How do you convey a casually callous attitude to members of an aristocratic household, where even their death is nothing more than a mild and momentary inconvenience?  Zilahy’s simile is superb for equating the loss of a family employee to the loss of a luggage key.

The death of Madame Couteaux caused no greater concern in the palace on Septemvir Utca than if the key to one of the suitcases had been lost en route.

Source: Lajos Zilahy, The Dukays, trans. John Pauker (London: Prion, 2001), p. 373

Photo credit: MonicaVolpin at Pixabay


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