“She’ll page him for you,” says the receptionist to Thornhill, handing him a paper.
“Thank you very much,” replies Thornhill.
“You’re welcome, Mister Kaplan,” replies the receptionist. He heads for the Public Lounge.
In the reception area, there is a crowd of visitors.
“Mister Bernatti, of the Swiss Observers’ Office, Mister Bernatti, of the Swiss Observers’ Office,” intones a page over the intercom.
“Would you page Mister Lester Townsend, please?” asks Thornhill of the operator, who is seated at a desk. He hands her the paper from the receptionist.
“Certainly, Mister Kaplan,” replies the operator. She keys her microphone.
“Mister Townsend of UNIPO, Mister Townsend of UNIPO,” says the operator, “please call at the communications desk of the Public Lounge.”
Valerian appears at the entranceway to the lounge. He spots Thornhill, and slowly puts on a pair of leather gloves.
“Mister Townsend of UNIPO, Mister Townsend of UNIPO,” repeats the operator, “please call at the communications desk of the Public Lounge.”
“Miss Knox, of Ceylon,” pages another operator, “United States Secretary, please.”
“You paged me?” asks Townsend at the desk.
“Mister Kaplan?” says the operator.
“Yes?” says Thornhill.
“You wanted to see Mister Townsend?” asks the operator.
“Yes,” replies Thornhill.
“This is Mister Townsend,” explains the operator. Townsend looks nothing like the “Townsend” Thornhill met the previous night.
“How do you do, Mister Kaplan,” says Townsend, shaking Thornhill’s hand. Thornhill looks at the operator.
“This isn’t Mister Townsend,” says Thornhill.
Townsend laughs. “Yes it is!” he says.