Just as Babe reaches the top of the hill, a sudden livid streak of light, flooding the horizon behind her, illuminates the upper reaches of Damnation's brutal facade and casts Babe's shadow downhill into the darkness still pooling at its foot: the sun has dropped below the heavy clouds. Constance, watching from her fifth-floor window, shades her eyes and smiles to see Babe in a homecoming so propitious. Babe starts down the hill; Constance turns away, acutely conscious of the catastrophe it would be to their evening's plans if she were to witness the sure-footed Babe stumbling, however slightly, now. Then she reconsiders and turns back, giving herself over to the pleasure of watching the slim, dark-haired figure follow its enormous shadow downhill. Constance is commonly of two minds when it comes to Babe. Since the moment of their first meeting, when Babe sought her out in her disconsolate state, the bewildering presence of the older girl has always made her at once wary and self-forgetful; her modesty, embattled by bliss, is always casting desperate spells of self-protection, while Constance waits for Babe to make herself wholly victorious. But Babe doesn't appear to have this ambition; or, rather, having won--long ago--she is not ambitious to rule in anything more than a purely ceremonial fashion. Constance imagines Babe sitting Buddah-like, endlessly staring at the starry wall of circumstance, fascinated, never stirring. Constance is frustrated.

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