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A few more hours pass, and Lily begins to realise that her staying on serves even less purpose than she had hoped. People who come to view the fast have looked at her as though she were responsible for cheating them when they were told that John has been kidnapped. The newspapers will do too little, if at all, too late, she realizes, to counteract the effect of the leaflets, or perhaps of a cynicism that has now begun to be generally prevalent when the actions of officials or former officials are in question. The kidnapping is thought to have been prearranged; John’s supreme act of self-sacrifice has sunk without a trace.

It is when Lily is feeling very low indeed that Phyllis appears. She had heard the news some time ago, and had spent a short while thinking. Then she had put the three boys from the beach into the back of her Range Rover and had gone off to see Mumtaz. Most of the morning papers had given prominent coverage to the impending marriage between Tom and Dulcie, and Mumtaz had been in a mood for action. She had piled into the vehicle too, and then they had gone off to see Lily. It had not taken long to persuade her to join them as well.

Before setting off for the Village, however, they had gone to the offices of Indra’s newspapers and laid out several photographs. What with John’s fast and Tom’s marriage, the march had received little prominence that morning, except of course for the photograph of Mumtaz juxtaposed against that of Dulcie, Dick’s two wives, the bereaved one now forgotten, the other about the marry her brother-in-law, the President. Phyllis, who had worried about that suggestiveness the day before, now had no qualms at all. Indeed, she felt they had not gone far enough this time, in that they had not included a picture of Dick. On the morrow, there would be no mistake. Tom’s wedding, of course, would have to be reported, but most of the front page would be taken up rather with pictures of those who had suffered, Dick and Shiva and John and the three boys from the beach and Lily and Mumtaz, and Harry too of course, to highlight next to the notice of the celebration all that had been lost…..

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