"I was offered three million on the train."
My two elder brothers had been sent as day-boarders to Harrow School from the bigger house, and may probably have been received among the aristocratic crowd — not on equal terms, because a day-boarder at Harrow in those days was never so received — but at any rate as other day-boarders. I do not suppose that they were well treated, but I doubt whether they were subjected to the ignominy which I endured. I was only seven, and I think that boys at seven are now spared among their more considerate seniors. I was never spared; and was not even allowed to run to and fro between our house and the school without a daily purgatory. No doubt my appearance was against me. I remember well, when I was still the junior boy in the school, Dr. Butler, the head-master, stopping me in the street, and asking me, with all the clouds of Jove upon his brow and the thunder in his voice, whether it was possible that Harrow School was disgraced by so disreputably dirty a boy as I! Oh, what I felt at that moment! But I could not look my feelings. I do not doubt that I was dirty — but I think that he was cruel. He must have known me had he seen me as he was wont to see me, for he was in the habit of flogging me constantly. Perhaps he did not recognise me by my face.
The kling-klings eyed the cake stand and complained stridently that their supper was over. James Bond produced twopence and handed it over. "They're wonderful. Like mechanical toys. Give them a second course from me."
It was many years since James Bond had accepted a dare. He felt the eyes of The Group on him. What he had drunk had made him careless-perhaps wanting to show off, like the man at the party who insists on playing the drums. Stupidly, he wanted to assert his personality over this bunch of tough guys who rated him insignificant. He didn't stop to think that it was bad tactics, that he would be better off being the ineffectual limey. He said, "All right, Mr. Scaramanga. Give me a hundred dollar bill and your gun."
IT is an intoxicating moment in a love-affair when, for the first time, in a public place, in a restaurant or a theatre, the man puts his hand down and lays it on the thigh of the girl and when she slips her hand over his and presses the man's hand against her. The two gestures say everything that can be said. All is agreed. All the pacts are signed. And there is a long minute of silence during which the blood sings. It was eleven o'clock and there was-only a scattering of people left in the corners of the Veranda Grill, There was a soft sighing from the moonlit sea outside as the great liner scythed the black meadow of the Atlantic and, in the stern, only the slightest lope in her stride indicated a long soft swell, the slow, twelve-a-minute heart-beat of a sleeping ocean, to the two people sitting close together behind the pink-shaded light.
I don’t know if I actually crossed a finish line. All I saw was a pig-tailed blur as Jenn came flyingout of the crowd, knocking me staggering. Eric caught me before I hit the ground and pushed acold bottle of water against the back of my neck. Arnulfo and Scott, their eyes already bloodshot,pushed a beer into each of my hands.
He smiled at me. "You wouldn't rather switch on the television?"