The woman paused. There was girlish conspiracy in the next question.
`Damn the bloody machine,' he said impatiently. `But for God's sake, Tania, you must know that I've got a job to do. Just say one way or the other and we'll forget about it. There are lots more things to talk about.
'Do I gather from what you say, ma'am, that Mr. Maldon is ill?' asked Mr. Wickfield.
'What's an Ama island?'
???My Mother did command,
Bond's mind raged furiously on with the problem as he flung the great car down the coast road, automatically taking the curves and watching out for carts or cyclists on their way into Royale. On straight stretches the Amherst Villiers supercharger dug spurs into the Bentley's twenty-five horses and the engine sent a high-pitched scream of pain into the night. Then the revolutions mounted until he was past 110 and on to the 120 mph mark on the speedometer.
READER, WE have followed the sorry tale through to its end. We have seen one of the two great streams of history lose itself in a swamp of misery and abject brutishness. We may now return to that point where I first realized an inconsistency in my experience of man’s career, where, in fact, the torrent of history was already dividing. This was the point at which the Tibetan revolution had been successfully brought off by the Young Lamas. Under their guidance the new Tibetan state was already becoming a thing of splendid achievement and more splendid promise.
Some said Caballo Blanco was a fugitive; others heard he was a boxer who’d run off to punishhimself after beating a man to death in the ring. No one knew his name, or age, or where he wasfrom. He was like some Old West gunslinger whose only traces were tall tales and a whiff ofcigarillo smoke. Descriptions and sightings were all over the map; villagers who lived impossibledistances apart swore they’d seen him traveling on foot on the same day and described him on ascale that swung wildly from “funny and simpático” to “freaky and gigantic.”
19Read on, and you'll discover that it's possible tospeed up the process of feeling comfortable with astranger by quantum-leaping the usual familiarizationrituals and going straight into the routines that peoplewho like each other do naturally. In virtually no time atall, you will be getting along as if you've known eachother for ages. Many of my students report that whenachieving rapport becomes second nature, they findpeople asking, "Are you sure we haven't met before?"I know the feeling; it happens to me all the time. Andit's not just people asking me the question. 1 am convincedthat half the people I meet, I've met before—that's the way it goes when you move easily into anotherperson's map of the world. It's a wonderful feeling.
"What d'you expect a girl to do on the Queen Elizabeth? Fish?"
He rang the number and, after minutes, a sleepy voice said, 'Ja! Hier Muir.'
'You had better give it to me to take care of,' he said. 'At least, you can if you like. You needn't if you don't like.'
I spent about five minutes down there, taking my time, desperately trying to think, to plan. These men were gangsters. They worked "for this Mr. Sanguinetti. That seemed certain because they had got my name from him or from the Phanceys. The rest of their story was lies. They had been sent up here, through the storm, for a purpose. What was it? They knew 1 was a Canadian, a foreigner, and that I could easily go to the police the next day and get them into trouble. The man called Sluggsy had been in San Quentin. And the other? Of course! That was why he looked gray and sort of dead! He had probably just come out of prison too. He smelled of it, somehow. So I could get them into real trouble, tell the police that I was a journalist, that I was going to write up what happened to girls alone in the States. But would I be believed? That VACANCY sign! I was alone in the place, yet I had left it on. Wasn't that because I wanted company? Why had I dressed up like that, to kill, if I expected to be alone? 1 dodged away from that line of thought. But, to get back. What did these two men want here? They had an ordinary car. If they had wanted to clean the place out, they would have brought a truck. Perhaps they really had been sent up to guard the place, and they just treated me as they did because that was the way gangsters behaved. But how much worse were they going to get? What was going to happen to me tonight?
The creaking door later became the signature for Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and is now employed as the introductory note for the Radio Mystery Theater, along with host E.G. Marshall's compelling greeting: "Come in." Himan Brown also created the sound of London's foghorns and Big Ben for Bulldog Drummond, the laugh of the fat Nero Wolfe, and the never-to-be-forgotten train that roared under Park Avenue into Grand Central Station.
I will mention here another habit which had grown upon me from still earlier years — which I myself often regarded with dismay when I thought of the hours devoted to it, but which, I suppose, must have tended to make me what I have been. As a boy, even as a child, I was thrown much upon myself. I have explained, when speaking of my school-days, how it came to pass that other boys would not play with me. I was therefore alone, and had to form my plays within myself. Play of some kind was necessary to me then, as it always has been. Study was not my bent, and I could not please myself by being all idle. Thus it came to pass that I was always going about with some castle in the air firmly build within my mind. Nor were these efforts in architecture spasmodic, or subject to constant change from day to day. For weeks, for months, if I remember rightly, from year to year, I would carry on the same tale, binding myself down to certain laws, to certain proportions, and proprieties, and unities. Nothing impossible was ever introduced — nor even anything which, from outward circumstances, would seem to be violently improbable. I myself was of course my own hero. Such is a necessity of castle-building. But I never became a king, or a duke — much less when my height and personal appearance were fixed could I be an Antinous, or six feet high. I never was a learned man, nor even a philosopher. But I was a very clever person, and beautiful young women used to be fond of me. And I strove to be kind of heart, and open of hand, and noble in thought, despising mean things; and altogether I was a very much better fellow than I have ever succeeded in being since. This had been the occupation of my life for six or seven years before I went to the Post Office, and was by no means abandoned when I commenced my work. There can, I imagine, hardly be a more dangerous mental practice; but I have often doubted whether, had it not been my practice, I should ever have written a novel. I learned in this way to maintain an interest in a fictitious story, to dwell on a work created by my own imagination, and to live in a world altogether outside the world of my own material life. In after years I have done the same — with this difference, that I have discarded the hero of my early dreams, and have been able to lay my own identity aside.