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Sir Alexander Heathcote was an exact man. 32 ______ people were like him. He was exactly six feet three-and-a-quarter inches tall, rose at seven o'clock every morning, joined his wife at breakfast to eat one boiled egg cooked for precisely four minutes, two pieces of toast with one spoonful of Cooper's marmalade, and drink one cup of China tea. He used to take a carriage from his home in Cadogan Gardens at exactly 8:20 and 33 ______ at the Foreign Office at promptly 8:59, returning home again on the stroke of six o'clock.
Sir Alexander had been exact from an early age, as he was the only son of a general. But, unlike his father, he chose to serve his queen in the diplomatic service, another exacting calling. He 34 ______ in progressing from a shared desk at the Foreign Office in Whitehall to third secretary in Calcutta to minister in Peking. He was delighted when Mr. Gladstone 35 ______ the opportunity to represent the government in China. For some time he had been 36 ______ in the art of the Ming dynasty. This appointment would present him a perfect chance of 37 ______ in their natural habitat some of the great statues, paintings and drawings he had previously been able to admire only in books.
When he arrived in Beijing, Her Imperial Highness wished him a successful term of office in his appointment and then the audience 38 ______ to an end.