The Marquis de V... - whose falsetto voice and little watery eyes I have always detested - was saying to me with a wicked smile: 'Then again, the master gymnast might break his neck at any moment. What he is doing now is very dangerous, my dear, and the pleasure you take in his performance is the little frisson that danger affords you. Wouldn't it be thrilling, if his sweaty hand failed to grip the bar? The velocity acquired by his rotation about the bar would break his spine quite cleanly, and perhaps a little of the cervical matter might spurt out as far as this! It would be most sensational, and you would have a rare emotion to add to the field of your experience - for you collect emotions, don't you? What a pretty stew of terrors that man in tights stirs up in us!'Admit that you almost wish that he will fall! Me too. Many others in the auditorium are in the same state of attention and anguish. That is the horrible instinct of a crowd confronted with a spectacle which awakens in it the ideas of lust and death. Those two agreeable companions always travel together! Take it from me that at the very same moment - see, the man is now holding on to the bar by his fingertips alone - at the very same moment, a good number of the women in these boxes are ardently lusting after that man, not so much for his beauty as for the danger he courts.'The voice subtly changed its tone, suddenly becoming more interested. 'You have singularly pale eyes this evening, my dear Freneuse. You ought to give up bromides and take valerian instead. You have a charming and curious soul, but you must take command of its changes. You are too ardently and too obviously covetous, this evening, of the death - or at least the fall - of that man.'I did not reply. The Marquis de V... was quite right. The madness of murder had taken hold of me again; the spectacle had me in its hallucinatory grip. Straitened by a penetrating and delirious anguish, I yearned for that man to fall.There are appalling depths of cruelty within me.