The Count's unwavering smile did not seem to share Bond's amusement. He said coldly, 'Then please forget my question, Sir Hilary. The intrusion by this man has made me over-suspicious. I value my privacy up here, Sir Hilary. Scientific research can only be pursued in an atmosphere of peace.'
I felt quite uncomfortable - as if Mrs. Micawber supposed I had asked her to do anything of the sort! - and sat looking at her in alarm.
Mr. William Cullen Bryant presided at the meeting; and a number of the first and ablest citizens of New York were present, among them Horace Greeley. Mr. Greeley was pronounced in his appreciation of the address; it was the ablest, the greatest, the wisest speech that had yet been made; it would reassure the conservative Northerner; it was just what was wanted to conciliate the excited Southerner; it was conclusive in its argument, and would assure the overthrow of Douglas. Mr. Horace White has recently written: "I chanced to open the other day his Cooper Institute speech. This is one of the few printed speeches that I did not hear him deliver in person. As I read the concluding pages of that speech, the conflict of opinion that preceded the conflict of arms then sweeping upon the country like an approaching solar eclipse seemed prefigured like a chapter of the Book of Fate. Here again he was the Old Testament prophet, before whom Horace Greeley bowed his head, saying that he had never listened to a greater speech, although he had heard several of Webster's best." Later, Mr. Greeley became the leader of the Republican forces opposed to the nomination of Mr. Seward and was instrumental in concentrating those forces upon Mr. Lincoln. Furthermore, the great New York press on the following morning carried the address to the country, and before Mr. Lincoln left New York he was telegraphed from Connecticut to come and aid in the campaign of the approaching spring election. He went, and when the fateful moment came in the Convention, Connecticut was one of the Eastern States which first broke away from the Seward column and went over to Mr. Lincoln. When Connecticut did this, the die was cast.
Behind the roar and zing of the bullets, Bond heard the Opel race off down the street, and, behind that again, the fragmentary whisper of the orchestra. The combination of the two background noises clicked. Of course! The orchestra, that must have raised an infernal din throughout the offices and corridors of the Haus der Ministerien, was, as on their side the backfiring Opel, designed to provide some cover for the sharp burst of fire from Trigger. Had she carried her weapon to and fro every day in that cello case? Was the whole orchestra composed of KGB women? Had the other instrument cases contained only equipment-the big drum perhaps the searchlight-while the real instruments were available in the concert hall? Too elaborate? Too fantastic? Probably.
And revelry and song profane the night;
Vallance stopped his pacing and faced Bond. "And now we know that this packet is on its way to America, and what happens to it there is anybody's guess. The operators wouldn't try and save money on the cutting-that's where half the price of a diamond goes-so it looks as if the stones get funnelled into some legitimate diamond business and then get cut and marketed like any other stones." Vallance paused. "You won't mind if I give you a bit of advice?"
If there's nothing fresh and exciting for it tofocus on, it becomes distracted and wanders off insearch of something more compelling—deadlines, footballor world peace.