a flow of blood sufficient to purify my nerves from all their long accumulation of poison

Everyone laughed a great deal, too much I thought. I was extremely pained by this very successful attempt to pour ridicule on me. . . .

Augusta came to my rescue by saying she wanted me to put the date of our engagement on my drawing, for she was going to keep it . . . . I felt the warm blood course through my veins at this token of her affection . . . . But it did not put a stop to my pain, and I could not help thinking that such a mark of affection given me by Ada would have produced a flow of blood sufficient to purify my nerves from all their long accumulation of poison.

— Italo Svevo, Confessions of Zeno

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