A dead man is the worst enemy alive, I thought. You can't alter his power over you. You can't alter what you love or owe. And it's too late to ask him for his absolution. He has beaten you all ways.
It is said that men condemned to death are subject to sudden moments of elation; as if, like moths in the fire, their destruction were coincidental with attainment.
By what route the infant Hansen found his way to the Jesuits, the file did not relate. Perhaps the mother converted. Those were dark years still, and if expediency required it, she may have swallowed her Protestant convictions to buy the boy a decent education. Give the Jesuits his soul, she may have reasoned, and they will give him a brain. Or perhaps she sensed in her son from early on the mercurial nature that later ruled his life, and she determined to subordinate him to a stronger religious discipline than was offered by the easy-going Protestants. If so, she was wise.
I would say that since the war, our methods-out and those of the opposition-have become much the same. I mean you can't be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government's 'policy' is benevolent, can you now?
Tyranny is like the electric wiring in an old house. A tyrant dies, the new tyrant takes possession, and all he has to do is drop the switch.
It is only when he speaks German, as now, that he allows himself to lament the enslavement of the world's downtrodden classes. We cannot live in a bubble, Mr. Mundy. Comfortable ignorance is not a solution. In German student societies that I was not permitted to join, they made a toast: 'Better to be a salamander, and live in the fire.
His intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect. (About Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Tessa distinguished absolutely between pain observed and pain shared. Pain observed is journalistic pain. It’s diplomatic pain. It’s television pain, over as soon as you switch off your beastly set. Those who watch suffering and do nothing about it, in her book, were little better than those who inflicted it. They were the bad Samaritans.
Our power knows no limits, yet we cannot find food for a starving child, or a home for a refugee. Our knowledge is without measure and we build the weapons that will destroy us. We live on the edge of ourselves, terrified of the darkness within. We have harmed, corrupted and ruined, we have made mistakes and deceived.
Some people are agents from birth, Monsignors -- he told them -- appointed to the work by the period of history, the place, and their own natural dispositions. In their cases, it was simply a question of who got to them first, Your Eminences: 'Whether it's us, whether it's the opposition, or whether it's the bloody missionaries.
She's become a Russian again, he thought. When something works, she's grateful. When it doesn't work, it's life.
Put it this way, George,” he suggested, when he had savoured the night air for a moment. “You traveling on business, or for pleasure in this thing? Which is it?Smiley’s reply was also slow in coming, and as indirect: “I was never conscious of pleasure,” he said. “Or perhaps I mean: of the distinction.
I have a theory which I suspect is rather immoral,' Smiley went on, more lightly. 'Each of us has only a quantum of compassion. That if we lavish our concern on every stray cat, we never get to the centre of things.
We have to live without sympathy, don't we? That's impossible of course. We act it to one another, all this hardness; but we aren't like that really, I mean...one can't be out in the cold all the time; one has to come in from the cold...d'you see what I mean?
If there's no sea-gull there's no meeting, Wicklow had said. No sea-gull means abort. That's my epitaph, thought Barley. 'There was no sea-gull, so he aborted.
... in moments of crisis our thoughts do not run consecutively but rather sweep over us in waves or intuition and experience ...
I once heard someone say morality was method. Do you hold with that? I suppose you wouldn't. You would say that morality was vested in the aim, I expect. Difficult to know what one's aims are, that's the trouble, specially if you're British.
There was nothing dishonourable in not being blown about by every little modern wind. Better to have worth, to entrench, to be an oak of one's own generation.
He knew how intelligent men could be broken by the stupidity of their superiors, how weeks of patient work night and day could be cast aside by such a man
He had the nerve not to drink in a University where you proved your manhood by being drunk most of your first year.
Haydon had found his charm again. He could do that at the drop of a hat. He drew you and he repelled you. I remember that exactly. He danced all ways for you, playing your emotions against each other because he had none of his own.
A lot of people see doubt as legitimate philosophical posture. They think of themselves in the middle, whereas of course really, they're nowhere.
There comes a moment for all of us when our childhood ceases to be an excuse. In your case, I would say that, as with many English, the moment is somewhat delayed.
A man who lives a part, not to others but alone, is exposed to obvious psychological dangers. In itself the practice of deception is not particularly exacting. It is a matter of experience, a professional expertise. It is a facility most of us can acquire. But while a confidence trickster, a play actor or a gambler can return from his performance to the ranks of his admirers, the secret agent enjoys no such relief. For him, deception is first a matter of self defense. He must protect himself not only from without, but from within, and against the most natural of impulses. Though he earn a fortune, his role may forbid him the purchase of a razor. Though he be erudite, it can befall him to mumble nothing but banalities. Though he be an affectionate husband and father, he must within all circumstances without himself from those with whom he should naturally confide. Aware of the overwhelming temptations which assail a man permanently isolated in his deceit, Limas resorted to the course which armed him best. Even when he was alone, he compelled himself to live with the personality he had assumed. It is said that Balzac on his deathbed inquired anxiously after the health and prosperity of characters he had created. Similarly, Limas, without relinquishing the power of invention, identified himself with what he had invented. The qualities he had exhibited to Fiedler: the restless uncertainty, the protective arrogance concealing shame were not approximations, but extensions of qualities he actually possessed. Hence, also, the slight dragging of the feet, the aspect of personal neglect, the indifference to food, and an increasing reliance on alcohol and tobacco. When alone, he remained faithful to these habits. He would even exaggerate them a little, mumbling to himself about the iniquities of his service. Only very rarely, as now, going to bed that evening, did he allow himself the dangerous luxury of admitting the great lie that he lived.
Middle children weep longer than their brothers and sisters. Over her mother’s shoulder, stilling her pains and her injured pride, Jackie Lacon watched the party leave. First, two men she had not seen before: one tall, one short and dark. They drove off in a small green van. No one waved to them, she noticed, or even said goodbye. Next, her father left in his own car; lastly a blond, good-looking man and a short fat one in an enormous overcoat like a pony blanket made their way to a sports car parked under the beech trees. For a moment she really thought there must be something wrong with the fat one, he followed so slowly and so painfully. Then, seeing the handsome man hold the car door for him, he seemed to wake, and hurried forward with a lumpy skip. Unaccountably, this gesture upset her afresh. A storm of sorrow seized her and her mother could not console her.
Afterwards Smiley always thought of that interview as a fan dance; a calculated progression of disclosures, each revealing different parts of a mysterious entity. Finally Steed-Asprey, who seemed to be Chairman, removed the last veil, and the truth stood before him in all its dazzling nakedness. He was being offered a post in what, for want of a better name, Steed-Asprey blushingly described as the Secret Service.
When a problem threatens to engulf you, there's nothing like irrelevant detail to keep your head above water.