance to his ruling daimon.

[...]

In this response to a common field of action, Justine was truer to herself than she had ever been, responding as a flower responds to light. And it was now, while they talked quietly and coldly, their heads bent toward each other like flowers, that she could at last say, magnificently: 'Ah, Nessim, I never suspected that I should agree. How did you know that I only exist for those that believe in me?'


He stared at her, thrilled and a little terrified, recognizing in her the perfect submissiveness of the Oriental spirit -- the absolute feminine submissiveness which is one of the strongest forces in the world.


Durell, Mountolive [I've written of this before]