By Nadine Gordimer
James Bray, an English colonial administrator who was once expelled from a critical African kingdom for siding with its black nationalist leaders, is invited again ten years later to hitch within the country's independence celebrations. As he witnesses the factionalism and violence that erupt as progressive beliefs are subverted by way of ambition and greed, Bray is once more compelled to decide on aspects, a call that turns into either his triumph and his undoing.
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Then you must. ’ ‘Plee-ease,’ said Gracie. ‘I need to do this. ’ Alice rested both hands on the back of Gracie’s chair, and leaned close to her. ‘Just go and see him. ’ Gracie nodded, without looking up. ’ Hester stood her spoon on end and twirled it slowly in the air. ‘Just think,’ she said. ’ Gracie gasped. ’ ‘Yes,’ said Alice. ’ ‘He’s allowed to walk around,’ said Gracie. ’ asked Hester. In a way, they had, thought Gracie. Here, on St 27 Gracie & the Emperor-pp 31/3/03 3:13 PM Page 28 Helena, he was locked away from the rest of the world.
Could he? He was a dark shadow, always threatening. His power was so great that he’d turned island life upside-down, just by being there. ‘You’re imagining things,’ said Hester. ‘You should be more worried about the curfew. Going all that way! What if the soldiers catch you? You could go to gaol! ’ ‘Oh, yes, Mr George gave me seven shillings. ’ She reached into her pocket. Alice waved her away. ‘Take it to your father, Gracie. ’ ‘I don’t want to see him,’ said Gracie. 34 Gracie & the Emperor-pp 31/3/03 3:13 PM Page 35 Five Though Gracie’s work didn’t start until 8 o’clock, she chose to walk to The Briars each afternoon in daylight.
She couldn’t help turning back, just once, to steal another look at the game. ’ cried Bonaparte, as he ripped off his blindfold and pointed at Betsy’s anklelength pantaloons. ’ Being poor wasn’t all bad, thought Gracie. At least she didn’t have to wear things like that. 52 Gracie & the Emperor-pp 31/3/03 3:13 PM Page 53 Eight ‘I spoke to your father yesterday,’ said Alice. Gracie waited to hear what Alice had to say. ’ ‘Business is good, then. ’ Alice clicked her tongue. ’ She couldn’t face the effort of trying to get along with a difficult man.