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The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

(conversation with the Head of the Service, known as Control).

‘I want you to stay out in the cold a little longer.’ Leamas said nothing, so Control went on. ‘The ethic of our work, as I understand it, is based on a single assumption. That is, we are never going to be aggressors. Do you think that’s fair?’

Leamas nodded. Anything to avoid talking.

‘Thus we do disagreeable things, but we are “defensive“. That, I think, is still fair. We do disagreeable things so that ordinary people here and elsewhere can sleep safely in their beds at night.’

‘This is your last job’ he (Control) said. ‘Then you can come in from the cold. About that girl -do you want anything done about her, money anything?’

‘When it’s over. I’ll take care of it myself then.’

‘Quite. It would be very unsecure to do anything now.’

‘I just want her left alone’ Leamas repeated with emphasis. ‘I just do not want her to be messed about. I don’t want her to have a file or anything. I want her forgotten.’

He nodded to Control and slipped out into the night air. Into the cold ‘.