The two men got down on their knees. One of them took out a long knife and cut some of the fabric away from the side of the convertible hood and took hold of Bond's shoulders. He was unconscious and immovable. The other squeezed between the upturned car and the bank and forced his way through the crumpled window-frame. He eased Bond's legs, pinned between the steering-wheel and the fabric roof of the car. Then they inched him out through a hole in the hood.
"Kong Tiger, sah."
Scaramanga contemplated him silently for a while. Then he said, "Guess he may be lookin' for a shootin' lesson. Be glad to oblige him. But you've got something about Number Three and one-half. That's what I figgered when I hired you. But coincidence doesn't come in that size. Mebbe I should have thought again. I said from the first I smelled cops. That girl may be your fiancee or she may not-but that play with the shower bath. That's an old hood's trick. Probably a Secret Service one too. Unless, that is, you were screwin' her." He raised one eyebrow.
Bond groaned aloud. How could his bruised flesh stand up to that?-How could he protect his skin from the metal? But there wasn't anything he could do about it. He could either go back, or stay where he was, or go on. There was no other decision to make, no other shift or excuse. There was one, and only one, grain of consolation. This would not be heat that would kill, only maim. This would not be the final killing ground-only one more test of how much he could take.
Not understanding what he meant, I repeated inquisitively: 'Came to an end, Mr. Barkis?'
'If you please, sir,' I faltered, 'if I might be allowed (I am very sorry indeed, sir, for what I did) to take this writing off, before the boys come back -'
Feeling that these volumes on Australia were dull and long, I was surprised to find that they had an extensive sale. There were, I think, 2000 copies circulated of the first expensive edition; and then the book was divided into four little volumes, which were published separately, and which again had a considerable circulation. That some facts were stated inaccurately, I do not doubt; that many opinions were crude, I am quite sure; that I had failed to understand much which I attempted to explain, is possible. But with all these faults the book was a thoroughly honest book, and was the result of unflagging labour for a period of fifteen months. I spared myself no trouble in inquiry, no trouble in seeing, and no trouble in listening. I thoroughly imbued my mind with the subject, and wrote with the simple intention of giving trustworthy information on the state of the Colonies. Though there be inaccuracies — those inaccuracies to which work quickly done must always be subject — I think I did give much valuable information.
The prosaic phrase seemed to remind her of her nakedness. She blushed. She said uncertainly, "I must get dressed." She looked down at the scattered shells around her feet. She obviously wanted to pick them up. Perhaps she realized that the movement might be still more revealing than her present pose. She said sharply, "You're not to touch those while I'm gone."