To Mr Balterghen’s secretary, his master’s office was an evergreen source of wonder. Blundell had been taken into Pan-Eurasian under Mr Balterghen’s ‘Recruiting-from-the-Universities’ plan and was one of the few bewildered survivors of the ‘Experience-not-Education’ purge.
‘Balterghen’s room,’ he had once told his wife, ‘is more like a harlot’s parlour than an office. He’s got red Turkey carpet and stippled green walls, a Second Empire desk and a Chinese lacquer cabinet, a neo-Byzantine book-case and six baroque chairs plus a Drage-Aztec cocktail cabinet that flies apart and exposes all the bottles and things inside when you press the button. Even if you didn’t know from experience what a complete wart the man is, that room would tell you.
Get well, Joan Rivers.
Happy 17th birthday, Jane
Text: Eric Ambler, Uncommon Danger, 1937