Mrs. Behn exaggerates the brevity of life, and yet i t is brief; a t r u t h that is frequently ignored. People often speak of want ing to know "the t r u t h " as i f that w i l l make them happy or empowered or liber­ ated, and that believing i n lies is wicked, vile, or at best naive. Yet, acknowledging the fact that our all-too-brief lives u l t imate ly end i n death is to embrace a t r u t h that feels more l ike a cactus than a comforter. I t is not soothing; i t would be better described as a bruis ing reality. The novelist V lad imi r Nabokov (1999) expressed the t r u t h about morta l i ty as he saw i t i n the starkest terms: "Our existence is but a br ief crack of l ight between two eternities of darkness" (p. 17).