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Extra resources for Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1977: July-December Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series
All essential commodities were in short supply; rationing, at least of fuel and food, could not be delayed much longer, despite the reluctance of those in power to resort to unpopular measures. Everyone who could do so was leaving in search of better conditions. No more passages were available, either by sea or air; there were long waiting lists for all ships and planes. I had no proof that the girl was already abroad. On the whole it seemed unlikely she would have managed to leave the country, and an obscure train of thought suggested that she might embark on a certain vessel.
She brought the two keys, but gave me only the key of my own door, hiding the other one in the palm of her hand. I told her to hand it over. She refused. I insisted. She became stubborn and retreated into the kitchen. I followed and took the key from her forcibly. I did not much care for this sort of behaviour, but a principle was involved. She would not oppose me again. I went out and walked about, exploring the town: the empty lanes silent between shapeless shapes of decay, the ruined forts jutting into the greengage sea, the huge slab!
I got in, we raced up to the entrance. We went into a room full of people waiting to speak to him: the guards moved them back so that we could pass through to a room beyond. I heard him mutter, ‘Get rid of this fellow after five minutes,’ before he dismissed his men. ’ I muttered something evasive. In quite a different tone he rapped out: ‘The post office 51 informs me you have not communicated with any useful person. ’ Curtly he told me to state my terms. I decided to speak in a frank, simple manner, hoping to make him less hostile.