What was this, then, that was in the air? A rising temper. Acute irritability. A nameless rancour. A universal tendency to envenomed exchange of words, to outbursts of rage – yes, even to fisticuffs. Embittered disputes, bouts of uncontrolled shrieking, by pairs and by groups, were of daily occurrence; and the significant thing was that the bystanders, instead of being disgusted with the participants, or seeking to come between them, actually sympathized with one side or the other to the extent of being themselves involved in the quarrel. They would pale and tremble, their eyes would glitter provocatively, their mouths set with passion. They envied those actively engaged the chance, the justification for screaming; a gnawing desire to do likewise possessed mind and body, and he who could not summon strength to flee apart, was soon willy-nilly in the midst of the mêlée.


Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain



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