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揭秘:苏联共产党历史上的“告密文化”

类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-09-21 07:55:10

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‘He is doing far too much,’ said Alice excitedly, ‘but he won’t listen. He is so naughty: he promises me he will be good, and not wear himself out, but he goes on just the same as ever, except that he gets worse and worse.’{237}

‘But she won’t talk and cry—and—and not understand?’ asked Alice.She had frozen into the perfect secretary. With incredible speed she had the sheaf of letters before him, and with her writing pad in her hand awaited his dictation. Twice during the next hour she, with downcast eyes, corrected some error of his, once producing an impeccable file to show him{117} that a week before he had demanded a reduction on certain wholesale terms, once to set him right in a date regarding previous correspondence. She had been five minutes late that morning, but she had saved him fifty in future correspondence. She seemed to know her files by heart: it was idle to challenge her for proof when she made a correction.

That required much study. He had never signed himself like that before. She wondered if she could ever venture to call him Mr Cuthbert, and said ‘Mr Cuthbert’ out aloud several times in order to get used to the unfamiliar syllables. ‘Preachment’ too: that was a word he often used; once when he came to see them he entered the room chanting,—It was this undoubtedly which had occurred in the domestic history of Keeling’s house. He had been infatuated with Emmeline’s prettiness at a time when as a young man of sternly moral principles and strong physical needs, the only possible course was to take a wife, while Emmeline, to tell the truth, had no voice in the matter at all. Certainly she had liked him, but of love in any ardent, compelling sense, she had never, in the forty-seven years of her existence, shown the smallest symptom in any direction whatever, and it was not likely that she was going to develop the malady now. She had supposed (and her mother quite certainly had supposed too) that she was going to marry somebody sometime, and when this strong and splendidly handsome young man insisted that she was going to marry him, she had really done little more than conclude that he must be right, especially when her mother agreed with him. Events had proved that as far as her part of the matter was concerned, she had{36} acted extremely wisely, for, since anything which might ever so indulgently be classed under the broad heading of romance, was foreign to her nature, she had secured the highest prize that life conceivably held for her in enjoying years of complete and bovine content. When she wanted a thing very much indeed, such as driving home after church on Sunday morning instead of walking, she generally got it, and probably the acutest of her trials were when John had the measles, or her husband and mother worried each other. But being almost devoid of imagination she had never thought that John was going to die of the measles or that her husband was going to cut off his annual Christmas present to her mother. Things as uncomfortable as that never really came near her; she seemed to be as little liable to either sorrow or joy as if when a baby she had been inoculated with some spiritual serum that rendered her permanently immune. She was fond of her children, her card-bearing crocodile in the hall, her husband, her comfort, and she quite looked forward to being Lady Mayoress next year. There would always be sufficient strawberries and iced coffee at her garden parties; her husband need not be under any apprehension that she would not have proper provision made. Dreadful scenes had occurred this year, when Mrs Alington gave her last garden-party, and two of her guests had been seen almost pulling the last strawberry in half.{37}Mrs Keeling began to fear the worst, and forced a twin tear from her other eye.{51}

Her husband decided that it was her mother she wished to talk about, and interrupted.‘Which are the bluebells?’ he asked.

‘Have you sent for the doctor?’The new wing of the hospital was a subject about which Lord Inverbroom wanted to talk to his guest, and for a little while that engaged them. This open weather had allowed the building to go on apace, and by the end of March the wing should be advanced enough to permit of the opening ceremony. The Board of hospital directors would see to that, and Lord Inverbroom sketched out his idea for the day. The ceremony of the opening he proposed should be in the morning, and for it he hoped to secure the presence of a very distinguished personage. Lunch would follow, and if Mr Keeling approved, he would at the luncheon announce the name of the munificent giver. Then he paused a moment.He paused a moment.

‘And I shall never be asked here again, either,’ he said, ‘if I inflict myself on you so long. Good-night, Mrs Keeling: I have had a dear evening, a dear evening, though I have wasted so much of it in silly chatter. But if ever I am asked again, I will show you I can be serious as well.’The street down which they drove from church very soon ceased to be a street in the sense of its being lined on each side by contiguous houses, and became Alfred Road, and was bounded on each side by brick and stucco villas. At first stood arm-in-arm, semi-detached, but presently they took on an air of greater spaciousness and stood square and singly, while the gardens that sandwiched them before and behind were large enough to contain a grass-plot and six or seven laurels in front, and a full-sized tennis-lawn and a small kitchen garden at the back. But perhaps they scarcely warranted such names as ‘Chatsworth,’ ‘Blenheim,’ ‘Balmoral,’ or ‘The Engadine,’ which appeared so prominently on their painted gates. ‘Blenheim’ had once been Mrs Keeling’s home, and her mother, a tiny, venomous old lady in a Bath-chair, lived and was likely long to live there still, for she had admirable health, and the keen, spiteful temper which gives its possessor so indignant and absorbing an interest in life.

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‘I saw Mrs Fyson this afternoon,’ she said, beginning gently.

He signed the letter to Lord Inverbroom and sent the boy back with it.

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