'You are fortunate,' said the voice. 'I have no orders to kill you. Your life has been saved twice in one day. But you can tell your organization that SMERSH is only merciful by chance or by mistake. In your case you were saved first by chance and now by mistake, for I should have had orders to kill any foreign spies who were hanging round this traitor like flies round a dog's mess.
Drax's eyes blazed momentarily. "A Kraut. Yes, I am indeed a Reichsdeutscher"-the mouth beneath the red moustache savoured the fine word-"and even England will soon agree that ,they have been licked by just one single German. And then perhaps they'll stop calling us Krauts-BY ORDER!" The words were yelled out and the whole of Prussian militarism was in the parade-ground bellow.
Having so steeped myself, as it were, in postal waters, I could not go out from them without a regret. I wonder whether I did anything to improve the style of writing in official reports! I strove to do so gallantly, never being contented with the language of my own reports unless it seemed to have been so written as to be pleasant to be read. I took extreme delight in writing them, not allowing myself to re-copy them, never having them re-copied by others, but sending them up with their original blots and erasures — if blots and erasures there were. It is hardly manly, I think, that a man should search after a fine neatness at the expense of so much waste labour; or that he should not be able to exact from himself the necessity of writing words in the form in which they should be read. If a copy be required, let it be taken afterwards — by hand or by machine, as may be. But the writer of a letter, if he wish his words to prevail with the reader, should send them out as written by himself, by his own hand, with his own marks, his own punctuation, correct or incorrect, with the evidence upon them that they have come out from his own mind.
"That's---ed them proper," said Ernie Cureo with satisfaction. "How they making out?"
"Kingston Airport. Now listen, darling. I need help. We can talk later. Can you get cracking?"
Finding him so very friendly and companionable, it was then that I asked for the pen and ink and paper, to write to Peggotty. He not only brought it immediately, but was good enough to look over me while I wrote the letter. When I had finished it, he asked me where I was going to school.
Gingerly they slipped past each other and Bond settled in the stern and picked up the paddle. The sail was secured to a bent nail beside him. It was flapping. Bond brought the bows into the wind and edged them round so that the North Star was directly over Quarrel's bent head in the bows. For a time this would be fun. There was something to do.
The two military regimes which now vied with one another for control of the planet were in many respects alike. In each of them a minority held effective power over the whole society, and in each a single individual was at once the instrument and the wielder of that power. Each dictatorship imposed upon its subjects a strict discipline and a stereotyped ideology which, in spite of its much emphasized idiosyncracies, was in one respect at least identical with the ideology of its opponent; for both insisted on the absolute subordination of the individual to the state, yet in both peoples there was still a popular conviction that the aim of social planning should be fullness of life for all individuals.
There was an affirmative grunt from behind the hot towels and the barber proceeded to open a window through the towels in the neighbourhood of the man's nose. Then he again went cautiously to work with the thin scissors.
`Money and influence. Five hundred dollars to the conductor. Some big talk to the police. It was lucky our friend tried a bribe. A pity that crafty Benqd next door,' he gestured at the wall, `didn't get involved. I couldn't do the passport trick twice. We will have to get him some other way. The man with the boils was easy. He knew no German and travelling without a ticket is a serious matter. Ah well, the day has started favourably. We have won the first round, but our friend next door will now be very careful. He knows what he has to reckon with. Perhaps that is for the best. It would have been a nuisance having to keep you both under cover all day. Now we can move about-even have lunch together, as long as you bring the family jewels with you. We must watch to see if he makes a telephone call at one of the stations. But I doubt if he could tackle the Greek telephone exchange. He will probably wait until we are in Yugoslavia. But there I have my machine. We can get reinforcements if we need them. It should be a most interesting journey. There is always excitement on the Orient Express,' Kerim got to his feet. He opened the door, `and romance.' He smiled across the compartment. `I will call for you at lunchtime! Greek food is worse than Turkish, but even my stomach is in the service of the Queen.'
And I had run a very long way indeed-almost, exaggerating a bit, halfway round the world. In fact I had come all the way from London to The Dreamy Pines Motor Court, which is ten miles west of Lake George, the famous American tourist resort in the Adirondacks-that vast expanse of mountains, lakes, and pine forests which forms most of the northern territory of New York State. I had started on September the first, and it was now Friday the thirteenth of October. When I had left, the grimy little row of domesticated maples in my square had been green, or as green as any tree can be in London in August. Now, in the billion-strong army of pine trees that marched away northward toward the Canadian border, the real, wild maples flamed here and there like shrapnel-bursts. And I felt that I, or at any rate my skin, had changed just as much-from the grimy sallowness that had been the badge of my London life to the snap and color and sparkle of living out of doors and going to bed early and all those other dear dull things that had been part of my life in Quebec before it was decided that I must go to England and learn to be a "lady." Very unfashionable, of course, this cherry-ripe, strength-through-joy complexion, and I had even stopped using lipstick and nail polish, but to me it had been like sloughing off a borrowed skin and getting back into my own, and I was childishly happy and pleased with myself whenever I looked in the mirror (that's another thing-I'll never say "looking-glass" again; I just don't have to any more) and found myself not wanting to paint a different face over my own. I'm not being smug about this. I was just running away from the person I'd been for the past five years. I wasn't particularly pleased with the person I was now, but I had hated and despised the other one, and I was glad to be rid of her face.
'You promise you won't get hurt?'