Picturing him now, and putting him beside Bland, Esterhase, even Alleline, it did truthfully seem to Smiley that all of them were to a great or small extent imperfect imitations of that one original, Haydon. That their affections were like steps towards the same unobtainable ideal of the rounded man, even if the idea was itself misconceived, or misplaced; even if Bill was utterly unworthy of it. Bland in his blunt impertinence, Esterhase in his lofty artificial Englishness, Alleline with his shallow gift of leadership: without Bill they were a disarray. Smiley also knew, or thought he knew - the idea came to him now as a mild enlightenment - that Bill in turn was also very little by himself: that while his admirers - Bland, Prideaux, Alleline, Esterhase, and all the rest of the supporters’ club - might find in him completeness, Bill’s real trick was to use them, to live through them to complete himself; here a piece, there a piece, from their passive identities: thus disguising the fact that he was less, far less, than the sum of his apparent qualities… and finally submerging this dependence beneath an artist’s arrogance, calling them the creatures of his mind…
George Smiley on Bill Haydon (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
His butchered agents in Morocco, his exile to Brixton, the daily frustration of his efforts as daily he grew older and youth slipped through his fingers; the drabness that was closing round him; the truncation of his power to love, enjoy and laugh; the constant erosion of the plain, heroic standards he wished to live by; the checks and stops he imposed on himself in the name of tacit dedication; he could fling them all in Haydon’s sneering face. Haydon, once his confessor; Haydon, always good for a laugh, a chat and a cup of burnt coffee; Haydon, a model on which he built his life.
More, far more. Now that he saw, he knew. Haydon was more than his model, he was his inspiration, the torch-bearer of a certain kind of antiquated romanticism, a notion of English calling which - for the very reason that it was vague and understated and elusive - had made sense of Guillam’s life till now. In that moment, Guillam felt not merely betrayed; but orphaned.
Peter Guillam on Bill Haydon (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
It’s like the State and the People. The State is a dream too, a symbol of nothing at all, an emptiness, a mind without a body, a game played with clouds in the sky. But States make war, don’t they, and imprison people? To dream in doctrines— how tidy! My husband and I have both been tidied now, haven’t we?” She was looking at him steadily. Her accent was more noticeable now. “You call yourself the State, Mr. Smiley; you have no place among real people. You dropped a bomb from the sky: don’t come down here and look at the blood, or hear the scream.
John le Carré. Call for the Dead: A George Smiley Novel (via aevumaeternum)