Now they were only twenty yards away from me, veering right toward their car. I cringed back into the dark cave of the carport. But where was James? Should I run out after them and take them on alone? Don't be idiotic! If I missed, and I certainly would, that would be the end of me. Now, if they turned round, would they see me? Would my white overalls show up in the darkness? I got farther back. Now they were framed in the square opening of my carport as they walked across the grass a few yards from the still-standing north wall of the lobby building from which the wind had so far kept most of the flames. They would soon vanish round the corner, and a wonderful chance would have gone!
‘My darling Letitia! Notwithstanding all that has passed since she was last pressed to my heart, the sudden blow of her loss has left, I think, a deeper scar than any trial before or after it. I seldom mention her name; and now my heart seems rising into my throat as I write of her....
My aunt rubbed her nose sometimes when she happened to be alone with me, and said she couldn't make it out; she wished they were happier; she didn't think our military friend (so she always called the Old Soldier) mended the matter at all. My aunt further expressed her opinion, 'that if our military friend would cut off those butterflies, and give 'em to the chimney-sweepers for May-day, it would look like the beginning of something sensible on her part.'
The Professor seemed pleased. "More or less," he said, "but the rocket carries all its fuel inside it, instead of sucking in oxygen from outside like the Comet. Well then," he continued, "the fuel gets ignited in the motor and squirts out at the end in a continuous blast. Rather like a continuous recoil from a gun. And this blast forces the rocket into the air like any other firework. Of course it's at the stern that the Columbite comes in. It's allowed us to make a motor that won't be melted by .the fantastic heat. And then," he pointed, "those are the tail fins to keep it steady at the beginning of its flight. Also made of Columbite alloy or they'd break away with the colossal air pressure. Anything else?"
Bond stopped moving. He stopped as dead as a live man can.
'Are they dead, ma'am?' I inquired, after drinking the toast in a wine-glass.
'It would seem so. My great-grandfather, he was also Ernst.'
I begged her pardon. Not at all.
There was silence at the other end. Then, "Okay, we start again. I'll wire you a Grand, the Grand you won off of me. Remember?"
Oberhauser had been a nice enough chap once he had recovered from his fright, and when Smythe talked knowingly about skiing and climbing, both of which he had done before the war, the pair, as Smythe intended, became quite pally. Their route lay along the bottom of the Kaiser range to Kufstein, and Smythe drove slowly, making admiring comments on the peaks that were now flushed with the pink of dawn. Finally, below the peak of gold, as he called it to himself, he slowed to a halt and pulled off the road into a grassy glade. He turned in his seat and said with an assumption of candor, "Oberhauser, you are a man after my own heart. We share many interests together, and from your talk, and from the man I think you to be, I am sure you did not cooperate with the Nazis. Now I will tell you what I will do. We will spend the day climbing on the Kaiser, and I will then drive you back to Kitzbьhel and report to my commanding officer that you have been cleared at Munich." He grinned cheerfully. "Now. How about that?"
'Mas'r Davy,' he said, in a low tremulous voice, when it was covered, 'I thank my Heav'nly Father as my dream's come true! I thank Him hearty for having guided of me, in His own ways, to my darling!'
Chapter 5 My First Success
There can be no doubt that the most popular novelist of my time — probably the most popular English novelist of any time — has been Charles Dickens. He has now been dead nearly six years, and the sale of his books goes on as it did during his life. The certainty with which his novels are found in every house — the familiarity of his name in all English-speaking countries — the popularity of such characters as Mrs. Gamp, Micawber, and Pecksniff, and many others whose names have entered into the English language and become well-known words — the grief of the country at his death, and the honours paid to him at his funeral — all testify to his popularity. Since the last book he wrote himself, I doubt whether any book has been so popular as his biography by John Forster. There is no withstanding such testimony as this. Such evidence of popular appreciation should go for very much, almost for everything, in criticism on the work of a novelist. The primary object of a novelist is to please; and this man’s novels have been found more pleasant than those of any other writer. It might of course be objected to this, that though the books have pleased they have been injurious, that their tendency has been immoral and their teaching vicious; but it is almost needless to say that no such charge has ever been made against Dickens. His teaching has ever been good. From all which, there arises to the critic a question whether, with such evidence against him as to the excellence of this writer, he should not subordinate his own opinion to the collected opinion of the world of readers. To me it almost seems that I must be wrong to place Dickens after Thackeray and George Eliot, knowing as I do that so great a majority put him above those authors.
Lincoln's relations with McClellan have already been touched upon. There would not be space in this paper to refer in detail to the action taken by Lincoln with other army commanders East and West. The problem that confronted the Commander-in-chief of selecting the right leaders for this or that undertaking, and of promoting the men who gave evidence of the greater capacity that was required for the larger armies that were being placed in the field, was one of no little difficulty. The reader of history, looking back to-day, with the advantage of the full record of the careers of the various generals, is tempted to indulge in easy criticism of the blunders made by the President. Why did the President put up so long with the vaingloriousness and ineffectiveness of McClellan? Why should he have accepted even for one brief and unfortunate campaign the service of an incompetent like Pope? Why was a slow-minded closet-student like Halleck permitted to fritter away in the long-drawn-out operations against Corinth the advantage of position and of force that had been secured by the army of the West? Why was a political trickster like Butler, with no army experience, or a well-meaning politician like Banks with still less capacity for the management of troops, permitted to retain responsibilities in the field, making blunders that involved waste of life and of resources and the loss of campaigns? Why were not the real men like Sherman, Grant, Thomas, McPherson, Sheridan, and others brought more promptly into the important positions? Why was the army of the South permitted during the first two years of the War to have so large an advantage in skilled and enterprising leadership? A little reflection will show how unjust is the criticism implied through such questions. We know of the incapacity of the generals who failed and of the effectiveness of those who succeeded, only through the results of the campaigns themselves. Lincoln could only study the men as he came to know about them and he experimented first with one and then with another, doing what seemed to be practicable to secure a natural selection and the survival of the fittest. Such watchful supervision and painstaking experimenting was carried out with infinite patience and with an increasing knowledge both of the requirements and of the men fitted to fill the requirements.