B02 The Naive and Sentimental Lover by John Le Carre

B02 The Naive and Sentimental Lover by John Le Carre

Author:John Le Carre
Language: eng
Format: mobi
ISBN: 9780553268218
Publisher: Bantam
Published: 1971-10-15T17:36:49+00:00

He returned to the hotel in time for the afternoon mail.

Dear Aldo,

You asked me to write to you so I am doing so. I trust you are all right and I presume you do not wish me to join you as you originally suggested you might, but still. My real reason for writing is to tell you that last night Mummy and I were cleaning out the nursery and came upon a collection of pornography which I assume is yours. Please correct me if I'm wrong. You can imagine what Mummy said. I suppose it's no good my repeating to you yet again that I don't care what you do as long as you tell me. If I had known you liked pornography, which in some people is perfectly normal, I would have cleaned the nursery alone. If your soul is imprisoned by our marriage, go away. Though I must say, I'd like to see what you do ‘with it when it isn't imprisoned. I have of course no objection to your keeping a mistress, if you are not already doing so. I would prefer not to know who it is, but if I do know it will make no difference. Mark's report enclosed.



Mark has shown a complacent, easy-going approach to life typical of the present British attitude of lazy fare which is affecting the whole nation, particularly the Unions. He picks and chooses his activities and leaves them off halfway, he is resentful when chased, beaten, or ticked off, he hates discipline.

These communications drove him back into the streets where for an hour he walked beside the Seine looking for a good place to jump in. When he returned, Shamus was lying on the bed, his face in the beret again, legs splayed, as if he had never left the island.

"Your passport's on the dresser," Cassidy said.

Ironed by loving hands.

"One of these days," said Shamus to the black beret, "I'll find a whore I like."

"Cassidy," said Shamus quietly, head once more buried in the pillow.


"Go on about your mother."

"I wasn't talking about my mother."

"Well go on about her all the same, will you?"

The death cell had no ormolu clock, but time had stood still for quite a while. They had had two drinks for certain—Shamus was on cognac and Perrier, he gave no reason for the change— but this was the first attempt that either of them had made to speak. Shamus was using his Haverdown voice, not quite the Irish but a little bantering. Tense, on an edge, and slipping to either side.

"She was a Frog. A tart, I think, knowing the old man."

"About how she left you. That's the bit I like."

"She left me when I was small. Seven."

"You said five before."

"Five then."

"What effect did this have on you, Cassidy?"

"Well . . . it made me lonely I suppose . . . it sort of robbed me of my childhood."

"What does that mean?" Shamus enquired, sitting bolt upright.

"What?" said Cassidy.

"What do you mean by being robbed of childhood?"

"Denied normal growth, I suppose," Cassidy faltered.


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