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George Smiley quotes

View Quote I met him once. Karla. In fifty-five. Moscow Centre was in pieces. Purge after purge. Half their agents were jumping ship and I traveled around signing them up. Hundreds of them. One of them was calling himself Gerstmann. He was on his way back to Russia, and we were pretty sure he was going to be executed. Plane had a twenty-four hour layover at Delhi, and that's how long I had to convince him to come over to us instead of going home to die. Little room. I'm sitting here... he's sitting there. The Americans had had him tortured. No fingernails. It's incredibly hot. I'm very tired and all I want to do is get this over with and get back home. Things weren't going well with Ann. I give him the usual pitch: come to the West and we can give you a comfortable life, after questioning. Or you can catch your plane and fly home and be shot. "Think of your wife. You have a wife, don't you? I brought you some cigarettes, by the way. Use my lighter. We could arrange for her to join you, we have a lot of stock to trade. If you go back, she'll be ostracized. Think of her. Think about how much she..." Kept harping on about the damn wife. Telling him more about me than... Should have walked out, of course, but for some reason it seemed important to save this one. So I go on. "We are not so very different, you and I. We've both spent our lives looking for the weaknesses in one another's systems. Don't you think it's time to recognize there is as little worth on your side as there is on mine?" ...Never said a word. Not one word.
View Quote [on Karla] He's a fanatic. And the fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.
View Quote [re: Karla] And the next morning he got back on his plane, handed the pack of cigarettes back to me untouched--and this was a chain smoker, mind--and flew off to what he presumed would be his death... He kept my lighter. It was a gift, "From George to Anne. All my love".
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