To add to his intellectual repetoire, he had memorised a particular line from Paradise Lost.
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
He would recite it at appropriate times to impress and secretly belittle those he was in conversation with. He had swooned over what he deemed to be “the greatest British prose by a great Briton” until one conversation with a stranger had him in high water with poetry expert.
His lack of knowledge was exposed and he floundered, failing to tread water in a shallow sea.
His copy of Milton’s opus, untouched and dutsy at the bottom of a pile of books, was located and destoyed with an anguished abandon.
This episode had never been mentioned again.
But it still simmered in the depths of his mind; resurrected every time he felt diminshed or unimportant. It simmered now.