THE SHADE OF J. BALLANTINE HANNAY 245
said, "Oh no, I wouldn't say that. The stock went down a bit, but it's
gone up again, you know." He looked disappointed. "That's probably
partly because General Electric have stated they have no designs on the
gem market," I added.
"I don't care about gems," he said impatiently. "They're just nonsense; that side of the industry's purely freak."
"Oh, come now," I began, but he continued rapidly:
the way they hold back their industrials that's always been so bad, and
now General Electric's making them. The diamond people are finished!
Don't they know they're finished?"
repeated that I hadn't noticed much perturbation at the Anglo American
offices. I said, too, that nobody had been holding back production of
industrials: this made him very impatient indeed. "Of course they
have; it's common knowledge. There's all that undeveloped land in
Sierra Leone, for instance. The General Electric diamond has changed
everything, can't they understand? Of course it still costs a lot more
than an industrial from the mines, but that's only a matter of time.
It's only twice as costly, even now; that's a tremendous achievement."
He became thoughtful, almost dreamy. "It's the fact that they've
conquered the process, though, that is so exciting," he said. "To be
able to attain those pressures and maintain them indefinitely! Why,
there's no limit now to what we might find out. Not only about
diamonds. I'm not interested in diamonds for themselves. No, the
important thing about this is the process." He came to himself. "The Hannay specimens. I'll get them while you glance over that book," he said.
He came back carrying in his hand a shallow box about twice the width of a matchbox, with a glass top. He opened it. Two