Leiter looked helpful. He came out from behind his desk. "Just over here, sir. The lobby telephone. The box is soundproof."
The Professor called these the three "V's" of communication:
But for all that The Three Clerks was a good novel.
The doctor having been upstairs and come down again, and having satisfied himself, I suppose, that there was a probability of this unknown lady and himself having to sit there, face to face, for some hours, laid himself out to be polite and social. He was the meekest of his sex, the mildest of little men. He sidled in and out of a room, to take up the less space. He walked as softly as the Ghost in Hamlet, and more slowly. He carried his head on one side, partly in modest depreciation of himself, partly in modest propitiation of everybody else. It is nothing to say that he hadn't a word to throw at a dog. He couldn't have thrown a word at a mad dog. He might have offered him one gently, or half a one, or a fragment of one; for he spoke as slowly as he walked; but he wouldn't have been rude to him, and he couldn't have been quick with him, for any earthly consideration.
He turned right and walked slowly down towards Times Square. As he passed the handsome black marble frontage of the House of Diamonds, he stopped to examine the two discreet show-windows lined with dark blue velvet. In the centre of each there was just one piece of jewellery, an ear-ring consisting of a big pear-shaped diamond hanging from another perfect stone, circular and brilliant-cut. Below each ear-ring there was a thin plate of yellow gold, in the shape of a visiting card with one edge turned down. On each plate was engraved the words Diamonds are Forever.
But these servants of darkness had no lasting joy in their service. In all of them the will for darkness was a perversion of the will for the light. In all but a few maniacs the satisfaction of the will for darkness was at all times countered by a revulsion which the unhappy spirit either dared not confess even to itself, or else rejected as cowardly and evil. In all, darkness appeared in the guise of light, so that they believed themselves to be the true and faithful servants not of darkness but of light, heroically denying in themselves the subtly disguised temptations of the dark power.
Station WOKO (they might have dreamed up a grander call-sign!) in Albany, the capital of New York State and about fifty miles due south of where I was, announced that it was six o'clock. The weather report that followed included a storm warning with gale-force winds. The storm was moving down from the north and would hit Albany around eight p.m. That meant that I would be having a noisy night. I didn't mind. Storms don't frighten me, and although the nearest living soul, as far as I knew, was ten miles away up the not very good secondary road to Lake George, the thought of the pines that would soon be thrashing outside, the thunder and lightning and rain, made me already feel snug and warm and protected in anticipation. And alone! But above all alone! "Loneliness becomes a lover, solitude a darling sin." Where had I read that? Who had written it? It was so exactly the way I felt, the way that, as a child, I had always felt until I had forced myself to "get into the swim," "be one of the crowd"-a good sort, on the ball, hep. And what a hash I had made of "togetherness"! I shrugged the memory of failure away. Everyone doesn't have to live in a heap. Painters, writers, musicians are lonely people. So are statesmen and admirals and generals. But then, I added to be fair, so are criminals and lunatics. Let's just say, not to be too flattering, that true Individuals are lonely. It's not a virtue-the reverse, if anything. One ought to share and communicate if one is to be a useful member of the tribe. The fact that I was so much happier when I was alone was surely the sign of a faulty, a neurotic character. I had said this so often to myself in the past five years that now, that evening, I just shrugged my shoulders and, hugging my solitude to me, walked across the big lobby to the door and went out to have a last look at the evening.