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|The Man Who Was Thursday||Gilbert K. Chesterton|
The Pursuit Of The President
|Page 2 of 8||
"Got whom here?" asked Syme impatiently.
"Hairy man," said the other lucidly, "man that used to be hairy man--Gogol. Here he is," and he pulled forward by a reluctant elbow the identical young man who five days before had marched out of the Council with thin red hair and a pale face, the first of all the sham anarchists who had been exposed.
"Why do you worry with me?" he cried. "You have expelled me as a spy."
"We are all spies!" whispered Syme.
"We're all spies!" shouted Dr. Bull. "Come and have a drink."
Next morning the battalion of the reunited six marched stolidly towards the hotel in Leicester Square.
"This is more cheerful," said Dr. Bull; "we are six men going to ask one man what he means."
"I think it is a bit queerer than that," said Syme. "I think it is six men going to ask one man what they mean."
They turned in silence into the Square, and though the hotel was in the opposite corner, they saw at once the little balcony and a figure that looked too big for it. He was sitting alone with bent head, poring over a newspaper. But all his councillors, who had come to vote him down, crossed that Square as if they were watched out of heaven by a hundred eyes.
They had disputed much upon their policy, about whether they should leave the unmasked Gogol without and begin diplomatically, or whether they should bring him in and blow up the gunpowder at once. The influence of Syme and Bull prevailed for the latter course, though the Secretary to the last asked them why they attacked Sunday so rashly.
"My reason is quite simple," said Syme. "I attack him rashly because I am afraid of him."
They followed Syme up the dark stair in silence, and they all came out simultaneously into the broad sunlight of the morning and the broad sunlight of Sunday's smile.
"Delightful!" he said. "So pleased to see you all. What an exquisite day it is. Is the Czar dead?"
The Secretary, who happened to be foremost, drew himself together for a dignified outburst.
"No, sir," he said sternly "there has been no massacre. I bring you news of no such disgusting spectacles."
"Disgusting spectacles?" repeated the President, with a bright, inquiring smile. "You mean Dr. Bull's spectacles?"
The Secretary choked for a moment, and the President went on with a sort of smooth appeal--
"Of course, we all have our opinions and even our eyes, but really to call them disgusting before the man himself--"
Dr. Bull tore off his spectacles and broke them on the table.
"My spectacles are blackguardly," he said, "but I'm not. Look at my face."
"I dare say it's the sort of face that grows on one," said the President, "in fact, it grows on you; and who am I to quarrel with the wild fruits upon the Tree of Life? I dare say it will grow on me some day."
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|The Man Who Was Thursday
Gilbert K. Chesterton
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