The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

by

John Le Carré

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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Leamas goes to lunch with Ashe the next day, arriving unshaved and smelling of whisky. Ashe gives him a check and they eat a luxurious lunch. Ashe tells Leamas that a friend of his, Sam Kiever, has gotten him some very high-paying work writing articles for foreign newspapers in foreign languages. When Leamas asks no follow-up questions, Ashe asks Leamas what he does, and whether Leamas was “one of the mysterious cold warriors” when in Berlin. Leamas blushes and says he was “an office boy for the bloody Yanks.” Ashe says Leamas should meet Sam and that he should come stay at his place.
Ashe is testing Leamas, seeing how he reacts to the temptations of good food and money. He is also testing Leamas to see whether he will maintain the secrecy he owes to the Circus. Leamas’s response does not fully reveal that he worked for the British secret service, but neither does it deny that he was involved with the Western powers controlling Berlin. Instead, it underlines the impression that Leamas is resentful about his past.
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Ashe brings Leamas back to his apartment, which is generic and hardly decorated. Ashe says Leamas should rest while he goes grocery shopping. When Ashe has left, Leamas makes a phone call. He asks for the secretary of a “Mr. Thomas” and tells her that he is calling on behalf of Mr. Sam Kiever, who has accepted the invitation and hopes to contact Mr. Thomas that evening. Leamas gives the secretary Ashe’s address. Then, after asking some questions at Ashe’s apartment’s reception desk, Leamas takes a nap. He falls asleep wondering what has happened to Liz.
Leamas follows spy protocols, checking in with the Circus through mysterious channels to let them know the name of the man he is supposed to meet with that night: Sam Kiever. He also does his best to learn more about Ashe’s real identity from the person at the reception desk. Just from looking at the sparse apartment, Leamas guesses that it is not really where Ashe lives, but a place that has been rented expressly so that he can bring Leamas there.
Themes
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Ashe returns with Sam Kiever, an older man with a central European accent. They go out for dinner, where Leamas says hostile things about Americans. Afterwards, they go to a strip club. On the way there, Leamas demands to know who will be paying for everything, acting suspicious. Ashe says he will pay, and looks worried. At the club, however, Leamas grabs Ashe’s membership card out of his hand, then pays the guest fee for himself and Kiever. Leamas confronts Ashe, saying that Ashe has been following him since he was released from prison and that both his membership card at the club and his apartment are registered under the name of “Murphy.” Kiever steps in, telling Ashe that he will handle Leamas from here. Ashe leaves.
Leamas acts suspicious and erratic, then reveals that he has been snooping around, figuring out that Ashe is not really who he says he is and demanding answers for why Ashe has been following him and what he wants. It is not, however, Ashe’s role to reveal this to Leamas, but Kiever’s role. Both Kiever and Ashe are spies sent to play a specific part, although it is not yet clear what they are planning. Throughout, Leamas signals that he is concerned about money, both about having it and about accepting it under false pretenses.
Themes
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Kiever tells Leamas that his agency will pay for “factual material” into foreign bank accounts without bothering about taxes. Leamas thinks to himself that “they” are coming on strong now, and that they would know that he had a lot of resentments, but might fear being prosecuted by his Service. He says that he would need a lot of money to agree. Kiever promises him fifteen thousand pounds and another five thousand a year later, and tells him that he will not need to write anything down, but only to tell the “client” what he knows. Kiever tells him the meeting will occur in Holland. Kiever pays the bill and takes Leamas back to another generic-looking apartment. Leamas asks if it is “paid for by the great Worker State,” and Kiever angrily tells him to shut up. The next morning, Kiever gives Leamas a fake passport and they set off.
Until Leamas asks about the “Worker State” (the U.S.S.R.), the two men speak only in euphemisms, but both understand what is being discussed. Kiever is proposing that Leamas become a defector, promising him money to tell all he knows about the Circus and its operations. As he decides how to react to what Kiever is saying, Leamas ponders what reaction Kiever will expect of him and how he should conform to that expectation or break with it. Leamas is defecting and acting bitter while he does it, but this is most likely part of the plan he hatched with Control and Smiley to eventually take down Mundt.
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