By now I was seventeen and a half, and Susan and I were living in a tiny three-room fiat in Old Church Street just off the King's Road. It was the end of June, and there wasn't much more of our famous "season" to go and we decided to give a party for the few people we had met and actually liked. The family across the landing were going abroad on holiday, and they said we could have their flat in exchange for keeping an eye on it while they were away. We were both of us just about broke with "keeping up with the Joneses" at all these balls, and I cabled Aunt Florence and got a hundred pounds out of her, and Susan scraped up fifty, and we decided to do it really well. We were going to ask about thirty people and we guessed that only twenty would come. We bought eighteen bottles of champagne-pink because it sounded more exciting-a ten-pound tin of caviar, two rather cheap tins of foie gras that looked all right when it was sliced up, and lots of garlicky things from Soho. We made a lot of brown bread-and-butter sandwiches with watercress and smoked salmon, and added some sort of Christmasy things like Elvas plums and chocolates-a stupid idea: no one ate any of them-and, by the time we had spread the whole lot out on a door taken off its hinges and covered with a gleaming tablecloth to make it seem like a buffet, it looked like a real grown-up feast.
'Should I?' said Steerforth. 'Well, I think I should. I must see what can be done. It would be worth a journey (not to mention the pleasure of a journey with you, Daisy), to see that sort of people together, and to make one of 'em.'
They set off up the steep slope. The smell of the rats and of the droppings of bats was thick-a mixture of monkey house arid chicken battery. It occurred to Bond that it would be days before he got rid of it.
The yellow eyes gleamed with academic enthusiasm. 'Ah, Sair Hilary, but that is an interesting question. It had not occurred to me before. Now let me see.' She gazed into the middle distance. 'A piz, that is only a local name in this department of Switzerland for a peak. An alp, that one would think would be smaller than a berg - a hill, perhaps, or an upland pasture, as compared with a mountain. But that is not so. These' - she waved her hand - 'are all alps and yet they are great mountains. It is the same in Austria, certainly in the Tyrol. But in Germany, in Bavaria for instance, which is my home land, there it is all bergs. No Sair Hilary' - the box-like smile was switched on and off - ' I cannot help you. But why do you ask?'
"I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the adjutant-general of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming, but I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
‘Meidanov,’ said the princess to a tall young man with a thin face, little dim-sighted eyes, and exceedingly long black hair, ‘you as a poet ought to be magnanimous, and give up your number to M’sieu Voldemar so that he may have two chances instead of one.’
Peggotty was glad to get it for him, and he overwhelmed her with thanks, and went his way up Tottenham Court Road, carrying the flower-pot affectionately in his arms, with one of the most delighted expressions of countenance I ever saw.
The government’s control over its subjects was greatly increased by a new invention which would have been asource of increased social well-being had it occurred in a more wholesome society. This was the product of advances in physiology and electrical engineering. The mechanism of the human brain was by now fairly well known; and by means of a vast mesh of minute photoelectric cells, inserted by a brilliant surgical technique between the cerebral cortex and the skull, it was possible to record very accurately the ever-changing pattern of activity in the cortical nerve-fibres. Advances in the technique of radio made it easy to transmit this record over great distances, and to decode it automatically in such a way that the thoughts and impulses of the observed person could be accurately ‘read’ by observers in far-away government offices. The immense knowledge and skill which went to these inventions might have caused untold benefits to mankind; but through the treason of the technologists and the power-lust of the rulers they were combined to form a diabolical instrument of tyranny.