"What's so funny about it?"
“What do you hesitate about, Sir?” said the stranger.
In these circumstances the function of the technicians, the unacknowledged but effective rulers of the planet, was radically altered. From being primarily inventors of new processes and new adjustments they became simply orthodox vehicles of the sacred lore. Intelligence, therefore, even bound intelligence, came to have an increasingly restricted function. Before the onset of decline, planning had been becoming more and more comprehensive and far-seeing. Men had planned for centuries ahead and for great societies, even tentatively for the future of the species. But after the world empire had become firmly established and stereotyped, large planning was no longer necessary. Only in the ordering of individual lives was there any scope for intelligence. Even here, as individual lives became more and more dominated by the regularities imposed by the state, the office of intelligence became more restricted. Whenever any daring spirit did try to improve upon the orthodox procedure, his intelligence proved feeble and his action misguided. His failure merely strengthened the general distrust of innovation.
Bond looked up at him. "Ever seen this girl before?"
Mary Parnell was not to know that such a transaction was impossible under the currency laws. She knelt down and ran her hands lovingly over the gleaming bars. Then she got up and threw her arms around Major Smythe's neck and kissed him. "You're a wonderful, wonderful man," she said, almost in tears. "Frightfully clever and handsome and brave, and now I find out that you're rich as well. I'm the luckiest girl in the world."