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CHAPTER 1 - THE SECRET AGENT

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When this was done, and the new furniture had got into its place, and my little book-room was settled sufficiently for work, I began a novel, to the writing of which I was instigated by what I conceived to be the commercial profligacy of the age. Whether the world does or does not become more wicked as years go on, is a question which probably has disturbed the minds of thinkers since the world began to think. That men have become less cruel, less violent, less selfish, less brutal, there can be no doubt — but have they become less honest? If so, can a world, retrograding from day to day in honesty, be considered to be in a state of progress? We know the opinion on this subject of our philosopher Mr. Carlyle. If he be right, we are all going straight away to darkness and the dogs. But then we do not put very much faith in Mr. Carlyle — nor in Mr. Ruskin and his other followers. The loudness and extravagance of their lamentations, the wailing and gnashing of teeth which comes from them, over a world which is supposed to have gone altogether shoddy-wards, are so contrary to the convictions of men who cannot but see how comfort has been increased, how health has been improved, and education extended — that the general effect of their teaching is the opposite of what they have intended. It is regarded simply as Carlylism to say that the English-speaking world is growing worse from day to day. And it is Carlylism to opine that the general grand result of increased intelligence is a tendency to deterioration.

During the first phase of the resistance against Japan, during the emergence of the new national consciousness which was also a new consciousness of mankind, the whole resources of the state and the whole energy of the people were concentrated on defence. Arms had to be bought or made, armies raised. And the new soldiers had to be politically trained so that each of them should be not merely an efficient fighter but also a radiating centre of the new ideas. Education, military and civilian, was one of the state’s main cares. Under the influence of a number of brilliant minds there appeared the outline of the old new culture. Based on the ethics of the ancient China, but influenced also by Christianity, by European democracy, by European science, by Russian communism, it was at the same time novel through and through.The End M said sourly, 'Well, so far as I'm concerned, I don't care if I never eat another turkey again. However, I see you've had quite a problem on your hands. But to get back to our case. Where do we go from turkeys?' And in each Art, each Artist does abound; 'So long as that?' I said.

The croupier was tidying up the pile of notes. The chef de partie bowed smilingly towards Bond. Directly the stake was in order he would announce: 'Le jeux est fait.' and the gun would fire whether the gunman had reached ten or not.

Chapter 6 Commencement of the Most Valuable Friendship of My

‘I sometimes think that consoling is one of the most delightful employments given to God’s servants. It is pleasanter than teaching; far far more so than reproving others, or struggling against evil, or examining our own hearts. You were a comfort to poor dear ——, and I dare say that the sense of being so lightened your own trial of parting. I would give a great deal to have your influence with ——; but the Almighty has not been pleased to grant me this. Perhaps He will some day.’

His account of himself was so far attended with an agreeable result, that it led to his withdrawing his hand in order that he might have another hug of himself under the chin. Once apart from him, I was determined to keep apart; and we walked back, side by side, saying very little more by the way. Whether his spirits were elevated by the communication I had made to him, or by his having indulged in this retrospect, I don't know; but they were raised by some influence. He talked more at dinner than was usual with him; asked his mother (off duty, from the moment of our re-entering the house) whether he was not growing too old for a bachelor; and once looked at Agnes so, that I would have given all I had, for leave to knock him down.