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Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

—Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

It had come to her early, whether instilled from without or distilled from within, that the most shameful thing in life was to be caught out expressing a desire for anything more extravagant than eggs on toast, anything that could not be fairly well immediately and invisibly granted; the fulfillment of larger desires was not possible in her world, or possible only through sacrifice and stratagem, by an arduous exchange of moves and countermoves asking more effort than she could possibly command, the first of which—to express the desire, and so advance an opening pawn—would commit her to proceed with the rest, grimly mounting one defense after another to be ground down by an opponent whose eventual triumph was already legible on the board, set in the disposition of its squares before a single piece was shifted from its ranks. Better not to play. Better to shut up that infant desire in some narrow apartment of her hidden heart.

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