This seeming purposiveness may have been illusory. Some natural cause may very well have produced it. But when it is taken in conjunction with the fact that the disease attacked the human race just when its physical resistance was weakest owing to universal under-nourishment, and when its spiritual power was not yet fully developed, some occult evil purpose seems plausible.
Tuque testudo resonare septem
When two persons have their thoughts and speculations completely in common; when all subjects of intellectual or moral interest are discussed between them in daily life, and probed to much greater depths than are usually or conveniently sounded in writings intended for general readers; when they set out from the same principles, and arrive at their conclusions by processes pursued jointly, it is of little consequence in respect to the question of originality, which of them holds the pen; the one who contributes least to the composition may contribute most to the thought; the writings which result are the joint product of both, and it must often be impossible to disentangle their respective parts, and affirm that this belongs to one and that to the other. In this wide sense, not only during the years of our married life, but during many of the years of confidential friendship which preceded it, all my published writings were as much my wife's work as mine; her share in them constantly increasing as years advanced. But in certain cases, what belongs to her can be distinguished, and specially identified. Over and above the general influence which her mind had over mine, the most valuable ideas and features in these joint productions — those which have been most fruitful of important results, and have contributed most to the success and reputation of the works themselves — originated with her, were emanations from her mind, my part in them being no greater than in any of the thoughts which I found in previous writers, and made my own only by incorporating them with my own system of thought. During the greater part of my literary life I have performed the office in relation to her, which from a rather early period I had considered as the most useful part that I was qualified to take in the domain of thought, that of an interpreter of original thinkers, and mediator between them and the public; for I had always a humble opinion of my own powers as an original thinker, except in abstract science (logic, metaphysics, and the theoretic principles of political economy and politics), but thought myself much superior to most of my contemporaries in willingness and ability to learn from everybody; as I found hardly any one who made such a point of examining what was said in defence of all opinions, however new or however old, in the conviction that even if they were errors there might be a substratum of truth underneath them, and that in any case the discovery of what it was that made them plausible, would be a benefit to truth. I had, in consequence, marked out this as a sphere of usefulness in which I was under a special obligation to make myself active: the more so, as the acquaintance I had formed with the ideas of the Coleridgians, of the German thinkers, and of Carlyle, all of them fiercely opposed to the mode of thought in which I had been brought up, had convinced me that along with much error they possessed much truth, which was veiled from minds otherwise capable of receiving it by the transcendental and mystical phraseology in which they were accustomed to shut it up, and from which they neither cared, nor knew how, to disengage it; and I did not despair of separating the truth from the error, and expressing it in terms which would be intelligible and not repulsive to those on my own side in philosophy. Thus prepared, it will easily be believed that when I came into close intellectual communion with a person of the most eminent faculties, whose genius, as it grew and unfolded itself in thought, continually struck out truths far in advance of me, but in which I could not, as I had done in those others, detect any mixture of error, the greatest part of my mental growth consisted in the assimilation of those truths, and the most valuable part of my intellectual work was in building the bridges and clearing the paths which connected them with my general system of thought.5
She halted. Bond noticed that the head of the receptionist bent a fraction lower over his visitors' book.
At dinner she maintained her watch, with the same unwinking eyes. After dinner, her son took his turn; and when Mr. Wickfield, himself, and I were left alone together, leered at me, and writhed until I could hardly bear it. In the drawing-room, there was the mother knitting and watching again. All the time that Agnes sang and played, the mother sat at the piano. Once she asked for a particular ballad, which she said her Ury (who was yawning in a great chair) doted on; and at intervals she looked round at him, and reported to Agnes that he was in raptures with the music. But she hardly ever spoke - I question if she ever did - without making some mention of him. It was evident to me that this was the duty assigned to her.
Under the tree was a natural stone basin carved out by centuries of cool, trickling spring water.
"They did, or rather they thought they had. When I left you and went along to my cabin, I reckoned that if anything was going to happen to you they would get rid of me first. So I rigged up a dummy in my bed. A good one. I've done it before, and I've got the trick. You mustn't only have something that looks like a body in the bed. You can do that with pillows and towels and bedding. You must also have something that looks like hair on the pillow. I did that with handfuls of pine needles, just enough to make a dark clump on the pillow with the sheets drawn up to it-very artistic. Then I hung my shirt over the back of a chair beside the bed- another useful prop that conveys the idea that the man belonging to the shirt is inside the bed-and I left the oil-lamp burning low, close to the bed to help their marksmanship-if any. I put amateurish wedges under the door and propped a chair-back under the door handle to show a natural sense of precaution. Then I took my bag round to the back and waited in the trees." James Bond gave a sour laugh. "They gave me an hour and then they came so softly that I didn't hear a thing. Then there was the bang of the door being forced and a series of quick clonks-they were using a silencer-and then the whole interior of the cabin went bright with the thermite. I thought I had been very clever, but it turned out I very nearly wasn't clever enough. It took me almost five minutes to work my way up to your cabin through the trees. I wasn't worried. I thought it would take them all that to get into your cabin and I was ready to break out in the open if I heard your gun. But sometime this evening, probably when Sluggsy was making the cabin inspection you told me about, he had pickaxed a hole in the wall behind your clothes cupboard, leaving only the plaster-board lining to be cut through with a sharp knife. He may or may not have put the stone loosely back. I don't know. Anyway, he didn't need to. There was no occasion for either of us to go into the carport of Number 8, and no reason to. If you had been here alone, they would have seen to it that you kept away from there. Anyway, the first thing I knew was seeing the light of the thermite from your cabin. Then I ran like hell, dodging across the open backs of the carports as I heard them coming back down the line, opening the doors of the cabins and tossing bombs in and then carefully shutting the doors to make it look tidy."
Her dress was of black velvet, simple and yet with the touch of splendour that only half a dozen couturiers in the world can achieve. There was a thin necklace of diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts. She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat object which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist. Her jet black hair hung straight and simple to the final inward curl below the chin.