Secret Agent Man

If teaching doesn’t work out, I may offer my services to British intelligence. I’ve been re-reading Maugham’s excellent Ashenden: Or the British Agent and I’m like, I could do that:

He made up his mind that, on getting back to his hotel, he would have a fire lit in his sitting room, a hot bath, and dinner comfortably by the fireside in pajamas and a dressing-gown. The prospect of spending an evening by himself with his pipe and a book was so agreeable that it made the misery of that journey across the lake positively worthwhile.

And:

He spent two or three days visiting Basle. It did not much amuse him. He passed a good deal of time in the bookshops turning over the pages of books that would have been worth reading if life were a thousand years long.

Ashenden

There’s not much James Bond nonsense in the book, although you wouldn’t know it from the cover of my copy, above. The cover of this edition gets it about right:

887797

MI6, je suis à votre disposition!

PS I also am taken with Ashenden’s literary criticism:

It was as unsatisfactory as those modern novels that give you a number of unrelated episodes and expect you by piecing them together to construct in your mind a connected narrative.