Horatia. Is this the Prince? the Hero?
He looked Bond carefully, almost caressingly, in the eyes. Then his wrists sprang suddenly upwards on his knee.
There was nothing else to be gathered from the chart. Bond glanced at his watch. Twenty minutes to one. He heard distant footsteps in the hall and the click of a light being extinguished. On an impulse he rose and softly switched off the lights in his room, leaving only the shaded reading-light beside the bed.
"Stop," said Bond coldly. "She works for Scotland, Yard. So do I." These things were pointless now. They were of no conceivable use to Drax. In any case, by tomorrow afternoon there might be no Scotland Yard.
Names of Works. Date of Publication. Total Sums Received.
I did as I was told. I went round behind the thin man and pressed the gun into his back. Then I reached up with my left hand and felt under his right arm. A nasty, dead kind of smell came from him, and I was suddenly disgusted at being so close to him and touching him so intimately.
'Shall I - be - given up to him?' I faltered.
Honey said, "That's what they do when they look for me. It's quite all right. You cut a piece of bamboo and when they get near you go under the water and breathe through the bamboo till they've gone by."
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.
EASTSIDER ADRIEN ARPEL
He looked almost like a man inspired, as he said it. I waited for a few moments, until he could give me his undivided attention; and then proceeded to explain the precaution, that, it had occurred to me last night, it would be wise to take.
I am interested in this man [wrote C.C.] and I have caused, inquiries to be made on a somewhat wider front than usual, since it is not common to be confronted with a secret agent who it at once so much of a public figure and yet appears to be infinitely successful in the difficult and dangerous field of his choice-that of being, in common parlance, "a gun for hire." I think I may have found the origin of this partiality for killing his fellow men in cold blood, men against whom he has no personal animosity but merely the reflected animosity of his employers, in the following bizarre anecdote from his youth. In the travelling circus of his father, Enrico Scaramanga, the boy had several roles. He was a most spectacular trick shot, he was a stand-in strong man in the acrobatic troop, often taking the place of the usual artiste as bottom man in the "human pyramid" act, and he was the mahout, in gorgeous turban, Indian robes, etc., who rode the leading elephant in a troupe of three. This elephant, by the name of Max, was a male, and it is a peculiarity of the male elephant, which I have learned with much interest and verified with eminent zoologists, that, at intervals during the year, they go "on heat" sexually. During these pe-. nods, a mucous deposit forms behind the animal's ears and this needs to be scraped off since otherwise it causes the elephant intense irritation. Max developed this symptom during a visit of the circus to Trieste, but, through an oversight, the condition was not noticed and given the necessary treatment. The big top of the circus had been erected on the outskirts of the town adjacent to the coastal railway line and, on the night which was, in my opinion, to determine the future way of life of the young Scaramanga, Max went berserk, threw the youth, and, screaming horrifically, trampled his way through the auditorium, causing many casualties, and charged off across the fairground and onto the railway line, down which (a frightening spectacle under the full moon which, as newspaper cuttings record, was shining on that night) he galloped at full speed. The local carabinieri were alerted and set off in pursuit by car along the main road that flanks the railway line. In due course they caught up with the unfortunate monster, which, his frenzy expired, stood peacefully facing back the way he had come. Not realizing that the elephant, if approached by his handler, could now be led peacefully back to his stall, the police opened rapid fire and bullets from their carbines and revolvers wounded the animal superficially in many places. Infuriated afresh, the miserable beast, now pursued by the police car from which the hail of fire continued, charged off again along the railway line. On arrival at the fairground, the elephant seemed to recognize his home, the big top, and, turning off the railway line, lumbered back through the fleeing spectators to the centre of the deserted arena, and there, weakened by loss of blood, pathetically continued with his interrupted act. Trumpeting dreadfully in his agony, the mortally wounded Max endeavoured again and again to raise himself and stand upon one leg. Meanwhile the young Scaramanga, now armed with his pistols, tried to throw a lariat over the animal's head while calling out the "elephant talk" with which he usually controlled him. Max seems to have recognized the youth and-it must have been a truly pitiful sight-lowered his trunk to allow the youth to be hoisted to his usual seat behind the elephant's head. But at this moment the police burst into the sawdust ring, and their captain, approaching very close, emptied his revolver into the elephant's right eye at a range of a few feet, upon which Max fell dying to the ground. Upon this, the young Scaramanga who, according to the press, had a deep devotion for his charge, drew one of his pistols and shot the policeman through the heart, and fled off into the crowd of bystanders pursued by the other policemen who could not fire because of the throng of people. He made good his escape, found his way south to Naples, and thence, as noted above, stowed away to America.
'She doesn't sing to the guitar?' said I.
"Yes, I know the outlines," said Bond. "But I'd be glad for you to fill them in some time. And now what?"
If Bond had been able to blush, he would have blushed. He said, 'Er - well, sir, it seems there's a chap called Sir Hilary Bray. Friend of Sable Basilisk's. About my age and not unlike me to look at. His family came from some place in Normandy. Family tree as long as your arm. William the Conqueror and all that. And a coat of arms that looks like a mixture between a jigsaw puzzle and Piccadilly Circus at night. Well, Sable Basilisk says he can fix it with him. This man's got a good war record and sounds a reliable sort of chap. He lives in some remote glen in the Highlands, watching birds and climbing the hills with bare feet. Never sees a soul. No reason why anyone in Switzerland should have heard of him.' Bond's voice became defensive, stubborn. 'Well, sir, the idea is that I should be him. Rather fancy cover, but I think it makes sense.'
"Is it indeed?" said Major Smythe.