• The color of his pallor, however, was a curiously basic white - unmixed, that is, with the greens and yellows of guilt or abject contrition. It was very like the standard bloodlessness in the face of a small boy who loves animals to distraction, all animals, and who has just seen his favourite, bunny-loving sister's expression as she opened the box containing his birthday present to her - a freshly caught young cobra, with a red ribbon tied in an awkward bow around its neck.