What great company the Count must have been! A simile for an empty mind only occasionally polluted by the presence of a passing, pointless thought, flying across its vacant space.
And little Count Sternberg, through whose brain thoughts would shoot one at a time like lone birds through empty clouds, without brethren and leaving no trace …
Source: Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March, trans. by Joachim Neugroschel (London: Penguin, 1995), p. 93
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