Bond looked the man in the eye. He said, "Thanks. I've tried it. I recommend the Berlin vintage Nineteen forty-five." He smiled a friendly, only slightly ironical smile. "But I expect you were too young to be at that tasting."
Bond said quietly, "I'm from the C.I.D. Can we have a talk? Perhaps you'd like to check my credentials first. My name's James Bond. But you'll have to go direct to Sir Ronald Vallance or his P.A. I'm not directly on the strength at Scotland Yard. Sort of liaison job."
vi. Man Passes on
鈥楽uch a merry breakfast we had this morning! Our three dear ladies, Margaret, Emily, and Florrie, arrived at about 9 A.M. after nine hours of raft,鈥攙ery tiring, for it involved much walking, and it was raining away,鈥攁nd twelve of dak-gari. Margaret looked young and lovely; Florrie much improved.... She is delighted with the Batala scheme; but Margaret tells me that it cannot be carried out till December at earliest, and I have my doubts about its being carried out at all. At any rate, the difficulties will not have come from me. I am quite willing to go; but of course a new station would involve the Committee in expenses, and it is not easy to procure a suitable house, etc., so it is likely enough that Sadiq鈥檚 plan will be disapproved of in high quarters. I quietly wait to see what direction is taken by 鈥渢he fiery, cloudy pillar.鈥 ...
'Yes, for my nephew,' said my aunt.
'Only when I ask for a card or tap mine to signify that I stand on what I have, can the banker look at his. If he has a natural, he turns them up and wins. Otherwise he is faced with the same problems as I was. But he is helped in his decision to draw or not to draw a third card by my actions. If I have stood, he must assume that I have a five, six, or seven: if I have drawn, he will know that I had something less than a six and I may have improved my hand or not with the card he gave me. And this card was dealt to me face up. On its face value and a knowledge of the odds, he will know whether to take another card or to stand on his own.
I have already said of the work that it failed altogether in the purport for which it was intended. But it has a merit of its own — a merit by my own perception of which I was enabled to see wherein lay whatever strength I did possess. The characters of the bishop, of the archdeacon, of the archdeacon’s wife, and especially of the warden, are all well and clearly drawn. I had realised to myself a series of portraits, and had been able so to put them on the canvas that my readers should see that which I meant them to see. There is no gift which an author can have more useful to him than this. And the style of the English was good, though from most unpardonable carelessness the grammar was not unfrequently faulty. With such results I had no doubt but that I would at once begin another novel.
‘I beg you to present my thanks; and to express my hopes that her Majesty continued to enjoy the pleasures of the evening; and that she has not been fatigued by them.
In the meanwhile had taken place the election of the first Reformed Parliament, which included several of the most notable of my Radical friends and acquaintances — Grote, Roebuck, Buller, Sir William Molesworth, John and Edward Romilly, and several more; besides Warburton, Strutt, and others, who were in parliament already. Those who thought themselves, and were called by their friends, the philosophic radicals, had now, it seemed, a fair opportunity, in a more advantageous position than they had ever before occupied, for showing what was in them; and I, as well as my father, founded great hopes on them. These hopes were destined to be disappointed. The men were honest, and Faithful to their opinions, as far as votes were concerned; often in spite of much discouragement. When measures were proposed, flagrantly at variance with their principles, such as the irish Coercion Bill, or the Canada coercion in 1837, they came forward manfully, and braved any amount of hostility and prejudice rather than desert the right. But on the whole they did very little to promote any opinions; they had little enterprise, little activity: they left the lead of the radical portion of the House to the old hands, to Hume and O'Connell. A partial exception must be made in favour of one or two of the younger men; and in the case of Roebuck, it is his title to permanent remembrance, that in the very first year during which he sat in Parliament, he originated (or re-originated after the unsuccessful attempt of Mr Brougham) the parliamentary movement for National Education; and that he was the first to commence, and for years carried on almost alone, the contest for the self-government of the Colonies. Nothing, on the whole equal to these two things, was done by any other individual, even of those from whom most was expected. And now, on a calm retrospect, I can perceive that the men were less in fault than we supposed, and that we had expected too much From them. They were in unfavourable circumstances. Their lot was cast in the ten years of inevitable reaction, when, the Reform excitement being over, and the few legislative improvements which the public really called for having been rapidly effected, power gravitated back in its natural direction, to those who were for keeping things as they were; when the public mind desired rest, and was less disposed than at any other period since the peace, to let itself be moved by attempts to work up the reform feeling into fresh activity in favour of new things. It would have required a great political leader, which no one is to be blamed for not being, to have effected really great things by parliamentary discussion when the nation was in this mood. My father and I had hoped that some competent leader might arise; some man of philosophic attainments and popular talents, who could have put heart into the many younger or less distinguished men that would have been ready to join him — could have made them available, to the extent of their talents, in bringing advanced ideas before the public — could have used the House of Commons as a rostra or a teacher's chair for instructing and impelling the public mind; and would either have forced the Whigs to receive their measures from him, or have taken the lead of the Reform party out of their hands. Such a leader there would have been, if my father had been in Parliament. For want of such a man, the instructed Radicals sank into a mere c?té gauche of the Whig party. With a keen, and as I now think, an exaggerated sense of the possibilities which were open to the Radicals if they made even ordinary exertion for their opinions, I laboured from this time till 1839, both by personal influence with some of them, and by writings, to put ideas into their heads, and purpose into their hearts. I did some good with Charles Buller, and some with Sir William Molesworth; both of whom did valuable service, but were unhappily cut off almost in the beginning of their usefulness. On the whole, however, my attempt was vain. To have had a chance of succeeding in it, required a different position from mine. It was a task only for one who, being himself in Parliament, could have mixed with the radical members in daily consultation, could himself have taken the initiative, and instead of urging others to lead, could have summoned them to follow.
I have no doubt that the result of the sale of this story was no better than that of the two that had gone before. I asked no questions, however, and to this day have received no information. The story is certainly inferior to those which had gone before — chiefly because I knew accurately the life of the people in Ireland, and knew, in truth, nothing of life in the La Vendee country, and also because the facts of the present time came more within the limits of my powers of story-telling than those of past years. But I read the book the other day, and am not ashamed of it. The conception as to the feeling of the people is, I think, true; the characters are distinct, and the tale is not dull. As far as I can remember, this morsel of criticism is the only one that was ever written on the book.
While modest economic development was continued, the main work of the new government was to educate the people in citizenship and in the new, purged version of the ancient culture. At the same time equality of opportunity for the rising generation, opportunity both economic and educational, was made absolute. In the new constitution ultimate power lay with the whole adult population. The constitution could be altered only by their elected assembly, which also could depose the government or withhold supplies. Current legislation, however, was carried out not by the general assembly but by a body elected by a section of the population known as the Active Citizens. These were men and women who had qualified by undertaking certain kinds of social service and by passing certain intelligence tests and academic examinations. The Active Citizens elected representatives from among themselves, but only those who had completed a rigorous political training, practical and theoretical, could stand for election. Parallel with this system there was a kind of Soviet system, based on occupation. All important legislation had to be sanctioned both by the representatives of the Active Citizens and by the body which formed the elected apex of this occupational system. This constitution could never have been put into action had there not already existed throughout the country a high standard of political education and a body of trusted leaders, proved in the revolution.
I am glad to recollect that when the carrier began to move, my mother ran out at the gate, and called to him to stop, that she might kiss me once more. I am glad to dwell upon the earnestness and love with which she lifted up her face to mine, and did so.
'It's very unfortunate,' said my aunt. 'I don't know what to do, Trot.'
Bond said seriously, 'Well, you're a damned good girl. As a matter of fact it's going to be the hell of a rush getting down the bare bones of a report. And I've got something for the lab to do. Will there be someone there?'