'I have loved you all my life!'
The saliva dried in Bond's mouth as if he had swallowed alum.
The girl said, "You seem to live a very exciting life. Your wife can't like you being away so much. Doesn't she worry about you getting hurt?"
The stave thudded into the side of her head and she sprawled grotesquely forward off her chair and lay still. Blofeld's sword whistled down, inches from his shoulder. Bond twisted and lunged to his full extent, thrusting his stave forward in the groove of his left hand almost as if it had been a billiard cue. The tip caught Blofeld hard on the breastbone and flung him against the wall, but he hurtled back and came inexorably forward, swishing his sword like a scythe. Bond aimed at his right arm, missed and had to retreat. He was concentrating on keeping his weapon as well as his body away from the whirling steel, or his stave would be cut like a matchstick, and its extra length was his only hope of victory. Blofeld suddenly lunged, expertly, his right knee bent forward. Bond feinted to the left, but he was inches too slow and the tip of the sword flicked his left ribs, drawing blood. But before Blofeld could withdraw, Bond had slashed two-handed, sideways, at his legs. His stave met bone. Blofeld cursed, and made an ineffectual stab at Bond's weapon. Then he advanced again and Bond could only dodge and feint in the middle of the room and make quick short lunges to keep the enemy at bay. But he was losing ground in front of the whirling steel, and now Blofeld, scenting victory, took lightning steps and thrust forward like a snake. Bond leaped sideways, saw his chance and gave a mighty sweep of his stave. It caught Blofeld on his right shoulder and drew a curse from him. His main sword arm! Bond pressed forward, lancing again and again with his weapon and scoring several hits to the body, but one of Blofeld's parries caught the stave and cut off that one vital foot of extra length as if it had been a candle-end. Blofeld saw his advantage and began attacking, making furious forward jabs that Bond could only parry by hitting at the flat of the sword to deflect it. But now the stave was slippery in the sweat of his hands and for the first time he felt the cold breath of defeat at his neck. And Blofeld seemed to smell it, for he suddenly executed one of his fast running lunges to get under Bond's guard. Bond guessed the distance of the wall behind him and leaped backwards against it. Even so he felt the sword-point fan across his stomach. But, hurled back by his impact with the wall, he counter-lunged, swept the sword aside with his stave and, dropping his weapon, made a dive for Blofeld's neck and got both hands to it. For a moment the two sweating faces were almost up against each other. The boss of Blofeld's sword battered into Bond's side. Bond hardly felt the crashing blows. He pressed with his thumbs, and pressed and pressed and heard the sword clank to the floor and felt Blofeld's fingers and nails tearing at his face, trying to reach his eyes. Bond whispered through his gritted teeth, 'Die, Blofeld! Die!' And suddenly the tongue was out and the eyes rolled upwards and the body slipped down to the ground. But Bond followed it and knelt, his hands cramped round the powerful neck, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, in the terrible grip of blood lust.
"I'll take the stake," said Bond. "And thanks for the ride."
What is natural in me, is natural in many other men, I infer, and so I am not afraid to write that I never had loved Steerforth better than when the ties that bound me to him were broken. In the keen distress of the discovery of his unworthiness, I thought more of all that was brilliant in him, I softened more towards all that was good in him, I did more justice to the qualities that might have made him a man of a noble nature and a great name, than ever I had done in the height of my devotion to him. Deeply as I felt my own unconscious part in his pollution of an honest home, I believed that if I had been brought face to face with him, I could not have uttered one reproach. I should have loved him so well still - though he fascinated me no longer - I should have held in so much tenderness the memory of my affection for him, that I think I should have been as weak as a spirit-wounded child, in all but the entertainment of a thought that we could ever be re-united. That thought I never had. I felt, as he had felt, that all was at an end between us. What his remembrances of me were, I have never known - they were light enough, perhaps, and easily dismissed - but mine of him were as the remembrances of a cherished friend, who was dead.
It was very hot. A harsh, baking wind had sprung up from the north-east. Quarrel said this wind blew daily the year round. It was vital to the guanera. It dried the guano. The glare from the sea and from the shiny green leaves of the mangroves was dazzling. Bond was glad he had taken trouble to get his skin hardened to the sun.
‘Are there no women among the guests?’ queried Malevsky.
At the same moment I said 'Martha!'
There was a quick flash of gold. The small black hole looked directly at Bond's navel. "Because of this. What are you doing here, stranger? Kind of a coincidence finding a city slicker at three and one-half. Or at Sav' La Mar for the matter of that. Not by any chance from the police? Or any of then- friends?"