They both laughed. 'How did we get to this?' asked Isabel.
She looked up at the ceiling. One of the drawbacks to being a philosopsher was that you became aware of what you should not do, and this took fro you so many opportunities to savour the human pleasure of revenge or greed or sheer fantasising. Well might St. Augustine have said Make me chaste, but not just yet; that was how Isabel felt. And yet she could not; she could not let herself experience the pleasure of getting her own back on Dove, because it was, quite simply, always wrong to get one's own back on another. It was her duty to forgive Dove and if one were to be really serious about it, to go further than that and to love him. Hate the acts of Doves, not the Doves themselves, she muttered...I like the thoughtfulness of these books, and the gentleness. They are serious and sweet, and there's just something warm about the characters, even with their dilemmas. I love the way AMS portrays the places that figure so importantly in his books:
She was on the point of telling Jamie this when he leaned across the table and said to her, very slowly and clearly, 'Isabel, listen to me. This is Edinburgh. Edinburgh. We haven't got any murderers here. We just haven't. At the most, people have little failings. That small.' He held up a hand, with barely a chunk of light between his thumb and forefinger. 'Mere quirks. So think of something else. Please.'
She laughed. She knew that he did not mean this: Edinburgh was the same as anywhere else, and had the same range of people as other places did: the good, the bad, the morally indifferent. They had their quirks, of course: Jamie was right about that. But even their quirks were charming -- at least in the eyes of a lover, who would forgive her city anything.
They decided to walk back from the Cafe St. Honore because the night was a fine one and even at ten there was still light in the sky. Being as far north as Moscow, and only three degrees south of St. Petersburg, Edinburgh had summer nights almost as white as those of Russia. Soon the dying day would slip into half-darkness and that curious Scottish half-light, the gloaming would mantle the city; for now, though, every architectural detail, every branch moving gently in the breeze from the west, was clearly visible.