A man who is an enthusiastic reader of French literature, and who was reading 'The Masterpiece' by the French author, Émile Zola, claims he "just knew", with absolute certainty, that the 'hero' of the story was going to end up in bed with Irma Bécot.
Moys Kenwood, 57, was reading the tragic story of Claude Lantier, an ambitious and talented young artist who is conquered by the flaws in his own genius. His originality is mocked at the Paris Salon, and gradually turns into a doomed obsession with one great canvas.
Lantier has a circle of friends, some of whom are artists. One of them is Jory, a writer. His strumpet girlfriend, Irma Bécot, has designs on Claude, and after Jory and Claude visit Irma at her home, and she lets her interest in the latter be known, on page 173, Claude swears to himself, to:
"never set foot in her house again."
Having read several other novels by Zola in the past, this phrase struck Kenwood like a cricket bat across the forehead, and he knew, right there and then, that, by hook or by crook, Claude was going to end up in Irma's bed.
And so it came to pass.
After trying but failing to perfect his painting in time for the Salon, then putting his fist through it, he tramps through the muddy streets in a daze, pondering his bleak future. He trudges for miles; then, out of nowhere, on page 245, a brougham rolls up, with Irma inside. She tells him to get in, he does, they go back to her place, and Bob's your uncle.
"Zola is brilliant. I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so I won't mention Claude's suicide."