«In some ways,» admitted the Overlord gravely. «In others, perhaps a better analogy can be found in the history of your colonial powers. The Roman and British Empires, for that reason, have always been of considerable interest to us. The main difference between us and the British in India was that they had no real motives for going there – no conscious objectives, that is, except such trivial and temporary ones as trade or hostility to other European powers. They found themselves possessors of an Empire before they knew what to do with it, and were never really happy until they had got rid of it again.»

«And will you,» asked Dr. Sen, quite unable to resist the opportunity, «get rid of your empire when the time arises?»

«Without the slightest hesitation,» replied the Inspector.