#55-56的标注 | Nothing lasts, not forever. Not laughter, not lust, not even life itself. Not forever. Which is why we make the most of what we have. #57-60的标注 | Why waste a life in search of an epitaph? “Fondly Remembered.” Who other than a half-wit has that chiseled above his head? It is nothing but sentimental incontinence. Let’s face facts, life is a zero-sum game and politics is how we decide who wins, who loses. And whether we like it or not, we are all players. #60-63的标注 | “Respected By All Who Knew Him.” Another monumental whimper. Not for my gravestone. It’s not respect but fear that motivates a man; that’s how empires are built and revolutions begin. It is the secret of great men. When a man is afraid you will crush him, utterly destroy him, his respect will always follow. Base fear is intoxicating, overwhelming, liberating. Always stronger than respect. Always. #65-67的标注 | It seemed scarcely a moment since she had made it back home, stumbling up the last step in exhaustion, yet already the morning sun was sticking thumbs in her eyes as it crept around the curtain and began to nestle on her pillow. She turned over irritably. Her head was thick, her feet sore, and the bed beside her empty. #79-80的标注 | But it was difficult to be philosophical when your feet were freezing. And when you didn’t have any clean laundry. #93-94的标注 | Nearer and nearer it flew, eager, passionate, erratic, ambitious, heedless of everything other than the power it was being drawn to, power beyond dreams, beyond resistance. It had no choice. #98-100的标注 | The original Marquis of Granby had been a popular military figure more than two hundred years earlier and had more pubs named after him than any other figure in the land, but the marquis had succumbed to politics, lost his way, and died in debt and distress. #114-116的标注 | It’s a very good idea for a politician to have vision. Yes, the Vision Thing, just the ticket. Really useful, don’t you think? #137-138的标注 | He was tired, uncomfortable, penned in by the posse of women who pursued him with spaniel-like persistence. #142-142的标注 | The walls echoed with history and with an authority that was now his. #143-163的标注 | Yet Urquhart’s power didn’t stem directly from his public office. The role of Chief Whip didn’t carry full Cabinet rank. Urquhart had no great Department of State or massive civil service machine to command; his was a faceless task, toiling ceaselessly behind the scenes, making no public speeches and giving no television interviews. A man of the shadows. And also a man of discipline. He was the Enforcer, the one whose job it was to put a bit of stick about. That meant he was not simply respected but also a little feared. He was the minister with the most acute political antennae in government. In order to deliver the vote, day after day, night after night, he needed to know where his Members of Parliament were likely to be found, which meant he needed to know their secrets—with whom they were conspiring, with whom they might be sleeping, whether they would be sober enough to vote, whether they had their hands in someone else’s pocket or on someone else’s wife. All these secrets with their sharp little edges were gathered together and kept in a black book, locked inside a safe, and not even the Prime Minister had access to the keys. In Westminster, such information is power. Many in Urquhart’s Parliamentary Party owed their continuing position to the ability of the Whips’ Office to sort out and occasionally cover up their personal problems. Backbenchers intent on rebellion or frontbenchers distracted by ambition found themselves changing their minds when reminded of some earlier indiscretion that had been forgiven by the Party, but never forgotten. It was astonishing how pliable politicians became when confronted by the possibility of a collision between their public and private lives. Why, even that dyspeptic Staffordshire soul, the Transport Secretary, a man who had planned to make a conference speech way outside his remit and far too close to the Prime Minister’s home turf, had come to his senses. All it had taken was a phone call to his mistress’s mews house rather than the marital home. “Francis, how the fuck did you find me here?” “Oh, Keith, have I made some terrible mistake? I’m so sorry, I wanted to have a quick chat with you about your little speech, but it seems I looked for your number in the wrong set of accounts.” “What the bloody hell do you mean?” “Oh, don’t you know? We keep two sets of books. One is the official tally, the other…Well, don’t worry, we keep our little black book under very careful control. It won’t happen again.” A pause before: “Will it?” The Transport Secretary had sighed, a sound full of melancholy and guilt. “No, Francis, it bloody well won’t.” Another sinner came to rapid repentance. #184-185的标注 | Urquhart even managed a smile for Mrs. Bailey; it was like a mayfly, so brief it almost died before it could be seen but enough to repair relations. #205-207的标注 | The demands of the accountants for instant financial gratification had required ruthless pruning, and a large number of senior personnel had found themselves being “rationalized” and replaced by less experienced and considerably less expensive substitutes. #210-214的标注 | He was a small man who had arrived at the paper with the air of a new Napoleon but who had lost weight until he required braces to haul up his trousers and a tide of coffee to keep open his eyes. The once smooth and dapper appearance had begun to be washed away by countless beads of perspiration that collected on his brow and made his heavy rimmed glasses slip down his nose. Fingers that had once drummed in thought now snapped in impatience. The carefully manufactured attempt at outward authority had been eaten away by the insecurity within, and he was no longer certain he could rise to the occasion, any occasion. He’d even stopped screwing his secretary. #216-219的标注 | At twenty-eight she was the youngest recruit to the paper’s political staff, replacing one of the senior correspondents who had fallen foul of the accountants for his habit of conducting interviews over extended lunches at the Savoy. Yet despite her relative youth and recent arrival, Mattie had a confidence about her judgment that inadequate men mistook for stubbornness. #230-230的标注 | All editors live on the edge; the secret is not to show it. Preston showed it. #243-245的标注 | Landless had been as good as his word. He had delivered his growing army of newspapers into the Government camp, and all he expected in return was for the Government to deliver the proper election result. #338-339的标注 | The country’s most senior newsreader opened a large envelope in front of him, as reverently as if the A4 manila contained his own death certificate.