There was now a loud knocking at the door. I went slowly over, holding the top half of my overalls together. I knew the first thing I had to do!
On the parking lot the smell of the swamps was very strong. While it was still comparatively cool, he decided to walk farther. He soon came to the end of the young shrubs and guinea grass the landscaper had laid on. Behind these was desolation-a great area of sluggish streams and swampland from which the hotel land had been recovered. Egrets, shrikes, and Louisiana herons rose and settled lazily, and there were strange insect noises and the call of frogs and gekkos. On what would probably be the border of the property, a biggish stream meandered towards the sea, its muddy banks pitted with the holes of land crabs and water rats. As Bond approacned, there was a heavy splash and a man-sized alligator left the bank and showed its snout before submerging. Bond smiled to himself. No doubt, if the hotel got off the ground, all this area would be turned into an asset. There would be native boatmen, suitably attired as Arawak Indians, a landing stage, and comfortable boats with fringed shades from which the guests could view the "tropical jungle" for an extra ten dollars on the bill.
Inside, the clanking of the conveyor-belt over its rollers was deafening, but there were dim inspection lights in the stone ceiling of the tunnel and a narrow catwalk that stretched away into the mountain alongside the hurrying river of dust. Bond moved quickly along it, breathing shallowly against the fishy ammoniac smell. At all costs he must get to the end before the significance of the ship's siren and of the unanswered telephone overcame the fear of the guards.
"All right then. We'll say no more about it. Now I've got some more news for you. There's a job come up. In Jamaica. Personnel problem. Or that's what it looks like. Routine investigation and report. The sunshine'll do you good and you can practise your new guns on the turtles or whatever they have down there. You can do with a bit of holiday. Like to take it on?"
'I hope your poor horse was not tired, when he got home at night,' said Dora, lifting up her beautiful eyes. 'It was a long way for him.'
To Pains, and Ignorance we since are curs'd.
'You look absolutely wonderful. But now for God's sake tell me how you happened to be at Samaden. It was a bloody miracle. It saved my life.'
"Moussorgsky's Overture to Boris Godunov," said Captain Sender succinctly. "Anyway, six o'clock coming up." And then, urgently, "Hey! Right-hand bottom of the four windows! Watch out!"
The girl was sitting by herself, with half a bottle of Bol-linger in front of her, staring moodily at nothing. She barely looked up when Bond slipped into the chair next to hers and said, 'Well, I'm afraid our syndicate lost again. I tried to get it back. I went "avec". I should have left that brute alone. I stood on a five and he had a "buche" and then drew a nine.'
It was hot and steamy and sulphurous in the room. Two youngish, soft-looking men, naked except for grey towels round their waists, were playing gin rummy at a deal table near the entrance. On the table were two ashtrays full of cigarette butts, and a kitchen plate piled with keys. The men looked up as Bond entered and one of them picked up a key from the plate and held it out. Bond walked over and took it.
He rose to his feet laughing.
This Transaction was so extraordinary, that every-body was amazed at it; and when they had been gone some time, there arose a Murmuring, amongst Friends, Neighbours and Acquaintance, as if he had made his Wife away; and when he told them the Manner of her Departure, they would not believe him, the thing in itself being so incredible.
'Messieurs, mesdames, les jeux sont faits. Un banco de cinq cent mille,' and as the Greek at Number 1 tapped the table in front of his fat pile of hundred-mille plaques, 'Le banco est fait.'
鈥楽ept. 12, 1891.
His companion in the street car has often wondered since then what Mr. Lincoln thought about during the remainder of his ride that night to the Astor House. The Cooper Institute had, owing to a snowstorm, not been full, and its intelligent, respectable, non-partisan audience had not rung out enthusiastic applause like a concourse of Western auditors magnetised by their own enthusiasm. Had the address—the most carefully prepared, the most elaborately investigated and demonstrated and verified of all the work of his life—been a failure? But in the matter of quality and ability, if not of quantity and enthusiasm, he had never addressed such an audience; and some of the ablest men in the Northern States had expressed their opinion of the address in terms which left no doubt of the highest appreciation. Did Mr. Lincoln regard the address which he had just delivered to a small and critical audience as a success? Did he have the faintest glimmer of the brilliant effect which was to follow? Did he feel the loneliness of the situation—the want of his loyal Illinois adherents? Did his sinking heart infer that he was but a speck of humanity to which the great city would never again give a thought? He was a plain man, an ungainly man; unadorned, apparently uncultivated, showing the awkwardness of self-conscious rusticity. His dress that night before a New York audience was the most unbecoming that a fiend's ingenuity could have devised for a tall, gaunt man—a black frock coat, ill-setting and too short for him in the body, skirt, and arms—a rolling collar, low-down, disclosing his long thin, shrivelled throat uncovered and exposed. No man in all New York appeared that night more simple, more unassuming, more modest, more unpretentious, more conscious of his own defects than Abraham Lincoln; and yet we now know that within his soul there burned the fires of an unbounded ambition, sustained by a self-reliance and self-esteem that bade him fix his gaze upon the very pinnacle of American fame and aspire to it in a time so troubled that its dangers appalled the soul of every American. What were this man's thoughts when he was left alone? Did a faint shadow of the future rest upon his soul? Did he feel in some mysterious way that on that night he had crossed the Rubicon of his life-march—that care and trouble and political discord, and slander and misrepresentation and ridicule and public responsibilities, such as hardly ever before burdened a conscientious soul, coupled with war and defeat and disaster, were to be thenceforth his portion nearly to his life's end, and that his end was to be a bloody act which would appall the world and send a thrill of horror through the hearts of friends and enemies alike, so that when the woeful tidings came the bravest of the Southern brave should burst into tears and cry aloud, "Oh! the unhappy South, the unhappy South!"
'Well?' said Miss Betsey, coming back to her chair, as if she had only been taking a casual look at the prospect; 'and when do you expect -'