Thirteen: The Crash of Guns
It is evident that he has been entertaining his audience with some of the particulars of our hero’s adventures when a child.
'Yes, William,' I said, condescendingly (I knew him); 'I am going to London. I shall go down into Suffolk afterwards.'
The shining red vehicle pulled up in front of the cable station and the warning klaxons ran down with an iron groan. Men jumped to the ground. Some went into the station while others stood gazing up at the Piz Gloria, where a dull red glow still showed. A man in a peaked cap, presumably the captain of the team, came up to Bond and saluted. He fired off a torrent of Schwyzerdьtch. Bond shook his head. The man tried French. Bond again showed incomprehension. Another man with fragmentary English was called over. 'What is it that is happening?' he asked.
`That's wonderful, Tania.' Bond's voice was casual. `We'll keep you hidden and then we'll take the first plane tomorrow morning.'
Leaving the horsemen and the Burkandahs outside, Mr. Tucker and the Thannadar went into the courtyard of the house. In the darkness of the entry to one of the huts stood Khansah, holding a loaded blunderbuss. At first he was unperceived; but suddenly the Thannadar exclaimed, ‘There he is!’ and as Mr. Tucker turned to the right, Khansah fired off the blunderbuss. The Thannadar dropped dead; and Mr. Tucker’s right arm fell helpless, from a wound in the shoulder. He climbed quickly over the low walls of a roofless hut, then turned about, and with his left hand steadying the right hand on the top of the outer wall, he fired his pistol at the dacoit,—and missed him. Mr. Tucker then went round the back of the hut to a tree which stood near the entrance; and shortly afterward Khansah came out, calling—‘Kill the Sahib!’ A struggle followed between Khansah and one of the native police, which lasted some three or four minutes. Then Khansah, having apparently had enough, made away on the Thannadar’s pony; and Mr. Tucker, regaining his own horse, rode back to the station, accompanied by the Burkandahs and horsemen, who had carefully kept in the background when most needed, but whose courage returned so soon as the peril was over.
During this part of my childhood, one of my greatest amusements was experimental science; in the theoretical, however, not the practical sense of the word; not trying experiments — a kind of discipline which I have often regretted not having had — nor even seeing, but merely reading about them. I never remember being so wrapt up in any book, as I was in Joyce's Scientific Dialogues; and I was rather recalcitrant to my father's criticisms of the bad reasoning respecting the first principles of physics, which abounds in the early part of that work. I devoured treatises on Chemistry, especially that of my father's early friend and schoolfellow, Dr. Thomson, for years before I attended a lecture or saw an experiment.
'Tis true, e'er since the Fall, we are his Fools,
She did not answer him directly.