The Pavillion had been busy until twenty minutes ago. It was a spring day of a particular soft, poignant beauty, fresh and sweetly scented by tender spring flowers. The City was so full of green and budding things that the light was tinged a hazy jade, and the River coruscated with viridian glints deep in its steely depths. Everything was steeped in Languor and Love and a kind of narcotic forgetfulness. The City, dreaming sweet dreams at last, extended this bohemian goodwill to all the inhabitants, and the girls and boys had donned romantic, revealing clothing and seemed to one dewy-eyed and sweet. Even the pushers and hustlers and housebreakers had acquired a faint blush of health and goodwill. The more proletariat elements of the City, for even that dreaming demi-god could not do away with the utility classes entirely, manifested this as a desire to take meals and refreshments outdoors, and descended upon the Pavillion's singularly charming patio, with its emerald ferns and young linden trees and the famous jade and lapis mosaic tiles. On the little path that ran between the Pavilion's ornamental fence and the Rosecrown Canal, young peacocks and ravens and feral ocelots made a great show of not begging, and were rewarded with bits of lamb phagius, lemon tarts and strawberry cake.
The staff could barely keep up with the orders, and the kitchen was running dangerously low on chervil and lamb, when two men sat under the awning without asking the maitre'd. One of them was very tall and emaciated and had two spots of color high on his wasted cheeks, frankly rosy and delicious and girlish. He wore high, cracked cavalry boots, at least a hundred years old, a mean little striped tie and a fashionable shirt of Corvaese lace under a yellow doeskin jacket. He looked as if he was building up a stylish wardrobe, but would never get there before the new style had set in. His friend, romantically peaked rather than mortally ill, was clad in an artful dishabille of spangled scarf and peacock colors. He had painted a little arc of crimson hearts from the corner of his left eye, as the more stylish convicts often tattooed tears. The staff stumbled over each other as they tried to dodge their table, and the other patrons looked at first uncomfortable and finally left in a disorderly rush.
"What I am proposing, Fancy," the gaunt young man said to his companion, "is the first pure revolution. All other revolutions have been corrupted by causes. They have been in the name of equality, imperialism, fascism, libertarianism, communism, discrimination, progressive or regressive. And they have, each and every one of them, failed because of that. The state of revolution is always abandoned at the very moment when victory is closest, when the old order has been overthrown and no new order or even anarchy has taken root. Always, they make the very grave error of supplanting the old status quo with a new one. As if that could make any difference! As if by the mere act of establishing a new order they have not doomed their order to decline and decrepitude and to eventually be made a mockery of."
"Oh, yes, I hate to see such a lot of effort and nice clothes go to waste," Fancy murmured absently. One of the ocelots had climbed on his lap and batted playfully at his scarf. He stroked its head. "I'm afraid that's why I don't really follow politics," he said apologetically.
"But if, as I am advocating, we create a revolution with no purpose, and overthrow, by force of arms or cunning or with considerable style, the establishment and all counter-revolutionary forces, we will have the wisdom to end it there! We'll end it all, the revolution, the City, the whole miserable lot of us, revolutionaries, resisters, our whole race.
"You understand that it has to happen sooner or later. It's a damned dull thing, waiting for the world to end. If we let things take their natural course the whole production will be bungled terribly, it'll have no class, no flair. It'll be like one of those wretched University productions, bad right down to the mistimed spotlights."
Fancy looked pained. "Oh, we couldn't….."
"But if we take charge, we can do it right! We know how it ought to go off, the hell with the natural course! Since when has nature ever been right, since when has letting nature take its course ever been in our natures?" He loosened his little tie and leaned forward, laying his hand atop Fancy's on the ocelot's sleek skull. "What do you say? Are you with us? I don't know if it could go off without you; I am counting on your… unique talents and knowledge, and your particular flair. What do you say?"
"I think it's positively refreshing to talk to a sensible revolutionary," Fancy said. "Of course I'm with you, it's such a lovely idea. When do we get started?"
"Well, my plans are only in the preliminary stages…."
"Really? I think the sooner we start, the better." He stood, brushing the ocelot off his lap. It landed on The Pavillion's famous jade and lapis mosaic with a hiss of displeasure.
He stared up at Fancy. "But don't you have preparations to make?"
"Preparations? Dear heart, I've been waiting for this for years."