“I’ve read Homer Lea,” said Warren, looking at his watch. “He’s a screwball, but pretty interesting — well, our friend Vic’s due for a bottle, but it’s a cinch Jan’s not going to abandon the governor.”
The President pressed a buzzer. A grizzled tall Negro in a gray gabardine jacket appeared and deftly gathered papers and folders out of various trays, while Roosevelt pulled wrinkled papers from one pocket and another, made quick penciled notes, jabbed papers on a spike and threw others in a tray. “Let’s go,” he said to the valet. “Come along, Pug.”
They talked out in the street, well away from the food queue. The raggedly dressed people in line stared at them and tried to hear the conversation, even cupping hands to ears. “I must report this to the central committee,” Berel said. “It may be good news. Who knows? Suppose the two robbers cut each other’s throats? Such things have happened. The Russians could be messengers of God.”
I received your letter and it threw me. I guess I gave you the wrong impression about this girl Natalie Jastrow. It’s fun to work with her, but she’s older than I am, and she was a junior Phi Bete at Radcliffe. Her best boyfriend is a Rhodes Scholar. I’m not in that league. However, I appreciate your good advice. She is really excellent company, and talking to her improves my mind. That should please you.
Stöller said, “Your President doesn’t try to hide his British sympathies, Victor, does he? Quite natural, in view of his Anglo-Dutch ancestry. But wouldn’t you say the people are against him, or at least sharply split?”
Next morning, boats from all over the sparkling bay came clustering to the Prince of Wales for church services. On the surrounding hills, in sunlight that seemed almost blinding after days of gray mist, the forests of larch and fir glowed a rich green.
“Of course. There are two reasons for that. Socialism triumphed first in a feudal country,” Bozey said, reappearing with the stew, “and had a big industrial gap to close. Also, because of the imperialist threat, socialism had to divert a lot of production to arms. When socialism triumphs everywhere, arms will become useless, and they’ll all be thrown in the sea.”
The crude jibe caused a silence. Fearing was an ugly fellow, tall, long-faced, curly-headed, with a narrow foxy nose upright idealistic, full of rigid liberal ideas, and severe on injustice and political hypocrisy. But he had his human side. He had seduced the wife of his collaborator on a best seller about the Spanish Civil War. This lady he had recently parked in England with an infant daughter, and he was now — so the talk ran — making passes at every available German woman, and even some American wives. Rhoda had once half-seriously told Pug that she had had trouble with Freddy on the dance floor. All the same, Fred Fearing was a famous, able reporter. Because he detested the Nazis, he tried hard to be fair to them, and the propaganda ministry understood this. Most Americans got their picture of Nazi Germany at war from Fearing’s broadcasts.
“O)h, I guess nobody can experience such joy without paying. That’s all. If you must know, I’ve been in a black hole all afternoon. It started when we didn’t get our passports back, and those Germans were standing there in the lobby. I got this horrible sinking feeling. All the time we were sightseeing, I was having panicky fantasies. The hotel would keep stalling about my passport, and you’d sail away in the submarine, and here I’d be, just one more Jew stuck in Lisbon without papers.”
Those were the last words spoken in the car until it drew up at Washington Place. Madeline opened the door. “I’m sorry, Briny. That was nasty. But didn’t you deserve it, accusing me of God knows what! I have nothing against Natalie. I like her.”
Pamela looked at the dead spotter lying on the bricks in snow and blood, and then at the tin dome, and out at the tank fight, and the black V gouged in the landscape. “It seems I’ve been up here for a week. I can’t get down the ladder with the cat. We mustn’t leave it here.”
“Sure he’s boss man, and sure he’s got a great record, and sure I’m in hack, but hell will freeze over before he gets another sketch of that air compressor. When I found out that Natalie had gone back to Italy to have her baby, I put in a request for transfer to the Atlantic. Our subs operate in and out of the Med and I might have a chance to see her, and maybe even to get her out. I told him all this. He lectured me about subordinating my personal life to the Navy! Well, I said I was putting the request in anyhow. He forwarded it — he had to forward it — ‘ not recommending approval .’”
Byron wished his temples would stop throbbing. It was hard to think, especially in German, and his vision was blurry, too. “May I ask who you are, and by what right you take my passport, and by what right this soldier tried to take our car?”
“It’s ridiculous to think that Poland attacked Germany,” Bozey said calmly, “but it’s highly likely that Finland attacked the Soviet Union. It was probably a provocation engineered by others to embroil socialism in the imperialist war.”