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THE HIGH COMMISSIONER          

By JON CLEARY              

Opening instalment of a dramatic new three-part serial

Malone could not understand why Madame Cholon was curious to know if he was on John Quentin's staff

THE Premier said, "We want you to  

go to London and arrest the High

Commissioner for murder."

He sat back. He was 70 years old and 50 years of his hectic brawling life had been spent in politics. He knew and

relished the value of shock.

He looked at Scobie Malone, then at Police Commissioner Leeds, his hooded eyes glistening malicious humor. He looked back at Malone and sud- denly asked, "What do you vote, Ser- geant?"

Malone was still getting over the shock of the Premier's opening remark. After ten years in the force he was not unaccustomed to shocks; but nothing like this had ever been flung at him before. When Flannery had first spoken he had glanced quickly at the old man to see if he was joking; the ugly smile had told him there was no joke. He was still dazed when Flannery spoke to

him.

He tried to collect his thoughts. "It depends, sir. Im not political-minded, sir. I vote by whim, I suppose."

Flannery stared at him, his eyes suddenly dark and glazed: twice he had come close to defeat on the vote of those who voted by whim, the floaters, the I-don't-knows of the opinion polls. Then abruptly he grinned.

"Well, in a way, Sergeant, you're go- ing to London to vote Labor. You want to tell him what's what, Jack?"

Leeds leaned forward in his chair to give him the case facts:

"The Australian High Commissioner in London, as you know, is John Quen- tin. Or rather that's his name now. It was John Corliss. Under that name he lived here in Sydney before the war and worked as an assistant surveyor. He married a German refugee girl named

Freda Wiseman and they lived out in Coogee. He murdered her on December 8, 1941, then disappeared. By the time the murder was discovered the news- papers were full of Pearl Harbor and the story got no play at all. Corliss just went into smoke and we were never

able to trace him. Not until now."

"How did you get on to him, sir? I mean that Quentin and Corliss are

the same man?"

Leeds looked at Flannery. There was an atmosphere between the two older men that had something to do with the room in which tbe three men

sat.

Everything smelled overpoweringly of politics: the room, the atmosphere be- tween the Premier and the Commis- sioner of Police. And yet Leeds had never been a political policeman; for him corruption was a worse crime than murder. Murder, Malone had heard him say to a class of police trainees, was rarely cold-blooded; corruption always was. Malone looked back at Flannery, who considered corruption a necessity of political life.

The old man tapped a folder on his desk. "It's all in here, Sergeant. Docu- mented like a White Paper. It doesn't matter who got us started, the point is their tip was right. It happened six months ago and I've had a man working

on it ever since."

"Someone from headquarters?" Malone looked at Leeds, but it was Flannery who answered.

"Not from Police Headquarters. From Party Headquarters. One of our political research officers. He enjoyed it, said it was a nice change from try- ing to guess voters' intentions."

To page 36

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35

Malone hesitated, still find- ing everything incredible. Then he asked, "Why wasn't it turned over to our Murder Squad when you first got the tip, Mr. Premier?"

Leeds shot Malone a glance that was both a warn- ing and a look of gratitude; he had obviously asked this same question and got no- where. But Flannery had spent most of his life dealing with questions that he didn't feel he had to answer.

"We just wanted to be sure, Sergeant. London is one of the two most important dip- lomatic posts Australia has. You don't accuse our High Commissioner, our country's ambassador there, you don't accuse him of murdering his wife unless you are one hun

dred percent sure of your

facts."

"And this political research officer, he's sure of all his

facts ?"

"Says he'll stake his life

on it."

"Seems to me, sir, he's staking someone else's life on

it."

Flannery looked at Leeds. "I thought you said he was your best man. Jack."

"He's the best man for this job. If Sergeant Malone sounded a litde critical of your research worker, I think it's a natural reaction. When Sergeant Malone has read

that file, I'm sure he'll agree your man has done a good job." Leeds looked at Malone. "I've read it. Every- thing is there for an arrest."

"And a conviction," said Flannery."

"We never look that far," said Leeds, showing his in- dependence. "We'll arrest him on the warrant that's been issued, in the name of Corliss. The rest is up to the

Crown Prosecutor."

"This has to be kept quiet. How can we keep it covered up in your department, Jack ?" Flannery asked.

"He can apply for leave."

Leeds turned to Malone. "Better make it compassion- ate leave, to explain the hurry. Have your grand- mother dying or something."

"I haven't^ used that one since I was a kid at school."

"You'll go the long way round. Fly over to Perth and pick up a plane there for Darwin. In Darwin you can catch the plane for London. If any of the airport report- ers saw you getting on a plane for London, here in Sydney, they'd want to know the ins and outs of it all. But going to Perth - well, that's where your grand- mother is dying."

"But why all the secrecy,

sir?"

Leeds looked at Flannery

again: it's your question, you answer it. Flannery didn't mind in the least: "Because if it's at all possible I'd like Quentin back here in Sydney before his arrest is announced. I want to have the pleasure of ringing up someone and tell- ing him myself. I've waited a long time for this."

Leeds interrupted, a little too sharply, as if he were try- ing to stop the old man from exposing himself any further. "I'll impress on Sergeant Malone that there has to be absolute secrecy. He'll be back here within a week. And he'll have the High Commissioner

with him."

"In a way I feel sorry for Quentin. I met him a couple of times down in Canberra. He's not a bad bloke at all," Flannery said.

Leeds stood up. He reached out for the file, and Flannery, after a moment's hesitation, gave it to him.

"I want it done as quickly and quietly as possible, Jack."

FLANNERY looked

up at Malone. "Quentin may make a fuss. You may have to go to Scotland Yard, get them to bring h'm before an English court and get an extradition order. If that has to happen, get on the phone to the Commis- sioner here right away, be- fore the London newspapers get wind of it. I don't want a certain someone to hear about it before I have the chance of telling him myself."

"I'll watch it, sir." Malone was sickened by the look on the old man's face.

"I just hope you can talk him into coming back without any fuss, any need for extra- dition. If he's got any sense of dignity he'll see it's better for him as High Commissioner to be arrested here in Sydney

rather than in London. We've

got to think of Australia's good name. Don't forget that, Sergeant."

Leeds waved away the car that stood waiting for him. "You mind walking?" he asked Scobie.

"I started on the beat."

"You were practically beg- ging to be put back on the beat, a couple of those ques- tions you put to him."

"I'm not querying your judgment, sir, but do you think I'm the right man for this job?"

Leeds looked at the man beside him. Malone was tall, six feet. His face was too bony to be handsome, but Leeds guessed women would find the eyes attractive: they were dark, almost Latin, and they were friendly. The mouth, too, was friendly. Malone gave the impression of being easy-going, but there was a competence about him that had marked him for pro- motion from his first days in

the force.

"You're the man, all right. What's worrying you ?"

"I don't know, ¿t ^ smells of politics y* never been mixed up ^

sort of thing before." 7 knew of the rivalry ^ tagonism that existed beh.*

State and Federal p>

parties. Another thing ü did the High Coranup get away with this {¿^ long? Is the file 0o J really fair dinkum?"

"I checked it ^ checked it before I

out on a limb. As for (V tin getting away with h | so long. This is a big nm country. Western Auitjjj where he's officially supp,, to come from, I mean Quentin, that's practicj another country in

Perth is two thousand a from Canberra or Sydor

Malone nodded. "y^ behind all this?" he j¡| Leeds. "Why does the St Premier have a murder vestigation conducted by

of his own political haci Why all the secrecy?"

"Pure political malit Leeds repeated. "He's nu forgiven the Prime Mini for crossing the floor bad the 1930s. The PM vt Labor man in those di here in State politics. H was before he moved do to Canberra - went into I Federal ring. There m division in the Home

some Bill and he crossed: floor and voted with ; Opposition. It brought : Government down."

"But how does he get b at the PM?"

"Quentin has been

PM's protege. Some pa think the PM has been gm ing him to take over i day. Quentin had only i in Parliament two yean »1 he was made a junior ni ter. Then when the last ll Commissioner in Los died suddenly, Quentin

sent there. It's a. dipkni post, but it's always fill« a politician. Either ii reward for past services ci a build-up for bigger tte Quentin is obviously o for bigger tilings." Tba corrected himself: "Or w

"So with the Federal t tions coming up in July,' the voting as close as i expect it to be - ai juicy scandal could tip scales, is that the-idea?"

"Elections have been i and lost on less."

They had reached the trance to the shabby

building that was r< Headquarters. As they out of the lift Leeds hu Malone the file. "Read then bring it back jo Keep the carbon of it might need it in London, don't let anyone here w

It's top secret. At leastj

for another week, T* shouldn't be surpruw Flannery has posters nw it and stuck up all over

ney" .  

Malone took the f« then found an empty r sat down in one °>

To page 37

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 36

>cfileá Sh* Quentin Î^c inba»ador and

ií In confort»1* ctoir.;°

'"mphatically. , .

, íThc man to kill, she Iiid) «is the Australian High

io lomrnissioner.

«it The three men with her hidd nothing. Two of them

/ ad learned not to answer y er till she looked Greedy at

:Sn for comment; the third p allain, was still feeling his

ay with her. She stood up «ai the silk legs of her

r úlored slacks hissing to

ether, she crossed to «Und

the window. She had been England a month now and ,e hated its greyness, it« tf etness, and its cold,

c "This conference is not go s g the way we want it She I nike French, in a high soft i »ice, for the benefit of Pal- ie, in; she knew that he could x^ak Vietnamese, but she p id never heard him speak i lything but French or Eng ,¡ h. "Something has to be

>ne to disrupt it This man uentin is the one who is JW dominating it, so he is e obvious one to be elimin- ad. Do you not agree?"

PALLAIN had

?re French in him than the her two men: his father had en a sergeant from Carcas nne who had died in the W at Dien Bien Phu, leav g behind him a twenty ar-old son whose birth he g retted as much as his own ath. "I don't see the point killing the Australian."

"If he is killed, who is go ; to be accused of it? Not , because no one knows of . But everyone else with an :erest in our country will

suspected. The Americans " ll accuse the Chinese and

:e versa. The same with : South Vietnamese and the et Cong, the Catholics and : Buddhists. Why, even 'lierai de Gaulle might be ipected!" Her smooth toolgirl's face showed a toolghi* spiteful humor.

f And as soon as suspicion

s in, that is the end of the .fulness of the conference. , will be adjourned. The r may stumble on, but ,,:re will be no real gov

jiment in Saigon, just as ^re has not been for the

¡t two years. Anarchy is

climate we want."

Ù ?*. not °e easy," said b|. ¿lain. "I mean, killing the ^t -strahan."

i The other two men nodded. ^ »nong Tho and Pham Chinh stet r% botP «m»" men, and all drench blood in them was

» generations old and poor tage at that. They were

strangers to murder, but (y were strangers to Lon

°" » and the big city made

; tn ill at ease and even a

'e frightened.

1 'J l«ve to gamble," said

¿ame Cholon. «But I do

the odds in this ir e have to be against us." S ,rt!"*ree knew whom ^ m7n8 «ould be against:

H J"" a verr clean record

J -n it comes to astassina

V, 7¡¡2iÍ!í H^e its record g3 J^'^Tne English are > im?**"? dul1 way /A Crt' <3KÜng their newi ^fcrf'tK ^ think the

^Vallain hid hi, smile H^T*a

fl E ^8 afraid

i-HVn - 10011 do y»"

W ed?UCnw ~T er - elim ^plans"' **" ^ -

,ul.

jae

"Naturally," said Madame Cholon, her voice tart with contempt for the dullards she had to employ. In the street below she heard the tinkling of an ice-cream van's bell, and in her homesick ear it sounded like an echo of the temple bells along the Mekong River.

John James Quentin (Cor-

liss):

Born: Tumbarumba, New South Wales, July 15, 1915.

Parents: Peter Corliss and Ida Fahey Corliss died in car accident October 12, 1925. Corliss,, only child, then raised by aunt, Mira Fahey, spinster, who died January 22, 1934.

Corliss moved to Sydney

February, 1934, joined Metro- politan Water, Sewerage, and Drainage Board as trainee

surveyor.

Married Freda Wiseman, previously Weitzmann, August 20, 1936. No children of marriage. Weitzmann had arrived in Australia alone from Vienna January, 1936. No relatives of hers have been traced.

Stabbed corpse of Freda Corliss discovered by neigh- bor December 9, 1941. One wound in right breast, in- flicted by sewing scissors.

Corliss disappeared. Re- appeared as John Quentin May 12, 1942, date of volun- tary enlistment in Royal Australian Navy at Perth, Western Australia.

Married Sheila Redmond, daughter of Leslie Redmond

and Elizabeth Cousins Red- mond, both deceased, Perth, July 10, 1942. No children of marriage . . .

"Would you please fasten your seat belts? We shall be landing at London Air- port-"

Malone closed the file and put it back in his briefcase. It was a comprehensive file, sixty pages tbick, a monu- ment to the diligence of the researcher. On the trip over Malone had read it three times, reading it at night when the passenger beside him had been asleep.

Over the years he had come to appreciate that the less you know about a man, the less you were involved emotionally when it came to bring him in. Now, however, a personality was hidden be- hind the typed facts; and, despite himself, Malone was intrigued by it. And for a policeman that way could lead to headaches.

The flight had been de- layed for hours by storms in Zurich, and now it was late afternoon as he rode in

the airport bus to London. ' He checked in at a hotel in Kensington. The affable Irish porter showed him to his

room.

"Would you be on busi- ness, sir?" he asked.

"No, holiday." Malone took out his notebook and looked at an address. "Is Belgrave Square far from here?"

The porter put down the bags. "Not far, sir." He gave Malone directions on how to get to Belgrave Square and went out of the room, wonder- ing why a man who stayed in a thirty-bob bed-and-break fast room and who gave only a shilling tip should have posh friends in Belgravia.

Malone showered, changed into the light grey suit he had brought as a concession to the English summer, looked at his watch, and de- cided to go and see Quentin at once. He had already made

up his mind that he would confront Quentin with the

1 arrest warrant at his home

' and_ not at his office at Aus

i tralia House. He had never

arrested a public official be » fore and he did not want to

be too public about it. Seven

o'clock. The High Commis- sioner would probably be

home now.

Riding in the taxi toward Belgravia, Malone tried to rehearse what he would say to Quentin. How did you face a man, secure in a new life and a new identity, almost impregnable behind the importance of his office, with a crime that was dis- tant in time and place, ten thousand miles and twenty three years from here and

now?

The taxi pulled in before the big four-storeyed house. He was surprised at its size. But this was diplomatic terri- tory; above almost every en- trance there jutted a white flagpole. The heavily elegant cliff-faces of the houses hid secrets that exercised the British Government; but none of them held such a secret as this house behind him. He turned, hesitated, then pressed the bell firmly.

The door was opened by a butler. When he spoke his voice had a foreign tinge to it, and at once Malone thought he had come to the wrong address.

"Is this the home of the Australian High Commis- sioner ?"

"It is, sir. May we ask whom you wish to see?"

"The High Commissioner. My name is Malone and I have a special message for him from the Premier of New South Wales."

The butler looked sus- piciously at him, then he stood aside, opening the door wider. Malone stepped into an entrance hall and waited while the butler did a slow march toward the rear of the house. Malone shifted his feet nervously in the thick carpet of the hall, feeling awkward. Suddenly he wanted this business of Quentin over and done with quickly. He would come back in his old age and look at London.

The butler came back with a girl.

"I am the High Commis- sioner's secretary," she said, and she, too, had a slight accent. "What was it you

wanted ?"

"I have a personal message from the Premier of New South Wales." He had no such thing; but he had not expected it to be so dif- ficult to get in to see Quen- tin.

"I'm sorry, but the High Commissioner is busy. Could you not come to Australia House tomorrow?"

Malone shook his head, try- ing not to appear too stub-

born. He liked the look of the girl: tall, good-looking, blonde, and with a rare poise about her. "The message is urgent and important."

The girl looked at the butler, and Malone read the message that passed between them. They think I'm some crank! He was appalled at the idea, remembering his own imoatience as a policeman with cranks.

"Just tell the High Com- missioner that I've come from Tumbarumba."

The girl raised an eyebrow, as if recognising for the first

time that Malone was accus- tomed to some authority. Without a word, but with a nod of warning to the bu der, she turned and went back along the hall. Malone and the butler stood watching each other in the huge mirror. Then the girl came back.

"This way. Mr.-" "Malone."

"Mr. Malone. The High Commissioner will see you." Her poise had been cracked a little: there was no mistak- ing the surprise she felt that the ambassador had agreed to see this crank.

She led Malone down the hall, pushed open a door, and

stood aside. "Mr. Malone, sir, from Tumbarumba."

"We are not to be dis- turbed, Lisa," said the man

standing in front of the j marble-fronted fireplace. "By i anyone."

The girl closed the door, i Malone, feeling more 1 awkward than he had ever ' felt in his life before, stood i watching the man across the ' room from him. He was J

taller than Malone had ex- i pected, and slimmer. Hb 1 thick, wavy hair, brushed \ close to his head, and his moustache were grey. The

wide, sensitive mouth looked j as if it knew the exercises of i humor, and the dark blue ' eyes looked as if they, too,

could smile with enjoyment. i But not now: eyes and [

mouth were both stiff with suspicion.

"What is it, Mr. Malone?" Quentin's voice, Malone

guessed, would normally have [ been deep and pleasant. Now it was strained, a little high:

the Australian accent was ' evident, the vowels flat- i tened. "My secretary said you 1 were from Tumbarumba."

"I'm from Sydney, sir. 1 Detective-Sergeant Malone." \ He produced his badge, glad i of the opportunity to do so; ' for the time being there was , no longer any need for i secrecy. "I'm sorry, Mr. ' Quentin, but I have a warrant

for your arrest for the murder i of your wife, Freda."

Quentin, for all the stiff < suspicion in his face, had 1 been standing at ease before the fireplace. Now all at once

he seemed to wilt: years piled ¡ into his face like grey blood and he looked his age and

more.

"Tumbarumba - what a password!"

"I had to try something, \ sir. Your secretary is quite a watch-dog."

"But not quite good j enough. I should have warned i her about policemen. I've 1 often wondered what I would , say to you when you came, i Somehow it was a speech that ' never got written. And I'm , said to be a very good speaker."

"I'd save it for the trial, , sir. I'm supposed to warn I you-" '

"I know, Sergeant. But i anything I may say now won't

help you very much. You , wouldn't be here unless you

had a watertight case. You ;

don't go around arresting ambassadors to keep up your monthly quota, do you?"

He smiled without rancor.

As quickly as he had wilted 1 he was now becoming philo- sophical. His voice had deepened, come under control again; the Australian accent was still there but less evident, the vowels were being given their full value. He moved toward a side table on which stood a decanter and glasses.

"A sherry? Or don't you ' drink on duty?"

"Where I grew up, sir, sherry isn't considered a drink. It's something you flavor jelly or trifle with."

"I admire your sense of occasion. Sherry is for vicars and old ladies." He put down the decanter, pulled a cord hanging beside the fireplace. "I must have grown up in the same sort of circles as you, Sergeant. A pity I ever

left them. I wonder what , Tumbarumba is like now?"

There was a knock at the door and the butler opened it. Quentin ordered scotch, then turned back to Malone as the door closed again. He moved to a high-backed leather armchair and sat down. He gestured at the

room about him, and Malone, ' looking about him for the first time, saw that it was a small

library. On a small desk a ' woman looked with calm eyes from out of a silver frame.

"This is mv retreat. A j diplomat needs somewhere

To page 38

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 37

he can lock himself away for an hour or so every day just so he can be himself. All day and every day, and every night, too, almost, you're being someone else. Mr. Australia, if you like, or what- ever country you represent. You need some time each day just so you can check your own identity, make sure there's some of the original man left." He sighed and looked up at Malone, still stand- ing. "I've spent almost twenty-four years trying to lose the original man. John Corliss, that is. How did you get on to him ?"

Malone told him about the poli- tical research worker. "I don't know who gave them the tip-off.

It could have been someone who recognised you from years ago."

Quentin nodded. "It's been a long wait. Somehow I always knew the day would come. I've changed in appearance. My hair went grey during the war, then afterward I grew this moustache. But you never feel you're really changed, you see yourself from the inside-"

They were interrupted by the return of the butler with the drinks. "Madame asks will you be long, sir?"

"Not long, Joseph." Quentin waited till the butler had gone out of the room. He poured himself and Malone a drink each. "When this matter comes out into the

open, Joseph is the one who'« «

to disapprove of me more ffl anyone else There's no snob^ a butler, and a Hungarian ku?

is the worst of the lot." "

"I wondered about his ac

And your secretary's, too." \yn held up his glass, then lowered* "Sorry. I was going to drink !

your health."

Quentin smiled wryly, '"jv

you. I'm glad they sent a ¿í with some sensitivity." He «2 his own glass and they ¿¡3 silently to each other. 7? Quentin said, "Yes, about my Ü» retary. She's Dutch. A Dutch (L Australian. She was out there L seven or eight years. Joseph'« r». been there and somehow I g^L he's glad of the fact. I inherit) him from my predecessor." } sipped his drink, put down t| class, and looked up at Malo» "I'm just talking, Sergeant. P ting off the evil moment or uga ever it is. What's the next movt'

Malone told him. "We'd like if it can be done as quietly as po sible. I can get an extradit» order from the court here if y(

insist-"

"There won't be any need I that. I'll go quietly, as the sayii

is."

"Could vou be ready to le»

tomorrow?"

ENTIN'S chin à up. "When? Sergeant, don't vi read the newspapers ? I'm in il middle of a conference, an ii portant one-"

"I know, sir. But I'm afraid haven't been given much disci tion in the matter. They want? back in Sydney at once."

"Who does? The police? Or it Flannery ?" Malone hesitat then nodded. Quentin went

"You know why he's doing I don't you?"

"I had it explained to me.''

"Not by him, I'll bet. He'd1 too shrewd to commit himself Lt far in front of a stranger. Youl a stranger to him, aren't you?'

"Very much so."

Quentin looked directly

Malone. "Sergeant, I can't äff« to leave here for at least anotl four or five days. This conferer^ you know what it's about, try to settle a cease-fire in Vie» it's much more important than s or Flannery. Or even my da

first wife."

"I appreciate all that. But ' not my decision-"

"Whose is it?"

"The Commissioner's."

"Get on to him, phone 1"

Tell him I promise to ca quietly but I must stay here this conference is finished.'

"How do you know it will finished in four or five days?

Quentin gestured, a motion I already suggested lack of J hope. "If it isn't - well, <" nam then will have about as nj1 future as I have. We'll both 1« reached the end of our roa"

"Why .is it so important t you stay?"

Quentin was patient. "I ni

tralia's leading representative the conference. In the nor course of events it would be Minister for External Affairs,

he's still in Canberra, ill. No« the Cabinet Ministers kno»

muc h about South-East Asia Jj do - some of them know nott about it. So I was pitched int» job." He looked at Malone. 1 much do you know about " national politics?"

Not muc h." Malone admitj "A policeman's problems are ally too close to home. It.»

to get any sort of perspectiv* find tim» to be interested, Cl

to that."

"That's the way it is with» ninety percent of the *0' population. They read the P* but they don't really care

there are several interest»

don't want a cease-fire m . nam. If this conference <"oU

interrupted, adjourned, , called off altogether. no would please them more.

boasting, Sergeant, but I

I'm the one at this conference

To page 39

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 38

?»that the other delegates are

tüstening to. Everybody at it «aas opinions, but too many ot diem are waiting for some- one else to make the moves j'iiat might bring about peace ¿erms. For better or worse, I ) ook like being the man. By he end of this week I think

can swing them to some sort Ki terms for a cease-fire, one I hat should satisfy both sides, flor the time being, anyway."

There was a knock on the "loor, but he ignored it. v'That's what I want to buy

I rom your Commissioner - gtune time."

, Before Malone could j nswer, the door opened. "I'm

irry, John, but shall I have isa call them and tell them -e can't come?"

The woman who stood in ie doorway was the most aautiful Malone bad ever en: the photograph on the îsk had not done her jus ce. She was not tall, but ie gave the impression of llness; she held herself erect, most with a touch of hil- ariousness. He could only less at her age, but he knew ie must be in her early irties: she had married uentin twenty-three years ;o. Then she smiled at him id the image of imperious .ss and pride was suddenly

>ne.

"I hope you will excuse me J r interrupting-"

"Darling, this is Mr. alone. From Canberra." '[alone looked at Quentin, 1 it the latter had moved

rward to take the woman's

ind. "This is my wife, Mr. r alone." II»

M ALONE put out

. s hand. "Pleased to meet

j.-«, Mrs. Quentin."

j i Sheila Quentin gave him

r hand and smiled again, ind I'm pleased to meet u, Mr. Malone. Are you re to stay in London or ft5t visiting?"

"Just visiting," said alone, and glanced at ' \ientin.

y "He's here till the end of . : conference." Quentin was I u axed, almost casual. "He's

;n sent with some new .vice."

* ""Oh ? Are you an expert

Vietnam, Mr. Malone?" "Not exactly. You might r I'm a legal expert. I c.ow how far you can go in ju'; prevention of certain ri ngs "

5 ? Quentin's Ups twitched, but V didn't smile. "We'll be v 1 Dther ten minutes, darling,

fl more."

L it "Good night, Mr. Malone. a rhaps we'll meet again be J*eie you leave London." She j, t nt out.

I ic The silence lasted for

ki aost a minute after the

L[>r closed. Malone had 1 n the look that had passed j [.ween the Quentins: they « tfre deeply in love with each

e ' er. And he knew from ex

j, ience that a woman in love

% /er saw the merits of

J ^tice.

\\t last Malone said, "Do ?e ^i still want me to phone '? w Commissioner? I mean,

don't want to take you iinni*y from this conference if

feel-"

I ¿uentm looked at his

tch. "It'll be five o'clock

lo J the morning there. Do you

jil . it to phone him at his Dit ''ne?"

>ei 'How soon could I get

trough?"

I can get you a priority." tl*1 «4 alone checked Leeds'

li ne phone number from his ,aC,hfebook and gave it to

,lv3'entin. The latter picked 1¡ the phone and dialled. e.|: Hs is the Australian High rer mmssion at-" He gave ^ own number. "I want a

,th -Pnonty person-to-person

'"[*. to Mr. John Leeds at-"

read from the notebook

|hl lone held out to him. "Will

ring me back, confirm

ing and telling me how long

it will be?"

He hung up and Malone said, "If the Commissioner OKs this, you know I can't let you out of my sight for those four or five days. Tech- nically you're already under

arrest."

"You won't trust me?"

"Don't put it like that, Mr. Quentin." He was coming to like this man more than he should.

The phone rang and Quentin picked it up. After a few words he looked at Malone. "The call will be through in twenty minutes. I have to get dressed now. There's a reception at one of the African embassies. Do you want to come with me?"

"Am I dressed for it?"

Quentin looked at the pale grey suit, the blue nylon shirt,

and the tie that looked like an aunt's present. "At the risk of offending you, Sergeant, I don't think you're dressed for anything in London. Where do you buy your clothes back

home ?"

"The first shop I come to. I've never been much of a

dresser." |

"I admire your modesty, but you certainly speak the truth. Have you ever worn tails?" Malone shook his head. "You're going to to- night. We're about the same size, you can wear my spare set. What size shoes do you take?"

"Eight and a half. I haven't got policeman's feet."

"The same size as mine. You can step into my shoes to- night, Sergeant, have a look at my world. You might understand why I'm going to be reluctant to leave it. It has its drawbacks, but I enjoy it."

"I don't want to crowd

you, sir - I'll wait outside

"If I'm to keep you here in London longer than you expected, I'll see you get more out of it than waiting around in doorways."

"What will your wife say? I mean about lending me your clothes? Won't she ask some awkward questions?"

"She never asks too many questions. A diplomat's wife learns not to." Then he sighed. "There'll be enough questions after I've told her who you really are."

"Diplomatic receptions are very much like women's tea parties, only a little more elegant and epigrammatic." Lisa Pre to nous stood beside him, her tanned shoulders and arms offset by the pale pink of her gown. A South African second secretary went by, all teeth and wink, and she gave him a cool smile that was both an acknowledgement and a rebuff. "Don't you go to

them in Canberra?"

Malone shook his head. "I'm known back home for my undiplomatic behaviour, so I'm never invited."

"They should invite you. You look quite decorative in tails." She looked him up and down. "I'm quite proud to have you as my escort. When Mr. Quentin suggested it-"

"You thought I'd be wear- ing my own suit?" She nodded, and now it was his turn to look her up and down. "Don't you diplomatic types ever blush? You've just

insulted me -"

"I'm not a diplomatic type. I'm just a private secre- tary. But one learns the tricks. Any diplomat who blushed would be out of a

job at once," she said smiling, ¡j

"You could be a little more diplomatic in telling me I've got no taste."

"Mr. Malone, I was born in Holland and I've spent seven years in Australia - my formative years, if you like to call them that. What sort of training is that for subtlety?" Suddenly he laughed and she smiled in return. "That grey suit of yours is pretty awful, you know. I think you should understand why I was so

suspicious of you, why I i didn't want you to see the

High Commissioner." i

"What's he like to work for?"

"The best boss I've ever had. I hope Mr. Quentin re- mains High Commissioner for years."

Across the room Malone saw Quentin and his wife moving slowly from group to group, from Africa to Asia to

the Americas: everywhere they were greeted with gen- uine smiles of welcome. "Is he popular?"

She nodded. "He's con-

sidered to be the best man i Australia's ever had in Lon- don. But I don't think they really appreciate that back

home."

"No," he said. He changed

the subject quickly: "You're i Dutch, but you think of Aus-

tralia as home, do you?" ,

"My parents are settled i there, in Melbourne. They'll 1 never come back to Europe.

So I look on Australia as i home."

"I guess so," said Malone, | and wondered where Quentin thought of his roots as being planted. Tumbarumba, Syd- ney, Perth, Canberra, Lon- don: the man had been on the run all his life.

Then a thin elderly woman drew Lisa back into the crowd with her, leaving

Malone alone.

He looked about the room, i A Pakistani and a Bolivian ' went by, continents arm in

arm; Italy flirted with Iran, j He was discovering for the J

first time what it was like to ! be a foreigner.

"Don't get too involved ¡

over there," Leeds had said on I the phone when the call had 1 come through. "I'll see what , Flannery says about the extra i time Quentin has asked for. ' I'll try to talk him into it.

But don't forget, Scobie - i you're a policeman on duty for all those extra days."

"I know, sir. Polite but impersonal."

"That's the ticket. I'll call you back in four hours' time, let you know the score. Where will you be staying?"

"Mr. Quentin said I can stay here at his house. They have several guestrooms."

"I guess you'll have to stay there to keep an eye on him. I'll ring you."

Then Malone had followed Quentin upstairs, where Joseph the butler had taken

him over.

When he was dressed Malone had looked at him- self in the long mirror and been impressed by what he saw. The coat was a little tight under the arms, but otherwise everything might have been tailored for him Even the shoes had fitted.

He had gone downstairs and Quentin, his wife, and Lisa Pretorious had been waiting in the hall for him.

"You look most distin- guished, Mr. Malone," Sheila Quentin had said, and Malone had felt a youthful glow of pleasure: he had never ex- pected in ail his life to be called distinguished.

"Would you be kind enough to escort Miss Pre- torious?" Sheila Quentin had said; and Malone had offered his arm to the cool lovely

To page 40

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER_

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 39

blonde who was looking at him with new, almost unbelieving, in-

terest.

"If you'll have me." he said as the Quentins went ahead of them out the front door to the waiting car.

"I wouldn't have recognised you as the man I let in a while ago," Lisa had said.

Her smile had taken the ice out of her remark. But she knows I'm an outsider, Malone hid thought.

Now here at the reception he felt even more of an outsider. Then through an open arch he saw a waiter go past bearing a tray of food; his stomach reminded him he had not eaten for almost nine hours. He followed the waiter. The supper room was almost deserted but for a few disguised journalists and two Negro men in evening

dress.

"Enjoying yourself?" Thc older of the two men. tall and portly and cheerful, had a voice as rich as that of Quentin's butler: but he had none of the servant's snobbery, he was a man born to be friendly.

"Not much," said Malone with undiplomatic truthfulness; hunger always sharpened one's candor. Then he remembered that he was in an African embassy, that the men beside him were colored. "Do you belong here ?"

"I'm the ambassador. I'm not enjoying it, either." He laughed, a deep gurgle of merriment. The younger Negro, lighter skinned and thinner, smiled with more control- led humor. The ambassador was piling a plate with food. "But the

food is good. Help yourself. Where are you from?"

"Australia," said Malone, and saw the younger Negro look at him with sudden interest.

"With Quentin? A splendid chap. He'll be the one to make a success of this conference. If it's going to be a success."

"You don't think it will be?" Malone followed him round the table, using the ambassador's plate as his example.

"Champagne? The wages of sin and diplomacy, Bollinger '55. Back in my country I'm expected to drink a concoction made out of tropical fruits. We call it Chateau neuf-du-Papaya. Terrible stuff."

"Jungle juice," said the younger Negro in a soft American accent. " The Aussies used to make it and sell it to our guys in New Guinea."

"Really? I'm surprised you won the war. Well, now I have to find somewhere quiet to eat this." The ambassador looked at the heaped plate, then winked a piebald eye at them both. "My father died of gluttony, a surfeit of underdone missionary. What a pity he didn't live to appreciate the fruits of in- dependence."

He went rolling out of the room, chuckling to himself. Malone grinned and the younger Negro said, "His father went to Oxford just as he did. Periodically he takes a course in atavism, to come down to the level of some of his politicians back home."

"Do you work for him?"

"I'm like you, a gUes,

I he name is Jamaica.-'

''You're an American?"

Jamaica nodded. "I ^

seen you around .before. Are I here just for the conference'''''I

Malone nodded. "I expect,

going back at the end 0f°, J

week."

"You think it'll be finished

then?"

"Don't you?"

Jamaica shrugged. Across t room the journalists watched

tentively, their stares hidden { hind their champagne gi^ But Jamaica ignored them, all \

attention was on Malo^'

"Your man Quentin is a JR one for compromise, isn't he?"

"You Americans don't like cor

promise, do you ?"

"You Australians aren't in

position to be too independen1

"No," said Malone. "Tv,

probably why Quentin is p¡U]

ing for compromise."

"You'd better be carefu

Jamaica's voice was even, tot! less: you could read into it J emphasis you wished. Ma],] read a warning, close to a threj and turned his head sharply

ask Jamaica what he meant, fl the American was already walt]

away. "I'll see you around."

M ALONE stared ali

him. Then Malone was aware someone moving along the supp

table toward him.

Across the room one of : journalists had taken a step I; ward, but had stopped when

saw the small oriental wore moving toward the Australian

"Who's the woman?" I

journalist whispered to one of: colleagues.

"Search me."

At the supper table Malone I turned as the woman spoke to h: "You are an Australian, I belie' Are you here for the conferenct

Out of the corner of his ' Malone saw Jamaica had hal: for a moment beyond the door»: and looked back. Had he wan Malone to be careful of " woman ? If so, why ?

"Sort of." He gazed frankly this woman with the schoolgii face. There was an innocence al* her that seemed incongruous » the sophistication of the tit fitting long gown she wore. T ao dais exposed almost nott

of her but a shimmer of leg, it was more revealing than

other gown Malone had seen I night. "My name's Malone. Plö|

to meet you."

"Pleased to meet you-I J never heard that greeting bet

It is so much friendlier than >

do you do. I am Madame Che*

Eyed by the curious joun* they moved out of the room o' a terrace that overlooked a * garden. Beyond, London was < a dull gold reflection on th*J

clouds, silent as a faraway tion.

" This road used to be efl Millionaires' Row."

Cholon pointed to the huge l>"1 behind them, then to the

sions on either side. She ?*] with long-nailed fingers at a r~

bunch of grapes. "Then the^

bassies moved in here.

ments are the only ones with °*j these days. But then you 1 government man, are you

"None of the money filter*

as far as me."

"I have heard there is very

corruption in Australian S"'M

ment. Where I come from,

is suspect if he is not corruP'

To page 41 ^

THE HIGH

COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 40

"Where do you come from?"

"Out East," said Madame Cho- lon, and Malone remarked the ivasiveness. He looked toward the doorway to see if Jamaica was still watching them, but the Am- erican had disappeared.

"That covers a lot of territory,

Dut East."

"Yes, doesn't it?" said Madame Zlholon, and smiled. She had seen ,(.his tall, socially awkward man Wive with the Australian High Commissioner and she wondered

?f he would be returning to Bel-

grave Square when Quentin re

urned there. Pallain, Pham 'ühinh, and Truong Tho would vant as few witnesses as possible vhen they killed Quentin.

1- "Do you gamble, Mr. Malone?" 'j Malone looked at her in sur- prise. "Once or twice a year I 'night bet on a horse."

? "No, I mean chemin de fer or

baccarat."

. "Those games are illegal where

¡ come from. Anyhow, what

;ambler ever finishes up in front?" % "Some of us do," she said. "You hhould try your luck some time."

"Not at baccarat."

n "What are you, Mr. Malone? lfire you on Mr. Quentin's staff?" o:íadame Cholon asked, suddenly

hanging the subject.

"Let's just say I'm attached to iim."

ll "Too attached to be allowed a

ight off?" This man was not so ol tupid after all. If he was a secu- rity officer, some sort of body-

guard for Quentin, then she did

ot want him on hand when the 5Í ttempt was made to assassinate Quentin.

She had to take a risk. ¡he smiled, employing all the

?ibtle charm she had acquired grofessionally over the past

/venty years. 'I want to go ambling, Mr. Malone. There is

flub in Mayfair, but ladies are tb*ot allowed in unescorted. It is . fery English."

e "Better try someone else, Mad

me Cholon. I'm not in the May j'iir class with my salary."

Al "What » your salary, Mr. "j-f alone?"

He raised his eyebrows. He had

Jjrtce read that the Asians had rTiSry different 'deas on privacy

om those of the Europeans, but '* had never been asked a ques "? >n as blunt as this before, not

1 -t n by the Chinese opium s'mug

ers he had met before he had >ne on to the Murder Squad. "1

'"t enough."

"But not much?" Diamonds on i r fingers winked derisively at

m as she raised a hand to the searls at her throat,

?n "It all depends on how you look

1 it. But, anyway, you'd better rfît ^someone else, Madame Cho vO«n." Then he saw Jamaica stand yCg m the doorway watching ¡1«'T. and he nodded. "Ask that

oke. He's an American. They're jV; er tnan anyone else."

," Madame Cholon looked toward . maica. "But he is colored!"

To page 42

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41

All at once he did not like this tiny beautiful woman who seemed so curiously interested in him. He put down his glass on the balustrade and took random aim at her: "You Vietnamese have never com-

plained about the color of

American money."

He knew he had guessed right: she was Vietnamese. She stared at him for a moment, then she said some- thing that was foreign to him but which he well understood: as a policeman he had been sworn at enough to catch the intent if not the words.

"And the same to you," he said, and walked away from her. He passed Jamaica as he went through the open doors into the main room. The American looked directly at him and he stopped. "Who's that woman I've just left?"

Jamaica looked after Madame Cholon as she went

quickly along the terrace and through a doorway into an- other room. "1 was wonder- ing that myself."

He's lying, Malone thought. "Let me know if you find out," said Malone, left him and went on into the room.

Sheila Quentin came toward him. "We are leaving, Mr. Malone. My husband is feel- ing very tired. Perhaps you would like to stay on?"

"No, I'm tired, too."

They began to move across the room. "Did you bring some bad news for my hus- band, Mr. Malone?" she

asked.

"Why?"

"He was quite cheerful when he came home this even- ing. Confident the conference was going the right way. But now-" She looked up at him. "What sort of message did you bring him from Can-

berra?"

T

AHEY were inter-

rupted by two women, a Canadian and a German: Malone stood aside while the three women made arrange- ments for a committee to clothe the underprivileged of Stepney. Then he and Sheila Quentin moved on. "I think you'd better ask him."

"It's as secret as that, is

it?"

"I'm afraid so."

"And bad?" He hesitated, then nodded. "I'm sorry," he said, and was surprised at the depth of sincerity he felt.

"Do you always bring bad

news?"

"Too often. They think I have the right personality

for it."

"I hate you, Mr. Malone." She smiled, and he warmed toward her. "But it's not your fault."

No, he thought, it's not my fault. He wondered whom she would hate when she found out whose fault it really

was. Then thev had reached

Ouentin and Lisa Pretorious, standing waiting for them just outside the entrance to the main room. Quentin did look tired. The two women looked at him with concern, but he managed to smile.

As the Quentins and Lisa went ahead of him out of the big entrance hall Malone looked back. On the oth«.r side of the big room Madame Cholon stood by the terrace door watching him, her gaze as cold and steady as that of a marksman taking aim. Jamaica was moving toward her: his face, too, had the look of a hunter.

Pallain sat in the rented black rar. He had learned the advantages of having several passports and driving licences, and the rar had been rented in the name of Pierre Martin. He had never liked the risk of using a stolen car on a job: it was alwavs best to stay within the law as much as possible: in a stolen car you always stood the risk of be- im» picked up The car would

be abandoned after they had made their getaway and it could never be traced to Jean Pierre Pallain. The deposit would be lost, but Madame Cholon was paying for that and fifteen pounds was noth- ing against the stakes she was playing for.

Pham Chinh rubbed a ner- vous finger down his cheek. "It is getting late. Don't these diplomats ever come home?"

"At least we're waiting in comfort. Pity poor Tho over there in the gardens."

He nodded across the

square to the dark island of

trees and shrubs in its centre. Truong Tho was there, the rifle with the tele- scopic sight cradled in his

arms.

Pallain glanced at his watch. The square was de- serted but for the occasional passing car or taxi. The car was parked at the end of Chesham Place where it en- tered the square; behind them was the German Embassy and across from them was the white portico of the Spanish Embassy. There was the mut- ter of German voices and two men in white raincoats went by without glancing at the car. London is made up of foreigners, Pallain thought; but there would be one less before the night was out.

Then the big black Rolls Royce, AUS-1, went pa-,t, slowing to turn left into Bel- grave Square and follow the one-way route round to the Australian High Commis- sioner's house on the south side of the square.

As the big limousine turned left into the square. Malone, sitting beside Lisa in one of the jump-seats, glanced casually out at the car parked close to the corner. He saw the two men in the front seat of the car turn their faces

away, but not before he had caught a glimpse of the man behind the wheel. His brows puckered, the policeman in him at work. Why should two men, sitting in a parked car late at night, wish to avoid being seen? Then he shook his head and grinned. Leave it to the London bobbies: it was no concern of his.

The Rolls circled the Square, then glided into the kerb. The chauffeur, a middle-aged map with the build of a middleweight wrestler and a voice to match, switched off the engine, got out, and came round to open the door. Malone got out first, stopped and looked back along to where the parked

car had now switched on its

high-beam lights. The Rolls and the people getting out of it stood in a cone of light that threw them into relief against the darkness of the Square.

"Hold it a moment," said Malone, and he put a hand against Lisa's arm to stop her getting out. "Ferguson, get back in and switch on your lights. High beam."

Ferguson hesitated at be- ing given orders by this new- comer, then he grunted, went back round the car, got in, and switched on the head- lights. The beam blazed down toward Chesham Place; a taxi coming out of the street honked in furious protest. The cones of light from the two cars met in silent assault.

Across the road Truong Tho stood among the thick shrubs, his rifle resting on the heavy wire-netting fence. His eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, and when Pallain had switched on his car's lights as planned he wondered if they were really necessary. He raised the telescopic sight to his eye and in it saw the chauffeur go round and open the door of the big black car. A tall man in evening dress got out. stopped, and looked toward Pallain's car. Then the chauf f>nir came back round, got in, and switched on the Rolls Rovce's lights.

Truong Tho felt his hands begin to sweat and he

blinked his eyes, trying to focus them into the unex-

pected blaze of light. Some- thing had gone wrong, but he did not have time to con- sider it. Hazily, like figures behind frosted glass, he saw two women and another niau alight. He aimed at the second man and squeezed the trigger.

Malone heard the bullet ping off the top of the Rolls. He yelled at Quentin and the women to duck; then he was running swiftly across the road toward the dark island of garden. He saw the car down at the corner switch off its lights, then its engine roared, and with a squeal of tyres it swung into the square and went speeding round the other side of the garden. Malone didn't see the wire fence. Brought up in a city where all the gardens were public, he plunged toward what he thought was a break in the shrubbery.

He hit the fence and bounced back, sprawling cm the pavement. He swore, picked himself up, and ran toward the eastern curve of the garden. He heard a

screech of brakes on the far side of the Square; then he came round the curve of the garden. The black car was gathering speed again, dis- appearing into one of the

streets that came in on the

north side of the Square. He pulled up, knowing the gun- man was now in the car and

was gone.

He made his way back to- ward the house, limping a little. He heard the thud thud of heavy boots and as he crossed the road a uni- formed policeman came run- ning up to the entrance of the house. The two women had gone inside, but Quentin and the chauffeur stood beside the car, on the lee side from the garden.

"I heard a shot-" Then the policeman turned with Quentin and Ferguson as Malone limped up to them.

"They got away. That car down there must have been

waiting for him. And spot- lighting us into the bargain."

"I'll phone the Yard, sir." The policeman made a ges- ture toward the front door. "May I use your phone?"

Quentin nodded and the policeman went into the house past Sheila and Lisa, who now stood in the door- way. Then Quentin looked at Ferguson. "That will be all for tonight, Tom. And don't broadcast what has happened.

I don't want this to be in the newspapers. Same time to- morrow morning. Good night."

Ferguson touched his cap. "Night, sir. I'm glad they

missed "

"So am I." Quentin smiled wryly; he seemed undisturbed by the attempt on his life. "Itel's hope their aim next

time - if there is a next time - is just as bad. And don't forget - not a word to anyone."

The Rolls eased away and Quentin looked at Malone. "We'd better see to that cut on your face," he said as he led the way into the house.

"You're all right, darl- ing?" Sheila Quentin grasped her husband's arm. They stood together oblivious of the others in the hall, like lovers meeting after a long separation. Malone saw the anguish on Sheila's face and felt sick. This woman was going to die when she finally learned what Quentin had done, that she was ¿bing to

lose him.

Then Lisa came forward. "You've been hurt, Mr.

Malone!"

The next few minutes was a confusion of Joseph, the butler, being sent for hot water and sticking plaster, of both women ushering Malone into the living-room with such solicitude that he felt he should have at least lost an arm, of Quentin bringing him

a scotch.

Then the policeman

knocked on the door. "Some- one is coming from Special Branch, sir. They shouldn't be long. In the meantime I'll go across and have a look around the garden, just in case he dropped the gun."

Lisa began to bathe the cut on Malone's chin. He could smell the perfume she wore. He looked beyond her, focusing his gaze on the room around them. He recognised the two paintings on the walls: a Dobell and a Drys- dale. The furnishings here were richer than in the other two rooms of the house that Malone had seen. He lay back on the Thai silk cushions of the lounge where he sat; he was being trapped in a quick- sand of luxury. He sat up quickly, his cheek bumping against Lisa's arm, and looked over her shoulder at Quentin.

"Have you any idea who might have taken a shot at you ?"

Quentin shook his head. He looked worried, but somehow Malone knew that it was not worry for himself: it was al- most as if he thought of the assassination as something im- personal. If the bullet had struck home, it might have solved the personal problem.

But it hadn't.

"The important thing is, I don't think anyone should be allowed to make political capital out of it. If this should have anything to do with the conference - well, that's why I want it kept out ol' the papers." He looked steadily at Malone. "I should imagine you'd want it kept quiet, too."

"What's going on between you two?" Sheila looked ruriously from one man to the other.

"Nothing, darling-really!" "Don't tell me nothing! Mr. Malone arrives out of nowhere, none of us knows he's even coming-" She looked at Malone. "It was almost as if you didn't expect yourself to come here. Where's your luggage ?"

Malone was held dumb by

Lisa's fingers as she pressed the sticking-plaster on. his chin. Quentin answered for him: "Shelia, we'll talk about

it later-"

"Darling." She had calmed down again; she put a hand on his arm. "You might have been killed tonight. Do you blame me for asking what's going on? Why should some- thing like this happen the very night the-forgive me"-she looked again at Malone - "the mysterious Mr. Malone arrives? I don't want to pry into government affairs, but why are you two so secre-

tive ?"

Malone, still aware of the closeness of Lisa, sat quiet, waiting for Quentin to answer his wife's question. Quentin, as if he were avoiding Malon-'s stare, looked down into his scotch and said, "Mr. Malone is a security man. That's all I can tell you."

"Secret Service?" Sheila sounded a little incredulous. Lisa, her medical aid done, stepped back, looked at Malone, and smiled. "Some- how one never thinks of Aus- tralians as spies."

Malone stood up. He went to open his mouth, to tell the truth, get it over and done with; then saw the look (of warning? Or of pleading?) on Quentin's face. He took a sip from his glass and said almost lamely, "I am not a spy. AH I have to do is look after your husband, Mrs. Quentin."

"You mean you were ex- pecting something like tonight to happen? Why should any- one want to kill my hus-

band ?"

In the end everything is personal to a woman, Malone thought. Viewed from her angle it meant nothing that her husband was his country's ambassador, that he was the influential man at a confer- ence which, one way or an- other, was bound to have in- fluence on the future of world peace. She could only see him as her husband: a wife had no diplomacy when she saw her marriage endangered. Malone looked at Quentin« a doomed man: Flannery was waiting for him in Sydney, someone outside in the Lon- don dark with a gun.

"I'll do my best to see it doesn't happen, Mrs. Quen- tin," he said.

Then Joseph knocked on the door. "There is a phone call from Sydney, sir, for Mr.

Malone."

"We'll take it in the study." Quentin put down his glass. He looked like a man who had reached the end of his endurance: he was being shot at from near and far, they had got his range.

"Tell them you need more protection," Sheila said, then gestured helplessly. "Or ask them to recall you. Any- thing."

Quentin nodded and patted her arm reassuringly. Then he smiled slightly at Malone as he stood aside to let the latter go ahead out of the room. They went into the study, closing the door after them, and Quentin said, "Do you have to tell the Com- missioner about tonight?"

Malone put his hand over the phone. "Scotland Yard will tell him as soon as they learn who I am. You shouldn't have told your wife I was a security man."

"What else could I say in

front of Lisa?"

Malone stared at him for a moment, having no answer; then answered the operator.

Leeds came on the line, his voice shredded by static. "Scobie? I've seen our friend. He wasn't happy, but he's

agreed. On patriotic

Despite the static ^

casm came through LTJ ; clear. "When will T ference finish?" ^ '?

"It almost finish night," said Malone ¿J

Leeds what had hap'p^1

"My first reaction^

bring him home « on» what comes first? W patriotism-?"

"I think we should

here, sir, Malone nip

mitring himself to QJJ

"Good luck," said ï safe on the other side J world. "And be careful

don't want someone ti potshots at you."

Malone hung up an(j ^ at Quentin. "He left j

to me."

"I gathered that. VM ting more and more bl

debt."

"I'm a tough credh said Malone, trying net sound like a liar. "Don, for too much more."

When they went back the living-room Lia gone, but two men

there with Sheila Quent

"Superintendent Deni, Sergeant Coburn." Sheila regained her composure had learned her lesson

as a diplomat's wifafla

Scotland Yard."

"Special Branch,"« Denzil. He had a gruflfl

voice, full of a faHl

homie that could tri^H wary prisoner. "SomeoJ a shot at you, sir. WeH

to put a stop to thj^H

"I'd appreciate itfl

Quentin, and Denzil loca him, as if not certain «fl the High Commissionefl being ironic or notflj I

"The constable tell»!

found nothing oveflj

gardens. But Sergeants

is going over just tflj

check."

Coburn nodded aflj

out of the room. WhJ door closed behind Cd Denzil said, "Mrs. Qi tells me you are fro*

tralian Security, Mr. flj

Have you been in toutfl anyone else at fl

Branch?"

"Mr. Malone only as

tonight from Aud Quentin said quickly.!

Denzil nodded ÉflJ were no excuse at aflj you have any suspidfl something like thflflj happen to His Exceflj

Malone looked at fl]

"I think I'd better ha*

words alone with thflj

tendent, sir."

"We'll be in the tflj The Quentins wejflj

the room, but they tooflj

of the tension that M felt with them. He mo*

the door, made smflfl closed, then turned Bj

Denzil. Why couldnflj have sent a man wioflj charity ? he wondered (fl

"I'm not a security M

he said flatly, and wtflj

what Quentin was sifH his wife in the rooPJ door. "I am a «MB

sergeant in the NetgHJ Wales Police Force. JT| to arrest the High GHJ

sioner on a charge Wm der."

Denzil didn't e^fl "That's rather awkwaiHJ

to tell me more about fl]

From the room n^H Malone thought he >HJ cry; or perhaps it wa'fl agination. If there "jM a cry Denzil gave "HJ that he had heard rtfl

"Will you be askin^B

court warrant?" J added.

Malone shook hu

"He's coming quietly, *

a fuss."

"There'll be a f"» night's affair gets newspapers."

"He doesn't want I* papers. There's a c0®

To page 44

.. i

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42

on. You must have known that?" The sarcasm was thick, real Australian scorn, but he didn't care.

Denzil gazed at him steadily. then nodded. "What's the murder charge?"

Malone told him. Denzil gave him an expression of disbelief, and Malone felt the temper rise in him again. "We've got all the facts, Superintendent-"

"I'm not disbelieving you,

Sergeant. I'm just wondering

"When I'm taking him back?" Malone backed down, putting himself in the other policeman's place. Then he tdd Denzil about Quentin's request and Leeds' agreement to it. "I've just got off the phone to my Commissioner

"It's highly irregular, I must say."

Malone took a chance. "I should think that in Special Branch you'd be used to a lot of stuff that's highly irregu-

lar."

For the first time Denzil really smiled, a genuine grin that was so unexpected Malone at first didn't believe it. Just as unexpectedly he put out his hand. "We'll keep it quiet, Sergeant."

Malone shook the firm beefy hand. "Nobody knows about this except you, me, and him. Unless he's just told his wife-Do you have to tell anyone else?"

"Murder isn't my job. Un- less it's a political murder. I don't have to tell anyone, Sergeant. Not for a few days, anyway."

"We'll be gone by the end of the week. After that you can tell anyone you want -? just give me time to get him back to Sydney."

T

JLHERE was a tap on the door and Denzil moved toward it. Before he opened it he stopped, looked back, and smiled again, still a genuine grin. "I did know there was a conference on."

"Sorry," said Malone.

Denzil opened the door. Sergeant Coburn stood there and just behind him was Quentin. "Nothing over in the gardens, sir."

"I'm afraid this will mean having a man with you all the time now, sir," Denzil said.

"In addition to Mr. Malone?" Quentin said.

"We're responsible for you - at least while this confer- ence is going on. Mr. Malone has explained the nature of his duty with you." He paused a moment, and Quen- tin nodded. "But I'm afraid Sergeant Coburn will still have to stay with you."

Quentin glanced at Malone, almost as if looking for the latter's approval, then shrugged. "If you say so. But I don't want a word ol this to get out-"

"I understand," Denzil said. "I think we can keep everything quiet, sir."

"Thank you," said Quen-

tin.

Five minutes later Denzil had gone and with hiir Coburn, who would be bael again first thing in the morn ing. The uniiormed police man had taken up his pos outside the front door. Josepf had locked the doors anc windows, like someone shut ting up the house before go ing away on a long holiday and had retired to his roon in thc basement of the house No one other than the police

man outside seemed to hav heard the shot, or if they ha« they were diplomaticall' mindine their own business.

Quentin and Malone stoo. in the living-room; their ea ha ustión was mutual.

"I told my wife." Quenti poured himself a drink wit hands that shook. He looke at Malone, who shook h head in puzzlement. "It w;

_Prn-ro AA

like committing a second

murder."

Malone was tired. He made a gesture that was meaning- less: he was so weary he could hardly control his hands. "I had to tell Denzil

"You don't have to excuse

yourself - what's your first

name ?"

"Scobie."

"I once read a book by a Russian. It said that after a while your jailer becomes a sort of relation. So you won't mind if I call you Scobie when we're alone?"

"Call me anything you like if it relieves the strain."

"Nothing is going to re- lieve the strain, Scobie, be- lieve me. Nothing at all. Least of all this." He looked at his glass, then drained it in one gulp.

Then Lisa came to the door. "Mr. Malone, Joseph has lent you a pair of Mr. Quentin's pyjamas, and I've put some books beside your bed in case you want to read. There's

also a new toothbrush. We'll pick up your things from your

hotel tomorrow."

"Miss Efficiency," said Quentin. "One day I'm going to find a flaw in you, Lisa. Not to gloat over. Just so that I won't feel so damned inefficient myself."

Lisa smiled. "I'm full of flaws. Women, if they want to, can hide them better, that's

all."

"You should teach us men the trick," said Malone, and wondered why he had spoken, not for himself, but for Quen-

tin.

Lisa looked at Quentin. "You're quite worn out. Is there anything I can get you ?"

Quentin shook his head. "Has my wife gone to bed?"

"I think what happened to- night has upset her. I said good night to her, but she didn't seem to hear me." Traces of exhaustion, like faint smudge marks, showed on her own face; the night had bruised them all, but in different ways. And suddenly Malone was grudgingly thankful for the assassination attempt. It would provide an excuse for the atmosphere that would surely be here in the house tomorrow. "I hope you both feel better in the morning."

"Thank you, Lisa," said Quentin, and he was too tired to keep the irony from hu voice. Malone looked quickl) at Lisa, but she, too, was tired: she had missed it.

Quentin said good night tx them both and trudged up thi winding staircase out of th< hall. Lisa stared after him a thin crease between hei brows suddenly spoiling th< cool beauty of her face. I she in love with him? Maloni wondered: and hoped not.

"What's happened to him Scobie?" Malone had told he his name earlier in the even ing. but this was the first tim she had used it. "All of

sudden he looks so worn out.'

"That conference is a loa on his bark. And being sh« at doesn't always raise th

adrenalin."

She looked at him, th crease disappearing from he brow. "I think there is nu»

buried in you than you allow

to show."

He shook his head. He would like to know her better, but not tonight; he was wish- ing she would go. She sensed his tiredness, began to walk up the staircase ahead of him. "I'll see you at breakfast. Are you talkative at breakfast?"

"Not usually," said Malone, and wondered who would be talkative at all tomorrow.

In his room a pair of pyjamas had been laid out on the bed. He cleaned his teeth with the new brush that stood in the glass on the basin in one corner of the room. He noticed that Lisa, or Joseph, had provided toothpaste, shav- ing ' brush and razor, after- shave lotion, tissues. He picked up the after-shave lotion, something he had never used, and smelled it. He grinned at himself in the

mirror: if Lisa or Joseph had decided that this was his smell, he liked it. Simple and sharp: they had decided he was not the sophisticated, languorous type. He got undressed and got into bed.

All at once Malone wished the assassin's bullet had found Quentin tonight. There was a horror that he could wish for another man's death; but Quentin, consciously or un- consciously, was beginning to make too much demand on him. Then he fell asleep and dreamed of Quentin and him- self handcuffed together in the dock. The judge was Flan nery, smiling his warm sin- cere grin at both of them.

In the apartment in Exhibi- tion Road, Madame Cholon

said, "We shall just have to try again."

"It's going to be more dif- ficult from now on. They'll have a guard with him all the time. Why not try some- one else? One of the Afri-

cans?"

"No, no one else at the conference has Quentin's in- fluence. The other delegates just make noises. They will vote when the time comes, but they do not want to go on record as having put for- ward any motions. Some do not want to offend China, the others do not want to offend América. One does not spit in the eye of the country that is paying one's bills. At least,

not when abroad. At home it is a different thing."

"How much longer then do

we have?"

"Not long at all. Two, three days at the most. The man who was with Quentin last night, the one you said seemed suspicious of your car - I

think I met him at the re- ception. I wonder what he

is?"

"He seemed a little more adventurous than the usual junior diplomat. They are generally very intent on self preservation, so they can sur- vive and be promoted to am- bassadors. Do you think he might be a security man?"'

"Perhaps you had better find out. Are you covering

the conference tomorrow?"

"I have to make a show of being a journalist. When this is over, I hope I can retire."

"You should be able to."

Madame Cholon led the way to the door. She showed a hint of gratitude, obliquely, as if it were a weakness: "I hope you will be paid enough."

Pallain looked around the

apartment. "I'd like to live in something like this, but overlooking the Seine."

"Perhaps I shall visit you when I come to Paris," she smiled, having no intention of

it.

He looked at her, at the slim figure under the ao dais that had learned all the pro- fessional tricks of love and was now going to waste. This was the first time he had been alone with her since they had arrived in London. Truong Tho had been dropped at the small fiat where he and Pham Chinh were staying in Not

ting HOI, then Pham Chi nh had taken the car south of the river to dump it. Pallain himself had come here to Madame Cholon's apartment by taxi. The night was still young by his timing:

''This is a big apartment for

one woman --

The smile went, the eyes turned to black glass.

"You are being well paid for what you are doing. There

will be no bonuses."

He pursed his lips, then shrugged. "It's my father in me. He always did have an eye for the uatwe women."

He went out quickly, slam- ming the door behind him. He knew he had just nomi

na ted himself to be another victim on Madame Cholon's list. Damn his French tongue: always looking for the biting

exit line.

When Malone came down- stairs in the morning, Joseph was waiting for him in the hall. He looked with a sickened eye at Malone's suit, then said, "This way, sir. What would you like for

breakfast ?"

"I like a good breakfast. How about a steak with an egg?"

He followed Joseph into a dining-room and out on to a small patio where Sheila Quentin, 'in a green silk house- coat, sat at a glass-topped wrought-iron table. Malone sat down and Joseph went back to the kitchen to order steak and egg for the bar- barian's breakfast. Sheila nodded toward a large jug of orange juice on the table.

"Are you expecting a big day, Mr. Malone? I heard you ordering a real bush

breakfast."

"Did I do the wrong thing?"

"Not at all. I like to see a man eat. How's your face?"

He felt the small scab on his chin. He had taken off the sticking-plaster; he knew from experience that cuts healed quickly on him. He had no doubts that physically he would be able to stand up to anything that might face him in the next few days; it was his emotions that might prove

vulnerable. "I'll survive. Has Mr. Quentin gone?"

"I made him have break- fast in bed this morning. It was a long time before we both got to sleep last night." She smiled, a sad smile that only added to the new look of age in her face. "Usually we both sleep very well."

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Quentin. I mean, about-"

"You have to do your job." She sipped her coffee, staring into the distance. "He's a good man, you know. Not just good in his job ?- he's

excellent at that - but also good in himself."

"Did he tell you why he killed - his first wife?"

She smiled again, dryly this time. "A wife doesn't have to give evidence against her husband, Mr. Malone."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."

"I know you didn't. Drink your orange juice."

She stared at him for a

long moment, then she smiled. "I'm sorry, Mr. Malone. But now I'm the one who's going to be untactful. Are you go- ing to the conference today with my husband?"

"That's the idea."

"Then you had better change into another suit. Do you have a dark one?"

"Only this one. And a sports jacket. I'll go and buy myself a dark suit. I could do with one, anyway."

"There'll be no need. You can wear one of my hus- band's. He won't be needing them much longer. What color do they wear now in jail, Mr. Malone?"

"Don't," he said, and put

his hand on hers as sk.i

her head and beean . ^ silently.

She kept her head U. for almost a minute (da sat leaning toward ber attitude of sympathy 1 she looked up, took j I

kerchief from the

her housecoat, and vmj eyes. The glare fr¿T white walls was incre»i the sun climbed hight,, picked up a pair of sw and put them on.

"Joseph will notjtt eyes. I'll go and repajo before he brings yo,

steak and egg." She «o« pausing for a moment

her hand on the back ol chair. What had tnt i like when Quentin hid met her? "You're a kind,

aren't you?"

He shrugged, embam "I don't know. I ^ kind, or I may just b¡, sense of guilt. Don't a| Mrs. Quentin. I'm tryij, to get involved with y« your husband."

"You're right, Mr. Mj Unfortunately for somt¡ involvement is part ol bi nature. Especially when nature is a good and li

one."

Then she turned and into the house, leaving one wondering if the been speaking about

someone else, or no og particular.

Lisa, cool and be in a mushroom linen came out and sat do« the table. 'Tve had I fast, but Mrs. Qi thought you might lib pany. She's still upset last night, isn't she?"

He nodded, saved fra ing anything by the am Joseph.

"Your steak and eg¡ said the butler, and m sound as if he were t the head of John the Bi

"My apologies to the

said Malone, his appetite denly gone, "but I've da my mind. I think FU jim

toast and marmalade. 1

being difficult, Joseph?

"No, sir. Just wise, may ' be permitted the

ment. Will there be am further ?"

"I have to go o» buy a suit, a dark ont! standard size, so I cat one off the peg. Where' you recommend, Josepb

"Madame has already i

me to lay out one o' Excellency's suits for f

"No, I was going 81 one, anyway." He tum Lisa. "Has Sergeant Ci arrived yet?"

"He's out in the There are also the two from the External ' Department at A* House. They come be"' morning and ride in

Quentin. They're part CM advisory team at the < ?

ence."

"He'll be taie m then," he said, and *>? stantly sorry. He *? shadow cross her /**Bj noticed her hand uí"¡,m the coffee-pot she haoW picked up. He looked

Joseph, whose face *m

impassive as the W^JK of the garden behiwj "Would you call me 8 ? I'll be ready in ten """rn

"Sir, perhaps T°" K care to have me con* Bj you ?"

Malone suddenly < m and looked at Li"- ? think it might be ' B,

idea ?" Mp

"Joseph knows jÄv

what the well-dresse» M. should wear." ., lt.

"Point taken," **", B*.

one, still grinning, *"jM ded to Joseph. "O^jl You and I mightn't rj£ Jeeves and Bertie "V^

but we'll give it » ' minutes."

The butler ,^LÄ.r taking the steak and tjM ?

him, relieved th»f T '

To page 45 f ,

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 44

I

pd been averted and the origines hadn't yet taken Hier Belgravia. Malone

ewed on toast and marina- te and sipped the coffee ¿a had poured for him.

sa said, "You did a very rive thing last night, chas

; that man with the gun." "It was just a reflex ^on. I could just as easily , ve run the other way."

[^'Perhaps. But you didn't."

e looked down at the cup coffee she had poured for ' rsclf. She wanted to know *s man Malone better, but ?« feared if it was left to "¡n she would learn nothing. Vhen are you going back?" ". 'Four or five days." What

s she getting at? Had she 'med the real reason for if being here?

* 'Are you going to look

lund London?"

fc'I won't have time.'"

* T

JLilSA smiled. "Your « t time here and you're 'i going to try to

i' it? This is the most

Cresting city in the world, tifi't you know that? There : \ surprise round every cor M. There is only one other 'ir that has that quality of mkprise - Paris."

tM don't know about Paris, ¡j* you're certainly right

?ut London: it has its sur-

fies. Such as gunmen in its

c*dens."

rhen Quentin was stand- by ' in the doorway, dressed ¡i* dark jacket and striped be isers, a homburg hat in

hand and a black brief rS ; in the other. Behind him rt*e Sergeant Coburn and

i other men.

'Mr. Larter and Mr. I^'jar-" Quentin introduced Jjj". two strangers, not in an * »and way but due regard "fach of them. He had all * small qualities that in

.ie would induce loyalty. "?ft week. Malone thought,

*Jre is going to be an awful

w.

lot of people with shattered illusions. This was not going to be just one man's tragedy.

Larter was a short, slim man with horn - rimmed glasses. "Mr. Quentin told us what happened last night. I don't think we can be too

careful. What do you think.

Sam?"

"If they were game enough to try it once, they'll be gtrme enough to try it again. The Eastern Asians, the ones with some Chinese blood in them, they don't give up easily. The Chinese invented patience," Edgar said.

"You think the Chinese might have been responsible for this?" Despite what Sheila had said about his restless night, Quentin looked calm and in control of himself.

"They're the ones I'd lay my money on," said Edgar.

"Don't lay any money on anyone, Sam," said Quentin. "The field is wide open. Sometimes I think we are a generation too late, thai things must have been mucli simpler in the 'thirties. Dic- tators have their advantages At least you know whon you're dealing with."

"We don't want anothei Hitler," said Larter. "Leas of all an Asian one."

"We'll get one eventually Phil. You can be sure of that Dictators are like volcanoes They keep recurring and n. one has yet found a way c stopping them. Maybe not i our time, but some da there'll be another Hitlei I'm sorry to be so pessimisti so early in the morning an on such a beautiful day." H looked up at the sky, brigl and cloudless: a high-fiyin plane glittered like a tosse gem. "In the meantime, sha we go and try to presen peace a little longer?"

"If things go as they d yesterday, we may do ju that." Larter was all dedie cation, full of a nervo

energy. But looking at him Malone had the feeling that Larter would enjoy an un- successful conference just as much; all he wanted was the opportunity to bargain and argue. "Preserve peace, I

mean."

Quentin looked at Malone. "Joseph tells me he's taking you shopping. I hope I haven't been the cause of your spending more than you'd intended."

"No, sir. I just don't want to be too conspicuous. I make too good a target. I'll be at Lancaster House in an hour. I'm sure Sergeant Coburn will see you're all right."

Coburn nodded, still serious and intense even though he was out from under the shadow of Denzil this morn- ing. Then Quentin turned and led the way back into the house. Lisa went with the men. Edgar sticking close by her elbow; and Malone was left to himself. He picked up the newspapers that lay on one of the wrought-iron chairs. The headlines were the usual miserable chant that seemed today's litany: war, floods, droughts.

"Do you always look so worried when you're on a

case?"

He folded the newspapers and put them back on the chair as Sheila Quentin came out on to the patio. "Often."'

"Why are you a police-

man?"

"My dad used to ask me that. But he used to be venomous about it. I was never able to give him a satisfactory answer. I don't think I could give you one. It's a job, it pays me enough, and, well, it's interesting."

"And soul-destroying ?"

"Sometimes."

She stared at him for a

while, as if debating whether to query him further. Then she looked down toward the small garden and the dwarf trees. "I wish we had a real tree here. In our garden in Canberra we had some beautiful trees. I've always loved trees, ever since I was a child. We lived in the country and I had a favorite tree, a coolibah, that I used to sit under and dream about what I'd do when I grew up."

"I didn't think coolibahs grew in the bush down around Perth. They're a tree from the eastern States."

She still wore the sun- glasses, but he knew that her eyes had looked sharply at him from behind the dark panes. "Where did you learn

about trees ?"

"When you're a policeman you pick up lets of useless

information."

"How did you know I came from the West?"

"I took it for granted. There wasn't much on you in the file on your husband, just that he'd married you in

Perth."

"You have a file on him?"' "That thick." He measurec with his fingers.

"Would I be allowed to

read it?"

He shook his head. "It wouldn't help any. And it might make you feel worse. In any case, it's officially secret." But he wanted to know more about her: "Are you from New South Wales ? Or over that way ?"

"No, I'm from the West. This coolibah was brought over by my grandfather. I suppose he was like me,

sentimental about trees."

He was relieved when Joseph, dressed for the street, came to the door. "The taxi is waiting, sir."

"Well, here goes." He felt inside his jacket to make sure he had his travellers' cheques. "I didn't expect to come all this way to be camouflaged."

"You might enjoy it. It's fun sometimes." Then Sheila Quentin bit her lip: all the years of camouflage could not have been much fun for her husband.

Malone excused himself and went out to buy a suit that would not make him so conspicuous. Flannery had pledged him to secrecy; he wondered if the dark suit could be charged to expenses on that account. He won- dered, too, how you charged the expenditure of yourself. Involvement was not some-

thing you entered under petty

cash.

Stable Yard in front of Lancaster House was busy with the coming and going of black limousines as the taxi pulled in under the por- tico and Malone, in his new dark suit, eot out. He locked

at the meter, felt in his pocket, and pulled out the

exact fare.

The driver stared at it. "Gawd help the Vietnamese. They'll never get any flaming aid from you, will they, mate?" And he drove off furiously, making a Rolls shy back into its pew as it pre- pared to pull out.

Malone went up the steps, showed his pass to the attendant on the door, and moved on into the crowded vestibule. Quentin had obtained the pass and it had been delivered to Malone just before he had left the house with Joseph. He was marked on the pass as a Special Assistant, but Quen- tin had warned him it would admit him only to the outer halls of Lancaster House and not to the conference room itself. That had satisfied Malone: if Quentin was not safe in the conference room, safe from assassination and safely in custody, then he was not secure anywhere.

To page 46

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45

The first man he saw was Quentin himself coming down the broad stairs that faced the entrance. Edgar, Larter, and a couple of other men were with him, but Quentin gave the im- pression of being completely alone: not only alone but lonely. He walked down the stairs with certain tread, but he was blind and deaf to everything in the high-ceilinged hall. His face was closed to the lively, gossiping world about him. He looks like a man in shock, Malone thought, one all ready for execution.

Then Quentin looked across the heads of the crowd and saw Malone. For a moment the eyes

seemed to flinch; the whole handsome face opened in a smile. He came down the last of the steps, losing Edgar and the others, and pushed through the crowd

to Malone.

"I hardly recognised you." He looked at the dark blue wool and-mohair suit, the blue silk knitted tie, the cream silk shirt, the black town brogues.

"You've been throwing your money away, Scobie. All on ac- count of me, too."

Malone shook his head. "It won't be wasted. I'm always be- ing asked to be best man at other fellers' weddings."

"It'll go well at funerals, too,"

said Quentin, then shut as if he could have

tongue. Then he shrugged",,,

getting morbid."

"I can't help you," said M,!.

with real regret. Then he »u/^ about the big high-oS»

Staircase Hall, at the ¡S¡» imitation marble walls, the*"^ red-carpeted stairs running utl

grey columns, the intricately J terned ceiling itself. "They

tainly knew how to live m .. I days."

"I sometimes wonder if ¡t's appropriate place to debate

fate of men dying in paddy.fJ

Marble halls and foxholes how don't complement other." Quentin nodded

white marble bust just by hi¿|| don't think the old Duke of Y J here approves. Every mornjJ| come in here that smile ¡¡¡r

seems to get more disappn

Malone looked around at | chattering crowd: white,

brown, and yellow faces swajl a moving abstract pattern. "J all we know, there's a kiilejl two here. I don't think you're/ safer than those fellers out in]

paddy-fields."

"My fate's already decided, M\ it?" Quentin said; and tufl away as Larter came up iJ him. "How long do ««? J

Phil?"

Larter looked at him with i cern. "Are you all right

morning, sir?" Quentin gave: a curious stare. "I mean,

don't seem to be concentratint I

well. It was you who suggest«: |

fifteen-minute break."

"Have I been that obvioui: morning?"

JU ARTER

"You mentioned Indonesian : tory twice when you meant I

Chinese history. I'm wonderj sir-perhaps we should tell 1 happened last night?"

"Why?"

"Well, it might explain

was a junior diplomat, but ht 1 not yet learned how to be di;

matic with his boss. "I mean, you were not exactly in comm of the conference this moriún». like the other days. If th« 1

delegates were told what m pened, they'd understand why*| were - I mean, they were 1 to you yesterday-"

Quentin did not take oHWM Larter's awkward criticism ol If

The man has almost too

charity, Malone thought;

once again found himself wo&j ing about Quentin as a mui*j "I'll do my best to win back»

confidence, Phil. In the meantj what happened last night ii

classified."

Larter hesitated, then noel "Yes, sir." He turned to Mal| "We expect to break for IUKN]

one o'clock."

"Sergeant Coburn and I

see that His Excellency ge"' for the afternoon session."

He had just seen C«l standing at the foot of the tif

staring intently at everyone

passed within ten feet of Q"^!

He excused himself from Q*l and pushed his way through T crowd toward the Special Br* man. He was some yards shof Coburn when a hand gripP* arm and pulled him up short swung quickly on one f°°'' fist balled to hit the assassin;

Jamaica said, "You're a t0ll sort of guy. Are you alwa'j

aggressive?"

To be continued

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