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Here ,s the first thing you need to know about spy school It sucks. Murray Hill, the kid who,d rescued me from Chip, crammed another forkful of spaghetti into his mouth. We were in the mess hall, which everyone simply called the mess, eating dinner. Most of the rest of the student body—three hundred students ranging in age from twelve to eighteen were gathered in clumps around us. Though no one else had bothered to introduce themselves, everyone was obviously aware of my presence. Every time I glanced toward one of the clumps, I,d catch someone quickly averting their eyes from me..


  • The American handed Leamas another cup of coffee and said, Why don,t you go back and sleep? We can ring you if he shows up. Leamas said nothing, just stared through the window of the checkpoint, along the empty street. You can,t wait for ever, sir. Maybe he,ll come some other time. We can have the polizei contact the Agency: you can be back here in twenty minutes No, said Leamas, it,s nearly dark now. But you can,t wait for ever he,s nine hours over schedule. If you want to go, go. You,ve been very good, Leamas added. I,ll tell Kramer you ,ve been damn good. But how long will you wait? Until he comes. Leamas walked to the observation window and stood between the two motionless policemen. Their binoculars were trained on the Eastern checkpoint.

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  • He watched the Tempelhof runway sink beneath him. Leamas was not a reflective man and not a particularly philosophical one. He knew he was written off—it was a fact of life which he would henceforth live with, as a man must live with cancer or imprisonment. He knew there was no kind of preparation which could have bridged the gap between then and now. He met failure as one day he would probably meet death, with cynical resentment and the courage of a solitary. He’d lasted longer than most; now he was beaten. It is said a dog lives as long as its teeth; metaphorically, Leamas’ teeth had been drawn: and it was Mundt who had drawn them.

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    It surprised no one very much when they put Leamas on the shelf. In the main, they said, Berlin had been a failure for years, and someone had to take the rap. Besides, he was old for operational work, where your reflexes often had to be as quick as those of a professional tennis player. Leamas had done good work in the war, everyone knew that. In Norway and Holland he had somehow remained demonstrably alive, and at the end of it they gave him a medal and let him go. Later, of course, they got him to come back. It was bad luck about his pension, decidedly bad luck. Accounts Section had let it out, in the person of Elsie. Elsie said in the canteen that poor Alec Leamas would only have £400 a year to live on because of his interrupted service. Elsie felt it was a rule they really ought to change; after all, Mr Leamas had done the service, hadn’t he? But there they were with Treasury on their backs, not a bit like the old days, and what could they do? Even in the bad days of Maston they’d managed things better.

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