I had to make a great effort not to break into tears. "Hosna wasn't mad," I said. "She was the sanest woman in the village- it's you who're mad. She was the sanest woman in the village- and the most beautiful. Hosna wasn't mad."
Mahjoub laughed, guffawed with laughter. "How extraordinary!" I heard him say amidst laughter. "Take a pull at yourself, man! Wake up! Fancy you falling in love at your age! You've become as mad as Wad Rayyes. Schooling and education have become as mad as Wad Rayyes. Schooling and education have made you soft. You're crying like a woman. Good God, wonders never cease-love, illness and tears, and she wasn't worth a millième. If it wasn't for the sake of decency she wouldn't have been worth burying-we'd have thrown her into the river or left her body out for the hawks."
I'm not altogether clear as to what happened next. However, I do remember my hands closing over Mahjoub's throat; I remember the way his eyes bulged; I remember, too, a violent blow in the stomach and Mahjoub crouching on my chest. I remember Mahjoub prostrate on the ground and me kicking him, and I remember his voice screaming out "Mad! You're mad!" I remember a clamour and a shouting as I pressed down on Mahjoub's throat and heard a gurgling sound; then I felt a powerful hand pulling me by the next and the impact of a heavy stick on my head.