'You have been silent for a long time, and now you are going to be cross!' said Dora.
A gentleman in county Cavan had complained most bitterly of the injury done to him by some arrangement of the Post Office. The nature of his grievance has no present significance; but it was so unendurable that he had written many letters, couched in the strongest language. He was most irate, and indulged himself in that scorn which is easy to an angry mind. The place was not in my district, but I was borrowed, being young and strong, that I might remember the edge of his personal wrath. It was mid-winter, and I drove up to his house, a squire’s country seat, in the middle of a snowstorm, just as it was becoming dark. I was on an open jaunting car, and was on my way from one little town to another, the cause of his complaint having reference to some mail conveyance between the two. I was certainly very cold, and very wet, and very uncomfortable when I entered his house. I was admitted by a butler, but the gentleman himself hurried into the hall. I at once began to explain my business. “God bless me!” he said, “you are wet through. John, get Mr. Trollope some brandy and water — very hot.” I was beginning my story about the post again when he himself took off my greatcoat, and suggested that I should go up to my bedroom before I troubled myself with business. “Bedroom!” I exclaimed. Then he assured me that he would not turn a dog out on such a night as that, and into a bedroom I was shown, having first drank the brandy and water standing at the drawing-room fire. When I came down I was introduced to his daughter, and the three of us went in to dinner. I shall never forget his righteous indignation when I again brought up the postal question on the departure of the young lady. Was I such a Goth as to contaminate wine with business? So I drank my wine, and then heard the young lady sing while her father slept in his armchair. I spent a very pleasant evening, but my host was too sleepy to hear anything about the Post Office that night. It was absolutely necessary that I should go away the next morning after breakfast, and I explained that the matter must be discussed then. He shook his head and wrung his hands in unmistakable disgust — almost in despair. “But what am I to say in my report?” I asked. “Anything you please,” he said. “Don’t spare me, if you want an excuse for yourself. Here I sit all the day — with nothing to do; and I like writing letters.” I did report that Mr. —— was now quite satisfied with the postal arrangement of his district; and I felt a soft regret that I should have robbed my friend of his occupation. Perhaps he was able to take up the Poor Law Board, or to attack the Excise. At the Post Office nothing more was heard from him.
Bond went up to his ball. Now things had got tough again. Once more he was fighting for a half after having a certain win in his pocket. He glanced towards the pin, gauging the distance. This was a tricky one. He said. 'Five or six?'
'Well, here's the dope, Bill.' He handed over the black folder with the red star which stood for Top Secret. 'And for God's sake look enthusiastic when you give it him. And tell him I'll wait here and read a good code-book while he's considering it. He may want some more details, and anyway I want to see you two don't pester him with anything else until he's finished.'
Mr. Omer coughed again, in consequence of laughing, and was assisted out of his fit by his daughter, who now stood close beside us, dancing her smallest child on the counter.
Readers will no doubt think that this is official flummery; and so in fact it is. I do not at all imagine that I was an ornament to the Post Office, and have no doubt that the secretaries and assistant-secretaries very often would have been glad to be rid of me; but the letter may be taken as evidence that I did not allow my literary enterprises to interfere with my official work. A man who takes public money without earning it is to me so odious that I can find no pardon for him in my heart. I have known many such, and some who have craved the power to do so. Nothing would annoy me more than to think that I should even be supposed to have been among the number.
Tatiana's face cleared. She smiled down at him. `You are right. I will not ask any more foolish questions. But we must waste no more of these days.' She shifted his head and got up and lay down beside him.
'Yes,' he said. 'That's right. Quite right. I should have been extremely happy, Copperfield, to have limited these charges to the actual expenditure out of pocket, but it is an irksome incident in my professional life, that I am not at liberty to consult my own wishes. I have a partner - Mr. Jorkins.'
“I don’t know, man.”
"No key to the filing cabinet," said Bond truthfully.
He nodded towards the desk. "The lighter," he said urgently. "I had to try and make him forget it. Follow me. I'll show you." He started to rock the light steel chair inch by inch towards the desk. "For God's sake don't tip over or we've had it. But make it fast or the blowlamp'll get cold."
"Compound fracture of the tibia," said the matron. "No complications." She smiled. "Except that he's a bit fresh with the nurses. He should be walking with a stick in ten days. He's already seen the police. I suppose it's all to do with that story in the Gleaner about those American tourists being killed when the Orange River Bridge collapsed. But the Commissioner's handling it all personally. The story in the Gleaner's very vague."
One of the causes of this admiration of cruelty in the world-culture of this period was the widespread respect for ‘the unconscious’. The distinction between the conscious and unconscious motives, which had played such a beneficial part in an earlier psychology, had by now led to absurdities. The unconscious was now said to be the divine will working in us. The unconscious sources of action were therefore sacred. In a race in which, through unwholesome conditioning, the ‘unconscious’ was a tissue of perverted cravings, this meant that the perverse was deified.