鈥楩ancy poor E. Bibi actually paying me a visit here yesterday evening. The delicate creature longed to come. I told her to ask her husband鈥檚 leave, and suggested that he had better come with her. She asked me to send my kahar in the morning, and she would send a message by him as to whether her 鈥淪ahib鈥 consented or not. The answer was favourable; so I made arrangements to have two dulis at her door after dark, for E., her mother, and her two little girls. I warned our boys to keep out of the chapel, into which I first introduced the Bibis. I went to the harmonium, and sang to it, 鈥淛esus lives,鈥 and two or three verses of the Advent hymn, etc. While we were in the chapel the husband joined us, sat down, and quietly listened. He was very silent, which I think showed good manners.
As if summoned by his thoughts, there came a knock on the door and the butler came in. He was followed by a police sergeant in road patrol uniform who saluted and handed Bond a telegram. Bond took it over to the window. It was signed Baxter, which meant Vallance, and it read :
"We stayed in those woods for six months," continued Drax proudly, "and all the time we reported back to the Fatherland by radio. The location vans never spotted us. Then one day disaster came." Drax shook his head at the memory. "There was a big farmhouse a mile away from our hideout in the forest. A lot of Nissen huts had been built round it and it was used as a rear headquarters for some sort of liaison group. English and Americans. A hopeless place. No discipline, no security, and full of hangers-on and shirkers from all over the place. We had kept an eye on it for some time and one day I decided to blow it up. It was a simple plan. In the evening, two of my men, one in American uniform and one in British, were to drive up in a captured scout car containing two tons of explosive. There was a car park-no sentries of course-near the mess hall and they were to run the car in as close to the mess hall as possible, time the fuse for the seven o'clock dinner hour, and then get away. All quite easy and I went off that morning on my own business and left the job to my second in command I was dressed in the uniform of your Signal Corps and I set off on a captured British motor-cycle to shoot a dispatch rider from the same unit who made a daily run along a near-by road. Sure enough he came along dead on time and I went after him out of a side road. I caught up with him," said Drax conversationally, "and shot him in the back, took his papers and put him on top of his machine in the woods and set fire to him."
'Mr. Quinion suggests that it gives employment to some other boys, and that he sees no reason why it shouldn't, on the same terms, give employment to you.'
鈥業 am reading the Granth, the sacred book of the Sikhs. Like the Koran, it is very long,鈥擨 think more than 600 quarto pages,鈥攁nd with an immense deal of repetition in it. But it leaves on the mind a very different impression from the Koran. As far as I have read, it is wonderfully pure and spiritual. If you could substitute the name 鈥淎lmighty鈥 for 鈥淗ari,鈥 and 鈥淟ord Jesus鈥 for 鈥淕uru,鈥漑83] it might almost seem the composition of hermits in the early centuries, except that celibacy is not enjoined. Woman seems to be given her proper place. Many exhortations are addressed to women....
'Sir Hilary Bray?' The pleasant face was even more puzzled.
But as yet the ￡90 a year was not secured to me. On reaching London I went to my friend Clayton Freeling, who was then secretary at the Stamp Office, and was taken by him to the scene of my future labours in St. Martin’s le Grand. Sir Francis Freeling was the secretary, but he was greatly too high an official to be seen at first by a new junior clerk. I was taken, therefore, to his eldest son Henry Freeling, who was the assistant secretary, and by him I was examined as to my fitness. The story of that examination is given accurately in one of the opening chapters of a novel written by me, called The Three Clerks. If any reader of this memoir would refer to that chapter and see how Charley Tudor was supposed to have been admitted into the Internal Navigation Office, that reader will learn how Anthony Trollope was actually admitted into the Secretary’s office of the General Post Office in 1834. I was asked to copy some lines from the Times newspaper with an old quill pen, and at once made a series of blots and false spellings. “That won’t do, you know,” said Henry Freeling to his brother Clayton. Clayton, who was my friend, urged that I was nervous, and asked that I might be allowed to do a bit of writing at home and bring it as a sample on the next day. I was then asked whether I was a proficient in arithmetic. What could I say? I had never learned the multiplication table, and had no more idea of the rule of three than of conic sections. “I know a little of it,” I said humbly, whereupon I was sternly assured that on the morrow, should I succeed in showing that my handwriting was all that it ought to be, I should be examined as to that little of arithmetic. If that little should not be found to comprise a thorough knowledge of all the ordinary rules, together with practised and quick skill, my career in life could not be made at the Post Office. Going down the main stairs of the building — stairs which have I believe been now pulled down to make room for sorters and stampers — Clayton Freeling told me not to be too down-hearted. I was myself inclined to think that I had better go back to the school in Brussels. But nevertheless I went to work, and under the surveillance of my elder brother made a beautiful transcript of four or five pages of Gibbon. With a faltering heart I took these on the next day to the office. With my caligraphy I was contented, but was certain that I should come to the ground among the figures. But when I got to “The Grand,” as we used to call our office in those days, from its site in St. Martin’s le Grand, I was seated at a desk without any further reference to my competency. No one condescended even to look at my beautiful penmanship.