I walked to and fro, tried to read an old gazetteer, listened to the awful noises: looked at faces, scenes, and figures in the fire. At length, the steady ticking of the undisturbed clock on the wall tormented me to that degree that I resolved to go to bed.
Bond said mildly, 'Take it easy, Dikko. What's bitten you? And what does this vulgar-sounding colonial expression mean?'
"Now," the Commissioner spoke weightily. 'The facts as ascertained are as follows. Recently there took place at the Thunderbird Hotel in the Parish of Westmoreland a meeting of what can only be described as foreign gangsters of outstanding notoriety, including representatives of the Soviet secret service, the Mafia, and the Cuban secret police. The objects of this meeting were, inter alia, sabotage of Jamaican installations in the cane industry, stimulation of illicit ganja-growing in the island and purchase of the crop for export, the bribery of a high Jamaican official with the object of installing gangster-run gambling in the island, and sundry other malfeasances deleterious to law and order in Jamaica and to her international standing. Am I correct, Commander?"
Before I tell how it came about that I left this wretched life, I must say a word or two of the friendships which lessened its misfortunes. My earliest friend in life was John Merivale, with whom I had been at school at Sunbury and Harrow, and who was a nephew of my tutor, Harry Drury. Herman Merivale, who afterwards became my friend, was his brother, as is also Charles Merivale, the historian and Dean of Ely. I knew John when I was ten years old, and am happy to be able to say that he is going to dine with me one day this week. I hope I may not injure his character by stating that in those days I lived very much with him. He, too, was impecunious, but he had a home in London, and knew but little of the sort of penury which I endured. For more than fifty years he and I have been close friends. And then there was one W—— A— — whose misfortunes in life will not permit me to give his full name, but whom I dearly loved. He had been at Winchester and at Oxford, and at both places had fallen into trouble. He then became a schoolmaster — or perhaps I had better say usher — and finally he took orders. But he was unfortunate in all things, and died some years ago in poverty. He was most perverse; bashful to very fear of a lady’s dress; unable to restrain himself in anything, but yet with a conscience that was always stinging him; a loving friend, though very quarrelsome; and, perhaps, of all men I have known, the most humorous. And he was entirely unconscious of his own humour. He did not know that he could so handle all matters as to create infinite amusement out of them. Poor W—— A——! To him there came no happy turning-point at which life loomed seriously on him, and then became prosperous.
A little before the date of my resignation, Mr. James Virtue, the printer and publisher, had asked me to edit a new magazine for him, and had offered me a salary of ￡1000 a year for the work over and above what might be due to me for my own contributions. I had known something of magazines, and did not believe that they were generally very lucrative. They were, I thought, useful to some publishers as bringing grist to the mill; but as Mr. Virtue’s business was chiefly that of a printer, in which he was very successful, this consideration could hardly have had much weight with him. I very strongly advised him to abandon the project, pointing out to him that a large expenditure would be necessary to carry on the magazine In accordance with my views — that I could not be concerned in it on any other understanding, and that the chances of an adequate return to him of his money were very small. He came down to Waltham, listened to my arguments with great patience, and the told me that if I would not do the work he would find some other editor.
When 鈥渟ust鈥漑91] pankah-wala won鈥檛 pull at the cane;
'The baby,' said my aunt. 'How is she?'
'Ooh! You are a one! But of course I promise. But do you think there's any hope - about the Windsors, I mean?' Now she put her arms round his neck, round the witchdoctor's neck, and the big blue orbs gazed appealingly into his.