Mas pronto

Once he said to Chang: “By the way, how do you people here fit love into your scheme of things? I suppose it does sometimes happen that those who come here develop attachments?”
“Quite often,” replied Chang with a broad smile. “The lamas, of course, are immune, and so are most of us when we reach the riper years, but until then we are as other men, except that I think we can claim to behave more reasonably. And this gives me the opportunity, Mr. Conway, of assuring you that the hospitality of Shangri–La is of a comprehensive kind. Your friend Mr. Barnard has already availed himself of it.”
Conway returned the smile. “Thanks,” he answered dryly. “I’ve no doubt he has, but my own inclinations are not — at the moment — so assertive. It was the emotional more than the physical aspect that I was curious about.”
“You find it easy to separate the two? Is it possible that you are falling in love with Lo–Tsen?”
Conway was somewhat taken aback, though he hoped he did not show it. “What makes you ask that?”
“Because, my dear sir, it would be quite suitable if you were to do so — always, of course, in moderation. Lo–Tsen would not respond with any degree of passion — that is more than you could expect — but the experience would be very delightful, I assure you. And I speak with some authority, for I was in love with her myself when I was much younger.”
“Were you indeed? And did she respond then?”
“Only by the most charming appreciation of the compliment I paid her, and by a friendship which has grown more precious with the years.”
“In other words, she didn’t respond?”
“If you prefer it so.” Chang added, a little sententiously: “It has always been her way to spare her lovers the moment of satiety that goes with all absolute attainment.”
Conway laughed. “That’s all very well in your case, and perhaps mine too — but what about the attitude of a hot-blooded young fellow like Mallinson?”
“My dear sir, it would be the best possible thing that could happen! Not for the first time, I assure you, would Lo–Tsen comfort the sorrowful exile when he learns that there is to be no return.”
“Yes, though you must not misunderstand my use of the term. Lo–Tsen gives no caresses, except such as touch the stricken heart from her very presence. What does your Shakespeare say of Cleopatra? —‘She makes hungry where she most satisfies.’ A popular type, doubtless, among the passion-driven races, but such a woman, I assure you, would be altogether out of place at Shangri–La. Lo–Tsen, if I might amend the quotation, REMOVES hunger where she LEAST satisfies. It is a more delicate and lasting accomplishment.”

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