Saturday, November 5, 2011

V For ______ (The Island Of Sheep 2)

        “Then I thought I’d better make his acquaintance.  You know Charles Lamancha’s taste for freak parties?  Well, I got him to give a dinner at the club  -- himself, Christopher Stannix, an Under-Secretary, a couple of bankers, and Ned Leithen, and I had myself placed next to Barralty.  Of course by this time he knew all about me, for the Laverlaw party had begun, and his friends had discovered the way we have tied up Harraldsen’s fortune, so naturally I was considered the villain of the piece.  He made no mistakes that night.  He was very polite to me, and talked intelligently about my Far East Commission and foreign affairs generally, and even condescended to be enthusiastic about this Border country in which he said he often motored. He did not attempt to pump me, but behaved as if I were an ordinary guest of whom he had heard and whom he was quite glad to meet.  There was some pretty good talk, for Stannix always manages to put life into a dinner table, and Barralty kept his end up.  He had a wrangle with one of the bankers over some financial point, and I thought he put his case uncommonly well.   So did the others, for he was listened to with respect.  There’s no doubt that he has a pretty solid footing in the world, and there’s no mistake about his brains.  He’s as quick as lightning on a point, and I can see him spinning an immense web and keeping an eye on every thread in it. 


  “I told you that several weeks ago,” said Lombard.  “Barralty is as clever as the devil.  But what about the rest of him – besides his mind?”

          “I’m coming to that.”

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