There was a little gasp of envy from the table and the players to the left of Bond exchanged rueful glances at their failure to accept the two million franc bet.
As she was not among people with whom I believed she could be very much at home, I was almost glad to hear that she was going away within a few days, though I was sorry at the prospect of parting from her again so soon. This caused me to remain until all the company were gone. Conversing with her, and hearing her sing, was such a delightful reminder to me of my happy life in the grave old house she had made so beautiful, that I could have remained there half the night; but, having no excuse for staying any longer, when the lights of Mr. Waterbrook's society were all snuffed out, I took my leave very much against my inclination. I felt then, more than ever, that she was my better Angel; and if I thought of her sweet face and placid smile, as though they had shone on me from some removed being, like an Angel, I hope I thought no harm.
It has before now been pointed out that, under certain contingencies, the long interval between the national election and the inaugural of the new President from the first Tuesday in November until the fourth day of March must, in not a few instances, bring inconvenience, disadvantage, and difficulty not only to the new administration but to the nation. These months in which the members of an administration which had practically committed itself to the cause of disintegration, were left in charge of the resources of the nation gave a most serious example and evidence of such disadvantage. This historic instance ought to have been utilised immediately after the War as an influence for bringing about a change in the date for bringing into power the administration that has been chosen in November.
The human race now settled down to a long period of armed peace, in which the Mountain Federation developed its defences, propagated its gospel, and strove to make its own social order a model for the future order of the world. The imperialists meanwhile prepared for the war in which Tibet and its satellites and their dangerous ideas must be extirpated. Peace, however, revived the rivalry of the imperial tyrannies. When a sudden rebellion broke out in the remote British Isles, and was supported by an attack by the Mountain Peoples against Russian forces in Iran, the Chinese government refrained from helping Russia by attacking Tibet from the east. This was a grave error, for Britain gained its independence, and Iran, Iraq, and Turkey joined the Federation. The economic resources of the Federation were still ridiculously small compared with those of the empires, whose sway covered all the rest of the earth save isolated Britain; but the prestige and moral authority of the Federation were ever increasing. The Russian Empire’s territories were now constantly in revolt. Chief offenders were India, so near to Tibet, and America, so remote from Moscow. It was clear to the Chinese rulers that the whole Russian system would soon collapse, if nothing was done to save it; and that its fragments would coalesce with the hated Federation. They therefore determined to seize what they could before it was too late. India was the obvious starting-point. They proposed to police the turbulent subcontinent for the Russian government, and they reinforced the offer with threats. Russia had no choice but to agree. The Chinese imperialists then flooded India with police, commercial agents, and propagandists. Rapidly they gained complete power, so that Russia’s relationship became one of theoretical and impotent suzerainty.
The girl held the receiver away from her face. She stared at it with frenzied eyes as if she could wring more words out of the circle of little holes in the black ear-piece. `Hullo! Hullo!' The empty mouthpiece yawned at her. She realized that her hand and her forearm were aching with the strength of her grip. She bent slowly forward and put the receiver down on the cradle.
5 MAGIC 44
"How much would that be?"
'Papa calls her my confidential friend, but I am sure she is no such thing - is she, Jip? We are not going to confide in any such cross people, Jip and I. We mean to bestow our confidence where we like, and to find out our own friends, instead of having them found out for us - don't we, Jip?'