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The Genius
written by "Orban, Paul, 1896-1974"
...pecially aware of her beside him, and the quick beat of her sandals on the pavement. The lights of Matya's hillhouse gleamed before them, enticing all who wandered through West Park this evening. The party had started, as parties always did, at that unknown instant shortly before the first guest's arrival. It was thriving now, for the colors behind the contoured glass facade throbbed as though underwater, and people sat along the terraced hillside, talking and inhaling the elegant smoke from smoldering chalices that stood around the entrance. They climbed the flagstone path toward the low, pale yellow building. Luxuriant plants grew thick along the walls, creating a jungle that extended even to the inner rooms of the house. "Sethos, my friend!" said an unsteady voice. The old man was seated in shadow by the house, a glass of sparkling liquor on the arm of his chair. Against the green background of giant plants, his frail, pink face resembled a huge bud that would open when daylight came. "How are you, Paton?" Sethos asked warmly. "I remember you from somewhere in East. It must be years.... Weren't you gardening with Ana? Of course—developing a perfect Lyocanthia. What a welcome sight you are among these woodcutters!" "You're a fellow greensman now, they say," beamed Paton happily, seizing his glass and leaning forward. "Such an honor to us. You work with succulents—right?" Sethos smiled. He watched Ela disappear into the interior of the sprawling hillhouse, heard her distant laugh become part of the machinery of voices. People drifted to and fro across the broad lawns. "Yes," answered Sethos, drawing up a chair. "Succulents are my latest joy. One must specialize. I like to work with growing things, yet I'd feel like a mechanoid if I got involved in crystal sculpture, like my charming Ela there." "Perhaps—but who else gets such color, starts so many new directions as she? My flowers blush before her ...

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