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untolive turned and made some muttered apologies to the little group of pashas who 鏉窞鎸夋懇鏈嶅姟鍝噷濂?stood about the telephone in that dreary outhouse. Immediately they spread self-deprecating hands like a flock of doves taking flight. There was no inconvenience. An Ambassador was expected to be entrained in great events. They could wait. 鈥楾elford鈥?said Mountolive, sharply and angrily. 鈥榊es, sir.鈥?鈥楾ell me what else you know.鈥?

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Telford cleared his throat and went on in his slushy voice: 鈥榃ell, there isn鈥檛 anything of exceptional importance from my point of view. The last person to see him alive was that man Darley, the schoolteacher. You probably don鈥檛 know 鏉窞娌瑰帇鍝濂?him, sir. Well, he met him on the way back to the hotel. He invited Darley in for a drink and they stayed talking for some considerable time and drinking gin. In the hotel. The deceased said nothing of any special interest 鈥?and certainly nothing to suggest that he was 鏉窞涓嶆瑙勫吇鐢熸寜鎽╂帹鑽?planning to take his own life. On the contrary, he said he was going to take the night train to Gaza for a holiday. He showed Darley the proofs of his latest novel, all wrapped up and addressed, and a mackintosh full of things he might need for the journey 鈥?pyjamas, toothpaste. What made him change his mind? I don鈥檛 know, sir, but the answer may be in your safe. That is why I rang you.鈥?鈥業 see鈥?said Mountolive. It was strange, but already he was beginning to get used to the idea of Pursewarden鈥檚 disappearance from the scene. The shock was abating, diminishing: 鏉窞妗戞嬁楠岃瘉 only the mystery remained. Telford still spluttered on the line. 鈥榊es鈥?he said, recovering mastery of himself. 鈥榊es.鈥?It was only a matter of moments before Mountolive recovered his demure official pose and reoriented himself to take a benign interest in the mills and their thumping machinery. He worked hard not to seem too 鏉窞鍝佽尪璁哄潧 abstracted and to seem suitably impressed by what was shown to him. He tried too to analyse the absurdity of his anger against Pursewarden having committed an act which seemed 鈥?a gross solecism! How absurd. Yet, as an act, it was somehow typical because so inconsiderate: perhaps he should have anticipated it? Profound depression alternated with his feelings of anger. He motored back in haste, full of an urgent expectancy, an unease. It was almost as if he were going to take Pursewarden to task, demand 鏉窞浣欐澀鍖烘寜鎽╂湇鍔?an explanation of him, administer a well-earned reproof. He arrived to find that the Chancery was just closing, though the industrious Errol was still busy upon State papers in his office. Everyone down to the cipher clerks seemed to be afflicted by the air of gravid depression which sudden death always confers upon the uncomfortably

鏉窞娲楁荡涓績鍏ㄥ缁忓巻

living. He deliberately forced himself to walk slowly, talk slowly, not to hurry. Haste, like emotion, was always deplorable because it suggested that impulse or feeling was master where only reason should rule. His secretary had already left but he obtained the keys to his safe from Archives and sedately walked up the two short flights to his office. Heartbeats are mercifully inaudible to anyone but oneself. The dead