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20. CHAPTER XX (continued)
"We must try to consider ourselves rather in the light of a telephone exchange--for the exchange of ideas, Miss Datchet," he said; and taking pleasure in his image, he continued it. "We should consider ourselves the center of an enormous system of wires, connecting us up with every district of the country. We must have our fingers upon the pulse of the community; we want to know what people all over England are thinking; we want to put them in the way of thinking rightly." The system, of course, was only roughly sketched so far--jotted down, in fact, during the Christmas holidays.
"When you ought to have been taking a rest, Mr. Clacton," said Mary dutifully, but her tone was flat and tired.
"We learn to do without holidays, Miss Datchet," said Mr. Clacton, with a spark of satisfaction in his eye.
He wished particularly to have her opinion of the lemon-colored leaflet. According to his plan, it was to be distributed in immense quantities immediately, in order to stimulate and generate, "to generate and stimulate," he repeated, "right thoughts in the country before the meeting of Parliament."
"We have to take the enemy by surprise," he said. "They don't let the grass grow under their feet. Have you seen Bingham's address to his constituents? That's a hint of the sort of thing we've got to meet, Miss Datchet."
He handed her a great bundle of newspaper cuttings, and, begging her to give him her views upon the yellow leaflet before lunch-time, he turned with alacrity to his different sheets of paper and his different bottles of ink.
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