Sunday, May 26, 2013

Opening paragraphs...........................

The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn't dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood's at all.  He came in mid-term without an interview - late May, it was, though no one would have thought it from the weather - employed through one of the shiftier agencies specialising in supply teachers for prep schools, to hold down old Dover's teaching til someone suitable could be found.  "A linguist," Thursgood told the common-room, "a temporary measure," and brushed away his forelock in self-defence.  "Priddo."  He gave the spelling, "P-r-i-d" - French was not Thursgood's subject so he consulted the slip of paper - "e-a-u-x, first name James.  I think he'll do us very well till July."  The staff had no difficulty reading the signals.  Jim Prideaux was a poor white of the teaching community.  He belonged to the same sad bunch as the late Mrs. Loveday, who had a Persian-lamb coat and stood in for junior divinity until her cheques bounced, or the lat Mr. Maltby, the pianist who had been called from choir practice to help the police with their enquiries, and as far as anyone knew was helping them to this day, for Maltby's trunk still lay in the cellar awaiting instructions.  Several of the staff, but chiefly Marjoribanks, were in favor of opening that trunk.  They said it contained notorious missing treasures:  Aprahamian's silver-framed picture of his Lebanese mother, for instance;  Best-Ingram's Swiss army penknife and Matron's watch.   But Thursgood set his crease-less face resolutely against their entreaties.  Only five years had passed since he had inherited the school from his father, but they had taught him already that some things are best locked away. 
-John le Carre, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

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