While Tintin and Martine slept together (in the most innocent sense of the term) the other friends, enemies and acquaintances milled about the departure lounge. Mrs. Wagg had succeeded in getting all her children to, if not go to sleep, sit quietly and fidget or read. This feat was then undone by Jocelyn who got up and walked over to Bianca Castafiore who was once again explaining to Lazlo Carredias that it would have been better for all concerned if they had taken a private plane and that even though Irma was quietly embroidering she was dying inside.
"So Miss Castafiore, if you hit a high enough note do you think that you could shatter glass?" inquired Jocelyn
"Don't bother the lady Jocelyn, it's not polite. I'm sorry Madame Castafiore." Mrs. Wagg called across the lounge
"Oh nonsense, the little darling isn't bothering me. Yes I can, I wish we had some champagne glasses to give a demonstration. Actually that's not a problem I can just shatter those things you're wearing." Carredias (fearing for his own glasses) mumbled something and rushed off.
"Never mind" said Jocelyn "I sort of need these to see."
"Well that's too bad cara mia, spectacles do nothing for you."
"That's exactly what I've been telling her." said Mrs. Wagg somewhat triumphantly. The baby had started crying and she was pacing around trying to get it to calm down. She walked over to try and prevent Jocelyn from irritating Bianca, who she was somewhat in awe of. She was so glamorous and got to travel all the time. She couldn't remember the last time that she'd been out of the country. Madame Castafiore also didn't have to deal with screaming babies or sarcastic teenagers, and she got to have a different man whenever she wanted one, ones who bought her fabulous jewels
but she suddenly caught herself and was embarrassed to be thinking such things.
"I know mom, but that's just your opinion and I'd prefer to stick with glasses."
"Madame Castafiore is a fashion icon Jocelyn, you shouldn't..." Bianca was unutterably pleased with this distinction.
"It's still just her opinion"
"Mrs. Drag, have you ever considered dying your hair blonde?" asked Bianca
"Why no, I don't think it'd suit me, I'm not chic enough to pull it off."
"You ought to, I once had unfortunate mousy hair like yours and I can't tell you how much better life is as a blonde."
Once again the baby decided to start shrieking and Mrs. Wagg did her best to calm it down but found that she really couldn't take it anymore.
"Jocelyn darling, would you take Julian for me? I'm at the end of my tether."
"No, he's your baby you shouldn't have had him if you didn't want to deal with him."
"I'm not just a free babysitter!"
"Don't be ridiculous"
"That's all you and dad, see in me, you don't care at all about what I'm interested in or want to do, just as long as I look after the precious little ones. Otherwise you don't care. Unless you want to tell me I'm doing something wrong. Well you pay enough attention to tell me that, dad doesn't give a shit." Jocelyn knew she shouldn't be saying this in public, she knew that her mother was tired and probably should be helped. But she meant everything she said and part of her felt that the only way to force her mother to acknowledge her was to make a scene.
Mrs. Wagg stuttered, exhaustion, humiliation and hurt preventing her from getting any words out. Bianca, instead of passing the judgment she so feared, came to her rescue.
"Here, let me take the bambino. Oh how adorable!" she promptly took the baby from the stunned Mrs. Wagg and managed to calm him down. As Jocelyn stalked off and Bianca cooed in Italian Mrs. Wagg stood and once again struggled for words.
"I do my best, that's all you can do." she mumbled. She wanted to say 'I'm not a bad mother, really I'm not' but that was one of those things that people long to say but simply don't sound right when articulated.
"Of course you do. Don't worry about her, it's a difficult age. There's no need to feel bad, you have so many to look after, why my parents had no time for me and it never did me any harm."
This time she was able to say exactly what she thought "Thank you Miss Castafiore, I needed to hear that." she sat down heavily and let the diva's chatter wash over her.
While Bianca convinced his wife of the merits of dying her hair blonde, Joylon Wagg was attempting to tell a story about a client who had claimed a double indemnity clause to Haddock who was thinking of the Billy Wilder film of the same name. To amuse himself he thought of Wagg trying to murder a client for his wife (for some reason she looked like Bianca Castafiore in Haddock's imagination instead of Barbara Stanwyck) and then commit insurance fraud and failing miserably. Professor Calculus had misunderstood something Wagg had said and was trying to explain how hybridization worked in regards to roses.
"You see it's a special clause for accidents that almost never happen..."
"No, no, no, you see there is no general law of sterility. Darwin recorded many instances to disprove this, I have myself in my experiments with pollination..."
"Well like accidents on a train for instance, but this bloke comes in and I says to myself 'Joylon...'"
"That's not what I said at all merely that before On the Origin of the Species it was assumed by biologists (naturalists as they were then called) that species were all distinct and followed a kind of platonic ideal. Therefore different kinds of plants and animals were not supposed to "blend together"(as if all life forms were paint that wasn't supposed to touch) and the sterility of hybrids was a way of keeping the species distinct..."
"'Joylon' I says to myself 'this bloke's on the level, couldn't think of a nicer chap' he says that his wife fell off of a train, seemed awful choked up about it. Anyway she'd had this insurance policy for years so I thought that it must be alright but I usually do. Our claims inspector on the other hand didn't and he follows it up and of course it turns out he pushed her, of all things. I was so shocked and here's where it all comes out?"
Haddock didn't really instead he simply quipped "Don't tell General Alcazar about that, he'll get ideas." Wagg laughed hysterically and Calculus turned on him in fury
"What about the sexual reproduction of flowers strikes you as comical?"
"Nothing old bean, calm down stop acting the goat." Wagg was not entirely sure what happened after that. He had a vision of a greenish blur bearing down on him and next thing he knew he was writhing on the floor. Before he had time to register that he had been struggling against the enraged Cuthbert Calculus the professor was pulled off of him by Haddock and another man he didn't recognize.
"ACTING THE GOAT AM I???"
"Cuthbert calm down!" yelled Haddock, 'Now why exactly did I pull Cuthbert off of Wagg?' he asked himself. 'I suppose I just have good instincts'
"How dare he say that I am 'acting the goat'? He's the goat!!!" but he had stopped struggling quiet so hard as he had been before.
"No one denies that. But that doesn't mean that you can just attack people in airports, even if they are Joylon Wagg." Haddock then became aware of the other man who had helped to restrain the professor. He was a dignified man who wore a green coat not dissimilar to Calculus's. His hair was white and he had a small beard and goatee. As Haddock introduced himself he felt that there was something very familiar about this man's sardonic expression and shrewd suspicious eyes.
"Haddock, Archibald Haddock."
"Sir Basil Bazarov at your service."
"Not the arms dealer?" now Haddock realized why he looked familiar
"Why yes, I know what you're thinking. I do so dislike conflict from which no on profits"
"Your daughter's around here somewhere."
"She's the one who's married to General Alcazar, the South American dictator."
Bazarov made a face like as if something nasty smelling had just passed him
"Oh god, Margaret. I suppose I shall have to talk to her at some point. Let me guess she wants more in the way of discounted weapons for that ridiculous pet caudillio of hers."
"I couldn't tell you. I don't know her that well."
"Then you're a lucky man Mr. Haddock."
"Captain Haddock, if you please."
"Oh I do beg your pardon" he said in his same sarcastic drawl. Calculus had stopped struggling and they let him go.
"Sir Basil, if you don't mind." Haddock did
"Sir Basil, this is Professor Cuthbert Calculus. Cuthbert this is Sir Basil Bazarov."
"Ahh yes" said Bazarov "I've corresponded with the professor. I originally thought him a man of no business sense and now he turns out to be a man of no common sense."
"No sir, it's called dousing and its very accurate." though he seemed his usual oblivious self anyone looking closely would have noticed the way his mouth twitched inadvertently.
They were then interrupted by Lazlo Carredias who had decided it was safe to come back and came over to say hello to Bazarov. The men exchanged greetings respectfully but not warmly.
"And what are you doing next sir? Come come, I know you always have a project." Inquired Carredias
"Well if you insist on asking I'm really trying to start a war between Syldavia and Borduria. It'll be tricky because they know that it'll just be one long stalemate, they're so evenly matched, but of course that's great for me in my particular line."
Carredias beamed "If anyone can do it he can" he said to Haddock and Calculus "I used to think I had to be just about the most evil person on the planet but when I met this man I realized that I didn't have a chance."