Paul had stayed on for lunch, so that he met Phyllis when she came in hot and tired and hungry. Despite this, having never met her before, he found her as exciting as he had been led to expect. Though she was in a state of despair about Harry ever being let into the country, and though she feared that the government would therefore most certainly try to ban the march, she was determined to go ahead.
Paul asked her why she connected the two events. Her answer was simple, though it did not seem logically indisputable to Paul: she felt that Harry’s prestige was so high that the government would not dare to interfere once he were in. It was at this point that Paul had his brainwave. He suggested that, in the absence of Harry, or even if he were present, she include prominently in the front rank of her procession the three boys who had been displayed to the nation three days before as being amongst the most tragic victims of communal tension.
What Paul liked about Phyllis was that, having ascertained that he could produce the boys, to travel up with her to the village and stay there until the moment arrived for them to appear, she asked no further questions. Instead she began to develop the idea to more dramatic and dynamic levels. It was in pursuit of these that she set off immediately after lunch, without a break to rest, to visit John’s family. It did not take very long for her to persuade his wife and all his daughters that they should join her on the march. Indeed it was with difficulty that his mother-in-law was persuaded to stay behind.
After that Phyllis went off to see Mumtaz. The timing proved to be most fortunate. Mumtaz was pleased enough to see her for, apart from a perfunctory visit of sympathy from Indra, she had been feeling very neglected since Dick’s death. In particular, she was hurt that Mark had not bothered to visit her. Nevertheless, she could understand that recent events might have made him embarrassed at having anything to do with Dick or his appendages, and she was prepared to give him a little more time. However, it was while Phyllis was with her that there was broadcast the first news of Tom’s impending marriage, and Mark was quoted as having mentioned the tremendous benefits that would accrue to the nation from the comfort and support that Dulcie would be able to furnish to their leader. Mumtaz promptly told Phyllis that she was quite willing to be featured as a prominent participant in the march, and indeed to march as well if it were necessary.
Finally Phyllis went to the offices of Indra’s newspapers. The Editor-in-Chief had been told to expect her and was indeed extremely relieved by her news since the announcement of Tom’s engagement had threatened to overshadow the line they had been plugging. After some discussion it was decided to hold the rest in reserve, and to feature Mumtaz alone earnestly seeking peace for the nation in the midst of her own personal tribulations. It would be quite illuminating, they felt, to display photographs of her and Dulcie next to each other to illustrate the two very different stories that would constitute the headlines the next morning. Phyllis, it must be noted, wondered a bit about this, but the editor told her very definitely that Indra and Shiva had always allowed him a completely free hand…..