After a time she rang the bell. 'Janet,' said my aunt, when her servant came in. 'Go upstairs, give my compliments to Mr. Dick, and say I wish to speak to him.'
"Ten minutes, but no more answers until you tell me who you are."
The little car wove expertly through the traffic. Bond said, ' I'm sorry, Tracy. It was something that had to be done. You know how it is. I just couldn't back out of it. I really wouldn't have been happy here, like I am now, if I'd shirked it. You do see that, don't you?'
We were a little like undertakers, in the Commons, as regarded Probate transactions; generally making it a rule to look more or less cut up, when we had to deal with clients in mourning. In a similar feeling of delicacy, we were always blithe and light-hearted with the licence clients. Therefore I hinted to Peggotty that she would find Mr. Spenlow much recovered from the shock of Mr. Barkis's decease; and indeed he came in like a bridegroom.
'Well, there was the main guard at the so-called Club. That had to be done or I'd be dead myself by now. Then I suppose one got caught by the avalanche. Then, at the bottom, one of them shot at me and I had to spear him with my ski-stick - self-defence. I don't know how badly he's hurt. And then there was the man killed by the train. He'd fired six shots at me. And anyway it was his own fault. Let's say three and a half got themselves killed one way or another.'
In this period of my father's life there are two things which it is impossible not to be struck with: one of them unfortunately a very common circumstance, the other a most uncommon one. The first is, that in his position, with no resource but the precarious one of writing in periodicals, he married and had a large family; conduct than which nothing could be more opposed, both as a matter of good sense and of duty, to the opinions which, at least at a later period of life, he strenuously upheld. The other circumstance is the extraordinary energy which was required to lead the life he led, with the disadvantages under which he laboured from the first, and with those which he brought upon himself by his marriage. It would have been no small thing, had he done no more than to support himself and his family during so many years by writing, without ever being in debt, or in any pecuniary difficulty; holding, as he did, opinions, both in politics and in religion, which were more odious to all persons of influence, and to the common run of prosperous Englishmen in that generation than either before or since; and being not only a man whom nothing would have induced to write against his convictions, but one who invariably threw into everything he wrote, as much of his convictions as he thought the circumstances would in any way permit: being, it must also be said, one who never did anything negligently; never undertook any task, literary or other, on which he did not conscientiously bestow all the labour necessary for performing it adequately. But he, with these burthens on him, planned, commenced, and completed, the History of India; and this in the course of about ten years, a shorter time than has been occupied (even by writers who had no other employment) in the production of almost any other historical work of equal bulk, and of anything approaching to the same amount of reading and research. And to this is to be added, that during the whole period, a considerable part of almost every day was employed in the instruction of his children: in the case of one of whom, myself, he exerted an amount of labour, care, and perseverance rarely, if ever, employed for a similar purpose, in endeavouring to give, according to his own conception, the highest order of intellectual education.
"Sure," said Leiter. "No coincidence about it. We're both travelling bad roads and all bad roads lead to the bad town. I've got some cleaning up to do here in Saratoga first. And a pile of reports to write. That's half my life with Pinkertons, writing reports. But I'll be over in Vegas before the end of the week, sniffing around. Shan't be able to see much of you right under the Spang nose, but maybe we could meet up from time to time and exchange notes. Tell you what," he added. "We've got a good man there. Undercover. Cab-driver by the name of Cureo, Ernie Cureo. Good guy, and I'll pass the word you're coming and he'll look after you. He knows all the dirt, where the big fixes are, who's in town from the outside mobs. He even knows where you can find the one-armed bandits that pay the best percentages. And the slots that pay best is the most valuable secret on the whole goddam Strip. And Boy, you've seen nothing until you've seen that Strip. Five solid miles of gambling joints. Neon lighting that makes Broadway look like a kid's Christmas tree. Monte Carlo!" Letter snorted. "Steam-age stuff."