THE AGE that now dawned was one of almost explosive progress, explosive, yet controlled. Unlike the industrial revolution, which is familiar to readers of this book, it was not dependent on licentious economic individualism. Its energy was derived, of course, very largely from the self-assertive itch of able individuals, but the means of satisfying this craving were now in the main centrally planned and socially useful.
'Even worse. If we have children, I will not have this noose hung round their heads. I didn't have any money and I haven't needed it. I've loved winning money gambling because that is found money, money that comes out of the air like a great surprise. If I'd inherited money, I'd have gone the way of all those playboy friends of Tracy's you complained about so much. No, Marc-Ange.' Bond drained his Steinhager decisively. 'It's no good.'
"These were Lincoln and Seward. I was present at the Convention as a spectator and I knew this fact at the time, but it seemed to me at the beginning that Seward's chances were the better. One third of the delegates of Illinois preferred Seward and expected to vote for him after a few complimentary ballots for Lincoln. If there had been no Lincoln in the field, Seward would certainly have been nominated and then the course of history would have been very different from what it was, for if Seward had been nominated and elected there would have been no forcible opposition to the withdrawal of such States as then desired to secede. And as a consequence the Republican party would have been rent in twain and disabled from making effectual resistance to other demands of the South.
"Yes. Good night, sir."
* * *
The wheel whirred again and the two pairs of eyes bent to watch it.
James Bond knew he could lie, knew he could fake a dozen reasons why. Instead he took a deep pull at the strong whiskey he had poured for himself, put the glass down, and looked Captain Sender straight in the eye.
The world was a chrysalis world, but the chrysalis was damaged. Under the stress of science and mechanization the old order had become effete, the old patterns of life could no longer be healthily lived; yet the new order and the new mentality could not be born. The swarms of human creatures whose minds had been moulded to the old patterns were plunged from security into insecurity and bewilderment. Creatures specialized by circumstance to knit themselves into the existing but disintegrating social texture found themselves adrift in dreadful chaos, their talents useless, their minds out-moded, their values falsified. And so, like bees in a queenless hive, they floundered into primitive ways. They became marauding gangsters, or clamoured for some new, strong, ruthless and barbaric tribal order, into which they might once more themselves. In this nadir of civilization, this wide-craving for the savage and the stark, this night of spirit, there rose to power the basest and hitherto most despised of human types, the hooligan and the gun-man, who recognized no values but personal dominance, whose vengeful aim was to trample the civilization that spurned them, and to rule for brigandage alone a new gangster society.
EASTSIDER GEORGE SHEARING
'Why, I want to ask, aunt, as this seems, from what I understand, to be a limited profession, whether my entrance into it would not be very expensive?'