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The man who had been listening from the next room stepped in. “I told you,” the man said, “he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. He just wants to sit it out.” Taylor shook his head. “Bloody hell,” he said.

PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY JANUARY 1943 Richard Carter paused before climbing the steps to his front porch, and cocked his head to one side, listening. He was a tall, gangly man wearing an oversized, ragged winter coat; his hair was thin and gray. With his head cocked, he bore an uncanny resemblance to a scarecrow. He couldn’t hear any sounds coming from inside the house. Perhaps Catherine was taking a nap, or perhaps she had gone out into town to do some shopping. He hoped it was the former. He didn’t think his news could wait. He trotted up the steps and burst through the front door, making as much noise as possible. If he could stir up enough racket, he thought, maybe he would be spared the responsibility of waking her. “Cat!” he bellowed. “Hello! Anybody home?” He walked a quick circuit through the living room, through the tiny dining room, into the kitchen, peeking out into the backyard. By the time he had returned to the foyer she was coming down the stairs, rubbing at her eyes blearily. “Darling,” he said, “come into the living room. I’ve got news. Wonderful news.” As she came off the lowest riser, he steered her, by the crook of her arm, into the living room. Bright winter sunshine, thick with dust, gushed in through a window. There was a lot of dust in the house; Catherine was not much of a housekeeper. She sat heavily on the couch. Richard looked down at her, trying to contain himself. He should really give her time to wake up. She could be moody, as he well knew, if she wasn’t given enough time to wake up. But he had just come from a meeting with the most brilliant men in the world—me, he thought, they chose me!—and proximity to such brilliance had set him on fire. He couldn’t help himself. He blurted it out. “Darling,” Richard said, “it’s a job. A phenomenal job.”

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