DAWN was a beautiful haze of gold and blue. Bond went outside and ate his bean curd and rice and drank his tea sitting on the spotless doorstep of the little cut-stone and timbered house, while indoors the family chattered like happy sparrows as the women went about their housework.
The second invasion of Tennessee by the army of Hood, rendered possible by the march of Sherman to the sea, appeared for the moment to threaten the control that had been secured of the all-important region of which Nashville was the centre, but Hood's march could only be described as daring but futile. He had no base and no supplies. His advance did some desperate fighting at the battle of Franklin and succeeded in driving back the rear-guard of Thomas's army, ably commanded by General Schofield, but the Confederate ranks were so seriously shattered that when they took position in front of Nashville they no longer had adequate strength to make the siege of the city serious even as a threat. Thomas had only to wait until his own preparations were completed and then, on the same day in December on which Sherman was entering Savannah, Thomas, so to speak, "took possession" of Hood's army. After the fight at Nashville, there were left of the Confederate invaders only a few scattered divisions.
The telephone screamed at him. "That you, Bond? Vallance here. Seen anything of Miss Brand?"
鈥極n returning home, to prepare to go out to Miss Hoernle鈥檚, how surprised鈥擨 may say almost shocked鈥攚as I, on looking in my glass! A big black smutch on my nose; another on my chin; and another on my thumb. Washing was of no avail; salts of lemon none; chloride of lime none; soap useless! I could not help laughing, I was such a figure; and my Ayah laughed too. I determined to give it to Herbert roundly for putting me up to make such a fright of myself.... As soon as I could get hold of my naughty nephew, who was playing at lawn tennis as happily as if nothing had happened, I scolded him in Miss Hoernle鈥檚 presence as hard as I could,鈥攃onsidering that both of us were laughing. At last my wrath blazed into verse:鈥擖br>
When, at nine o'clock, he awoke and threw open his windows, the sky was overcast with the heavy blank grey that meant snow. Over by the Berghaus, the Schneefinken, and Schneevogel, the snow-finches and Alpine choughs, that lived on the crumbs and left-overs of the picnickers, were fluttering and swooping close round the building - a sure storm-warning. The wind had got up and was blowing in sharp, threatening gusts, and no whine of machinery came from the cable railway. The light aluminium gondolas would have too bad a time in winds of this strength, particularly over the last great swoop of cable that brought them a good quarter of a mile over the exposed shoulder beneath the plateau.
Now was the moment when it would be the end of the game if Bond made a mistake, let his man off the hook. He had a slightly downhill lie, otherwise an easy chip - but to the trickiest green on the course. Bond played it like a man. The ball ended six feet from the pin. Goldfinger played well out of his bunker, but missed the longish putt. Now Bond was only one down.
Krebs's body cringed, but, as Bond raised his arm again, he suddenly shot up from the floor and dived under the descending bottle. The blow caught him hard on the shoulder, but it didn't check his momentum and he was out of the door and halfway down the corridor before Bond started in pursuit.
James Bond was tremendously excited as he stepped over the threshold and heard the door sigh shut behind him. He knew what not to expect, the original Blofeld, last year's model - about twenty stone, tall, pale, bland face with black crew-cut, black eyes with the whites showing all round, like Mussolini's, ugly thin mouth, long pointed hands and feet but he had no idea what alterations had been contrived on the envelope that contained the man.
One mast was broken short off, six or eight feet from the deck, and lay over the side, entangled in a maze of sail and rigging; and all that ruin, as the ship rolled and beat - which she did without a moment's pause, and with a violence quite inconceivable - beat the side as if it would stave it in. Some efforts were even then being made, to cut this portion of the wreck away; for, as the ship, which was broadside on, turned towards us in her rolling, I plainly descried her people at work with axes, especially one active figure with long curling hair, conspicuous among the rest. But a great cry, which was audible even above the wind and water, rose from the shore at this moment; the sea, sweeping over the rolling wreck, made a clean breach, and carried men, spars, casks, planks, bulwarks, heaps of such toys, into the boiling surge.
Major Dexter Smythe, O.B.E., Royal Marines (Retd.), was the remains of a once brave and resourceful officer and of a handsome man who had had the sexual run of his teeth all his life, particularly among the Wrens and Wracs and ATS who manned the communications and secretariat of the very special task force to which he had been attached at the end of his service career. Now he was fifty-four and slightly bald, and his belly sagged in his Jantzen trunks. And he had had two coronary thromboses, the second (the "second warning" as his doctor, Jimmy Greaves, who had been one of their high poker game at Prince's Club when Dexter Smythe had first come to Jamaica, had half jocularly put it) only a month before. But, in his well-chosen clothes, with his varicose veins out of sight, and with his stomach flattened by a discreet support belt behind an immaculate cummerbund, he was still a fine figure of a man at a cocktail party or dinner on the North Shore. And it was a mystery to his friends and neighbors why, in defiance of the two ounces of whiskey and the ten cigarettes a day to which his doctor had rationed him, he persisted in smoking like a chimney and going to bed drunk, if amiably drunk, every night.
In writing a novel the author soon becomes aware that a burden of many pages is before him. Circumstances require that he should cover a certain and generally not a very confined space. Short novels are not popular with readers generally. Critics often complain of the ordinary length of novels — of the three volumes to which they are subjected; but few novels which have attained great success in England have been told in fewer pages. The novel-writer who sticks to novel-writing as his profession will certainly find that this burden of length is incumbent on him. How shall he carry his burden to the end? How shall he cover his space? Many great artists have by their practice opposed the doctrine which I now propose to preach — but they have succeeded I think in spite of their fault and by dint of their greatness. There should be no episodes in a novel. Every sentence, every word, through all those pages, should tend to the telling of the story. Such episodes distract the attention of the reader, and always do so disagreeably. Who has not felt this to be the case even with The Curious Impertinent and with the History of the Man of the Hill. And if it be so with Cervantes and Fielding, who can hope to succeed? Though the novel which you have to write must be long, let it be all one. And this exclusion of episodes should be carried down into the smallest details. Every sentence and every word used should tend to the telling of the story. “But,” the young novelist will say, “with so many pages before me to be filled, how shall I succeed if I thus confine myself — how am I to know beforehand what space this story of mine will require? There must be the three volumes, or the certain number of magazine pages which I have contracted to supply. If I may not be discursive should occasion require, how shall I complete my task? The painter suits the size of his canvas to his subject, and must I in my art stretch my subject to my canas?” This undoubtedly must be done by the novelist; and if he will learn his business, may be done without injury to his effect. He may not paint different pictures on the same canvas, which he will do if he allow himself to wander away to matters outside his own story; but by studying proportion in his work, he may teach himself so to tell his story that it shall naturally fall into the required length. Though his story should be all one, yet it may have many parts. Though the plot itself may require but few characters, it may be so enlarged as to find its full development in many. There may be subsidiary plots, which shall all tend to the elucidation of the main story, and which will take their places as part of one and the same work — as there may be many figures on a canvas which shall not to the spectator seem to form themselves into separate pictures.
PUNCTUALLY AT nine the next morning Bond got on to the Chief of Staff: 'James here. I've had a look at the property. Been all over it. Had dinner last night with the owner. I can say pretty well for certain that the managing director's view is right. Something definitely wrong about the property. Not enough facts to send you a surveyor's report.
'Mine's Bond - James Bond.'