There are three significant cab rides in The Secret Agent. One involves the Assistant Commissioner and his police work during a murky London night. Descending from his office into the street, as if into “a slimy aquarium,” he moves around like a “queer foreign fish.” He then takes a horse-drawn cab to a remote area of London. The drive ends abruptly, “nowhere in particular.” After paying his fare, the Assistant Commissioner slips away and leaves an “effect of uncanny, eccentric ghostliness upon the driver’s mind.” This effect passes when the cabman notices that the size of the coin in his hand is satisfactory. The short scene gothicizes the night town and creates an “immoral atmosphere” in which the Commissioner seems to lose “some more of his identity” and feels impelled by a sense of “evil freedom” (p. 148). The second cab ride, from Soho to a train station, involves Ossipon and Winnie Verloc. Though shocked at Winnie’s murder of her husband, Ossipon is business-like and unscrupulous enough to elicit information about her money and trap her into trusting in his plan to flee to the continent. After forsaking her, he walks aimlessly through “the enormous town slumbering monstrously on a carpet of mud under a veil of raw mist” (p. 300), and embodies – far more than the Commissioner – the evil spirit of the city. The third cab ride is occasioned by the voluntary removal of Stevie’s mother from her home in Soho to a charity cottage in South London. Stevie and his sister accompany her. The young man, who is at least 21 years old, sits beside the maimed cabby, pities the weak, old horse, and protests against its being whipped. Later, he gets down from the box in order to ease the horse’s task. He is, however, told by his sister to remount and stay on the cab until it reaches its destination.
|Ausgabe / Jahr:||2 / 2006|
Seiten 276 - 292
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