The train trundled through Brandenburg Station. Now there were scores of bodies - men, women, children, soldiers. The platform was scribbled with them, faces upwards to the roof, down in the dust, cradled sideways. Bond searched for movement, for an inquisitive eye, for a twitching hand. Nothing! Wait! What was that? Thinly through the closed window there came a soft, mewing wail. Three perambulators stood against the ticket office, the mothers collapsed beside them. Of course! The babies in the perambulators would have drunk milk, not the deadly water.
She smiled tremulously. "It's nice to feel carpet under one's feet."
WESTSIDER ROGER SESSIONS
This consciousness of wrong has induced in many enthusiastic but unbalanced minds a desire to set all things right by a proclaimed equality. In their efforts such men have shown how powerless they are in opposing the ordinances of the Creator. For the mind of the thinker and the student is driven to admit, though it be awestruck by apparent injustice, that this inequality is the work of God. Make all men equal to-day, and God has so created them that they shall be all unequal to-morrow. The so-called Conservative, the conscientious, philanthropic Conservative, seeing this, and being surely convinced that such inequalities are of divine origin, tells himself that it is his duty to preserve them. He thinks that the preservation of the welfare of the world depends on the maintenance of those distances between the prince and the peasant by which he finds himself to be surrounded; and, perhaps, I may add, that the duty is not unpleasant, as he feels himself to be one of the princes.
Goldfinger pressed Bond's hand briefly and pushed it away from him. It was another mannerism of the millionaire subconsciously afraid of'the touch'. He looked hard at Bond. He said enigmatically, 'I shouldn't be at all surprised, Mr Bond.'
Tiger turned to Bond. 'You understand that it is nighttime. In a few days, you will have to be doing something similar. Note that the lengths of rope terminate in an iron hook which they throw up and catch in crevices between the stone blocks.' The instructor said something to Tiger and pointed. Tiger nodded. He said to Bond, 'The man at the end is the weakest of the team. The instructor thinks he will soon fall.'
Derek laughed. "Perhaps you're right. Anyway, the grass is just as soft. Aren't you excited? You'll see. It's wonderful. Then we'll really be lovers."
I sat listening for a long while, but there was not a sound. I crawled up from the floor, and saw my face in the glass, so swollen, red, and ugly that it almost frightened me. My stripes were sore and stiff, and made me cry afresh, when I moved; but they were nothing to the guilt I felt. It lay heavier on my breast than if I had been a most atrocious criminal, I dare say.
Hope, they said, might even permit itself a higher though a precarious flight. For some of the most adept forwards had claimed that in their most lucid moments they had seen something more. They had seen that in spite of the precarious existence of the snowflake universes and of the conscious beings within them, these beings themselves, when they attained mature spiritual stature, acquired very formidable powers. The pioneering forwards claimed that, in terms of the inadequate image, they had sometimes seen a brief but dazzling effulgence blaze up within some snowflake, like the brilliance of a new star. So brilliant might this conflagration be that it illuminated the whole wide snowfield. When this happened, the ‘titans’, seemingly terrified by the sudden light, fled in all directions, away from its source. Some of them were even annihilated by the radiance, like the shades of night at sunrise. Clearly, then, the right course for every intelligent world was to strive for that brilliance of the spirit. Clearly this alone could overcome the ‘titans’. Clearly what was most lovely and precious, though commonly so frail, was also, in the fullness of its growth, the mightiest power of all. But this power, intensified to such a pitch that it could destroy the ‘titans’, was not the power of a few individuals exploring in isolation; it was the power of a whole race, of a whole conscious world, perhaps of a whole cosmos, united in most intimate spiritual communion. And such power was not to be attained without the utmost racial dedication.
One power alone in all the world now remained to be brought within the Russian grasp, and this was potentially the greatest power of all, namely China. It was in the relations between Russia and China that the discrepancy in my experience first became evident, and the two parallel histories of mankind emerged. Since these two great peoples bulk so largely in my story, I shall dwell for a while on the forces which had moulded them.
'You must go now,' said Vesper when Bond had slept for a while in her arms.
It didn't seem funny to me. "But what about your shirt?"
There was such surprising fervour in her voice that Bond watched Irma Bunt's face. What was that matronly gleam in her eye as she gave her approval? It was more than approval for a good appetite among her charges. There was enthusiasm, even triumph there. Odd! And it happened again when Violet stipulated plenty of potatoes with her tournedos. 'I simply love potatoes,' she explained to Bond, her eyes shining. 'Don't you?'
Generally, but not always. Sometimes brighter visions rise before me. When I dress (the occupation of two hours), for a great ball given at the Larkins's (the anticipation of three weeks), I indulge my fancy with pleasing images. I picture myself taking courage to make a declaration to Miss Larkins. I picture Miss Larkins sinking her head upon my shoulder, and saying, 'Oh, Mr. Copperfield, can I believe my ears!' I picture Mr. Larkins waiting on me next morning, and saying, 'My dear Copperfield, my daughter has told me all. Youth is no objection. Here are twenty thousand pounds. Be happy!' I picture my aunt relenting, and blessing us; and Mr. Dick and Doctor Strong being present at the marriage ceremony. I am a sensible fellow, I believe - I believe, on looking back, I mean - and modest I am sure; but all this goes on notwithstanding. I repair to the enchanted house, where there are lights, chattering, music, flowers, officers (I am sorry to see), and the eldest Miss Larkins, a blaze of beauty. She is dressed in blue, with blue flowers in her hair - forget-me-nots - as if SHE had any need to wear forget-me-nots. It is the first really grown-up party that I have ever been invited to, and I am a little uncomfortable; for I appear not to belong to anybody, and nobody appears to have anything to say to me, except Mr. Larkins, who asks me how my schoolfellows are, which he needn't do, as I have not come there to be insulted.
"Yes, Miss." There was a hint of disapproval at my levity. He turned to his companion, who had clipped back the microphone to the set behind his saddle. "O'Donnell, take a look round, would you?"
It was strange and lovely to be back after nearly six years. My aunt said she could hardly recognize me, and I was certainly surprised by Quebec. When I had left it, the fortress had seemed vast and majestic. Now it seemed like a large toy edifice out of Disneyland. Where it had been awesome, I found, irreverently, that it looked made out of papier-mвchй. And the giant battles between the faiths, in which I had once thought myself to be on the point of being crushed, and the deep schisms between the Canadiennes and the rest, were now reduced, with my new perspective, to parish-pump squabbling. Half ashamed, I found myself contemptuous of the screaming provincialism of the town, of the dowdy peasants who lived in it, and of the all-pervading fog of snobbery and petit bourgeoisie. No wonder, a child of all this, that I had been ill equipped for the great world outside! The marvel was that I had survived at all.
Ruby seemed pleased to be able to break the ice. 'Well, I'll start on your right. That's Miss Bunt, the sort of matron, so to speak. You've met her. Then, in the violet camelot sweater, well, that's Violet of course. Then at the next table. The one in the green and gold Pucci shirt is Anne and next to her in green is Pearl. She's my sort of best friend here.' And so it went on, from one glorious golden girl to the next. Bond heard scraps of their conversation. ' Fritz says I'm not getting enough Vorlage. My skis keep on running away from me.' 'It's the same with me' - a giggle - 'my sit-upon's black and blue.' 'The Count says I'm getting on very well. Won't it be awful when we have to go?' 'I wonder how Polly's doing? She's been out a month now.' 'I think Skol's the only stuff for sunburn. All those oils and creams are nothing but frying-fat.' And so on - mostly the chatter you would expect from a group of cheerful, healthy girls learning to ski, except for the occasional rather awed reference to the Count and the covert glances at Irma Bunt and Bond to make sure that they were behaving properly, not making too much noise.