The girl put her knuckles up to her open mouth and bit on them, staring at the telephone. What did they want her for? What had she done? Desperately she cast her mind back, scrabbling through the days, the months, the years. Had she made some terrible mistake in her work and they had just discovered it? Had she made some remark against the State, some joke that had been reported back? That was always possible. But which remark? When? If it had been a bad remark, she would have felt a twinge of guilt or fear at the time. Her conscience was clear. Or was it? Suddenly she remembered. What about the spoon she had stolen? Was it that? Government property! She would throw it out of the window, now, far to one side or the other. But no, it couldn't be that. That was too small. She shrugged her shoulders resignedly and her hand dropped to her side. She got up and moved towards the clothes cupboard to get out her best uniform, and her eyes were misty with the tears of fright and bewilderment of a child. It could be none of those things. SMERSH didn't send for one for that sort of thing. It must be something much, much worse.
There came a time when the Reich was seriously divided over the question of succession to the semi-divine post of Fuhrer. (The original Fuhrer, of course, was by now a mythical figure in the past, and the empire was sprinkled with gigantic monuments to his memory.) Suddenly the Norwegians, seizing the opportunity afforded by dissension in the German aristocracy, set in action a long-prepared system of conspiracy. They seized the tidal generators and military centres, and declared Norway’s independence. They also issued a call to all freedom-loving peoples to rise against their tyrants. The Norwegians themselves were in a very strong position. Not only did they control the Reich’s main source of power, but also a large part of the mercantile marine and Imperial Navy. The huge sea-plane force was also mainly on their side. Though at first the rebellion seemed a forlorn hope, it soon spread to Britain and Northern France. Insurrection then broke out in Switzerland, Austria, and southern Germany. The decisive factors were the revived passion for freedom and for human kindness, and also the new, extremely efficient and marvellously light accumulator, which enabled not only ships but planes to be driven electrically. The new accumulator had been secretly invented in Norway and secretly manufactured in large quantities in Spitsbergen. Even before the insurrection many ships and planes had been secretly fitted with it. After the outbreak of war a great fleet of electric planes, far more agile than the old petrol planes, soon broke the nerve of the imperial force. Within a few weeks the rebels were completely victorious.
Kerim sat back. The tension went out of his voice. He barked out a harsh laugh. `But we are not old women. And this is our work. So let us forget my nose and get on with the job. First of all, is there anything I can tell you that you do not know? The girl has made no sign of life since my signal and I have no other information. But perhaps you would like to ask me some questions about the meeting.'
Horatia. O, what a relief! he’s gone! I should never survive another day of such excitement. If they once suppose that their object is gained and the Prince caught, the sentinels will be removed from the garden, and he can escape through the window. If the deception can be carried on for one half-hour he may be saved. I must go and put my sisters on their guard, and prepare the Prince for flight. If Aunt Judith or Weasel see and recognise Daresby all is lost. I wish I could lock them both up. What a labyrinth I am in! The greatest comfort is that the Colonel is a blockhead, and would not know a prince from a pancake! [Exit.]
'Now, my dear Dora, you must know that I never said that!'
Edwin Newman, "publishers come to you and ask you to write books.