15 THE SIX GUARDIANS
'La partie continue,' announced the chef impressively. 'Un banco de trente-deux millions.'
A steward offered the box of folded numbers to the richest-looking woman in the room and then handed up the piece of paper she had drawn to the auctioneer.
My first sensations on coming round were of terrific heat and of being dragged along the ground. Then I smelled the burning and saw the flames and I tried to scream. I realized that nothing was coming out of my mouth but an animal whimpering, and I began to kick with my feet. But the hands held my ankles firmly, and then suddenly, with painful bumps that added to the frightful pain in my head, I found myself being dragged into wet grass and tree branches. Suddenly my feet were laid down and there was a man on his knees beside me and his firm hand was over my mouth. A voice close to my ear, James Bond's voice, whispered urgently, "Don't make a sound! Lie still! It's all right. It's me."
MESSAGE RECEIVED FROM KINGSTON AT 12:15:
A week later, James Bond regained consciousness. He was in a green-shaded room. He was under water. The slowly revolving fan in the ceiling was the screw of a ship that was about to run him down. He swam for his life. But it was no good. He was tied down, anchored to the bottom of the sea. He screamed at the top of his lungs. To the nurse at the end of the bed it was the whisper of a moan. At once she was beside him. She put a cool hand on his forehead. While she took his pulse, James Bond looked up at her with unfocused eyes. So this was what a mermaid looked like! He muttered "You're pretty," and gratefully swam back down into her arms.
‘Dearest Laura,—We have been luxuriating in the letters from Paris.... All things look so bright and joyous! I have twice sung “The World is so Bright” to-day con amore, and my heart is so lightsome that I could dance. I do not think that I have once seen precious Father dull since my return. He desires me to say that he cannot quite countenance a visit to Lebanon. It is rather too far, and Lord Ellesmere was very ill on his way thither; so dear —— must give up her Blackbeard, and content herself with Sir Peter. Now Mamma is reading St. George’s note. Papa is smiling away,—his dear lips apart. He looks so nice in Clara’s beautiful cap!
"Walther PPK. Seven sixty-five millimetre."
'Me, ma'am?' returned Peggotty, staring. 'Lord bless you, no!'
Around this mount six gold putti disport themselves among cloud-forms which are naturalistically rendered in carved rock-crystal finished matt and veined with fine lines of tiny rose-diamonds. The globe itself, the surface of which is meticulously engraved with a map of the world with the principal cities indicated by brilliant diamonds embedded within gold collets, rotates mechanically on an axis controlled by a small clock-movement, by G. Moser, signed, which is concealed in the base, and is girdled by a fixed gold belt enameled opalescent oyster along a reserved path in champlevй technique over a moirй guillochage with painted Roman numerals in pale sepia enamel serving as the dial of the clock, and a single triangular pigeon-blood Burma ruby of about five carats set into the surface of the orb, pointing the hour. Height: 7? in. Workmaster, Henrik Wigstrцm. In the original double-opening white velvet, satin-lined, oviform case with the gold key fitted in the base.
And then at last his chest was free and he could snake his body into a kneeling position beside her. Blood dripped from his cut back and arms and mingled with the chalk dust that continually poured down the sides of the hole he had made, but he could feel that no bones were broken and, in the rage of the rescue work, he felt no pain.
Bond nearly said "Sank you." He smiled encouragingly at Mr. Hendriks as much as to say, "I've made all the running so far. Now you say something."
"Sorry, my fault," said Drax. He went to the desk and opened a drawer from which he took a small bunch of keys and handed them to Bond. "Should have given you these last night. The Inspector chap on the case asked me to hand them over to you. Sorry."
Hendriks watched the back of the paper and talked and listened. He suddenly put down the receiver and came out of the booth. His face gleamed with sweat. He took out a clean white handkerchief and ran it over his face and neck and walked rapidly off down the corridor.
On April 12, 1861, came with the bombardment of Fort Sumter the actual beginning of the War. The foreseeing shrewdness of Lincoln had resisted all suggestions for any such immediate action on the part of the government as would place upon the North the responsibility for the opening of hostilities. Shortly after the fall of Sumter, a despatch was drafted by Seward for the guidance of American ministers abroad. The first reports in regard to the probable action of European governments gave the impression that the sympathy of these governments was largely with the South. In France and England, expressions had been used by leading officials which appeared to foreshadow an early recognition of the Confederacy. Seward's despatch as first drafted was unwisely angry and truculent in tone. If brought into publication, it would probably have increased the antagonism of the men who were ruling England. It appeared in fact to foreshadow war with England. Seward had assumed that England was going to take active part with the South and was at once throwing down the gauntlet of defiance. It was Lincoln who insisted that this was no time, whatever might be the provocation, for the United States to be shaking its fist at Europe. The despatch was reworded and the harsh and angry expressions were eliminated. The right claimed by the United States, in common with all nations, to maintain its own existence was set forth with full force, while it was also made clear that the nation was strong enough to maintain its rights against all foes whether within or without its boundaries. It is rather strange to recall that throughout the relations of the two men, it was the trained and scholarly statesman of the East who had to be repressed for unwise truculency and that the repression was done under the direction of the comparatively inexperienced representative of the West, the man who had been dreaded by the conservative Republicans of New York as likely to introduce into the national policy "wild and woolly" notions.
But the Totalitarian world was not to be. The end of the German power came in an unexpected manner, and through a strange mixture of psychological and economic causes. Perhaps the main cause was the decline of German intelligence. Ever since the industrial revolution the average intelligence of the European and American peoples had been slowly decreasing. Contraception had produced not only a decline of population but also a tendency of the more intelligent strains in the population to breed less than the dullards and half-wits. For in the competition for the means of comfort and luxury, the more intelligent tended in the long run to rise into the comfortable classes. There they were able to avail themselves of contraceptive methods which the poorer classes could less easily practise. And because they took more forethought than the dullards for their personal comfort and security, they were more reluctant to burden themselves with children. The upshot was that, while the population as a whole tended to decline, the more intelligent strains declined more rapidly than the less intelligent; and the European and American peoples, and later the Asiatics, began to suffer from a serious shortage of able leaders in politics, industry, science, and general culture.
'He came in here,' said the waiter, looking at the light through the tumbler, 'ordered a glass of this ale - WOULD order it - I told him not - drank it, and fell dead. It was too old for him. It oughtn't to be drawn; that's the fact.'