Y. S. Lee
James glanced at his desk clock. „It's quite late; will you let me give you some luncheon? Afterwards, we might have a look at the Register.”
„Oh, no – I couldn't. Indeed, I'm not really -” She was betrayed by another vigorous stomach growl and subsided into silence.
He grinned provokingly. „You couldn't, because ladies never eat, except as a social diversion. Nor do they drink, sleep or have other gross, vulgar, human functions. I know.”
She had to smile at that.
„Come on, then – I haven't lunched either. Won't you join me?”
„I can hardly nip down to the pub for a sandwich and a pint,” she reminded him.
„Damned inconvenient, isn't it? How do ladies manage?”
„We go home,” she said tartly.
„And if you're far from home?”
„We faint from inanition, of course. I'm surprised you didn't know that, too.”
Nineteen. 233-234. o.
„Do I look the type to ruin my life by falling in love and getting married?”
„Well, if that's your attitude, you'll certainly end up a lonely, embittered old man.”
„Oh, I'll marry eventually,” he said calmly. „But when I do, it'll be for the right reasons.”
Ha waved his hand vaguely. „Money. Business contacts. Political connections.”
„And in return, your wife would get…?”
His expression suggested that it was an odd question. „A husband, of course.”
„What else do women want? Flowers? Jewels? Sonnet sequences? Children?” He shrugged. „I can manage all that.”
Ten. 135. o.
The Agency complements the Academy. Here, we turn the stereotype of the meek female servant to our advantage. Because we are believed to be foolish, silly, weak women, we are in a position to observe and learn more effectively than a man in a similar position. Our clients employ us to gather information, often on highly confidential subjects. We place our agents in very sensitive situations. But while a man in such a position might be subject to suspicion, we find that women – posing as governess or domestic servants, for example – are often totally ignored.
„You look ghastly. Didn't you sleep at all last night?”
„I slept adequately, thank you.”
„Hm. Must be the dress, then. What colour d'you call that?”
„Mustard colour. It was very fashionable three or four years ago.”
„It makes you look bilious.”
Thirteen. 168. o.