Dalgarno’s Truculence appeared in the Club’s broadsheet in 1934.
The artist Roy Dalgarno is wondering who this stranger at his table, Bob Wake, might be. He has yet to realise that Wake is a government spy.
The fact is, who knows anything about this man? This amiable big dog, who has simply settled here beside him, breathing and digesting. The big dog has a secret. Is he foreign? All of Sydney’s floating population, as Roy calls them, come to Pakie’s. It’s the place for fluid talkers. But Bob Wake isn’t careless in his talk. He enjoys and knows good music, he is known as something of a baritone. But what else is known? Roy feels the dreariness of talking for so long about himself. Annoyed with his own susceptibility.
“What do you do, then?” he asks, as if carelessly.
Wake doesn’t hesitate. The answer pops out on a little spring.
“Oh, quite. I should have said. I’m in the public service, don’t you know?”
And his eyes dilate as if he wants to show Roy everything he keeps inside. [RED, page 35]
Roy Dalgarno [photograph by Max Dupain]
The government spies Robert and Elizabeth Wake [from V. R. Wake, No Ribbons or Medals, Jacobyte Books, 2004]