'Your mistake, my sister had said, is to isolate yourself completely in our house. You don't go and visit friends any longer, though we have so many. What she said was true. But what does one mean by friends? We know a number of people, perhaps even a lot of people; there are a few whom we've known since we were children and who have not yet died or moved away for good. Every year we used to visit them frequently and they used to come to our house. But that doesn't make them friends, not by a long chalk. My sister is quick to call somebody a friend, even somebody she hardly knows, if it suits her book. Come to think of it, I haven't any friends at all. Since I grew up I haven't had a single friend. Friendship -- what a leprous word! People use it every day ad nauseam, so that it's become utterly devalued, at least as much so as the word Love, which has been trampled to death.'