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Combien est cela? Trois francs. ' To the white-faced man he said: 'Can I interpret for you? Is there any paper you want? ' 'No, nothing, nothing, thank you. ' Mr Opie looked at his watch. ' She had been afraid for several minutes that he would speak, or else the tall thin woman his wife. Silence for the time being she desired more than anything else. If I could have afforded a sleeper, she wondered, would I have been alone? ' The air was full of dust and damp, and the flicker of light outside reminded her for a moment of familiar things: the electric signs flashing and changing over the theatre in Nottingham High Street.

Mr Carleton Myatt will arrive Istanbul 14th. ' In the train, however fast it travelled, the passengers were compulsorily at rest; useless between the walls of glass to feel emotion, useless to try to follow any activity except of the mind; and that activity could be followed without fear of interruption. The world was beating now on Eckman and Stein, telegrams were arriving, men were interrupting the threads of their thought with speech, women were holding dinner-parties. But in the rushing reverberating express, noise was so regular that it was the equivalent of silence, movement was so continuous that after a while the mind accepted it as stillness.

But what rocks? In mid-ocean or near shore? Was he desperate or only resigned to uncomfortable economies? The affair would have been simple if Myatt and Page's agent in Constantinople, the invaluable Mr Eckman, had not been suspected of intricate hidden relations with Stein skirting the outer fringe of the law. He dipped his spoon into the tastless Julienne; he preferred his food rich, highly seasoned, but full of a harsh nourishment. Out in the dark nothing was visible, except for the occasional flash of lights from a small station, the rush of flame in a tunnel, and always the transparent likeness of his own face, his hand floating like a fish through which water and weeds shine.

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