Summer 1954 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Fiction |

A Fine and Private Place

For a few moments near each midnight those in the grave have access to the state known, in their former lives, as consciousness. Though this may seem to us a cruel brevity, to the Gravers any moment appears as eternity, and they are unaware of the intervening hours between midnight and midnight. They are unaware, too, of several other matters: for instance, the concept of death as they had known it before it happened to them; and that there is anything unusual or confining about their present housing. However, they do know that there is a distinction between themselves and those not "dead," made up partly of an uncrossable, invisible wall, partly of a vast change in habit of thought—for when they first find themselves on the hitherto unknown side of the wall, they discover they have left anticipation behind and with it most of the ills that besiege men's minds. Of the present of course they have no knowledge, except as now and then some new arrival brings them tidings, but so

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