She shrugged impatiently. "The people here did it. I don't know who they are. There's a Chinaman. He doesn't like birds or something. He's got a dragon. He sent the dragon after the birds and scared them away. The dragon burned up their nesting places. There used to be two men who lived with the birds and looked after them. They got scared away too, or killed or something."
'Very good indeed, my dear. Very good for you too. And Fritz, I will just have the mixed salad with some cottage cheese.' She gave the caricature of a simper. 'Alas' - she spoke to Bond - 'I have to watch my figure. These young things take plenty of exercise, while I must stay in my office and do the paper-work, isn't it?'
'Lord bless my soul!' he exclaimed, 'I didn't know they were chops. Why, a chop's the very thing to take off the bad effects of that beer! Ain't it lucky?'
"I bet you do." Bond was lost in the picture of the little flaxen-haired girl pattering about the ruins with the obstinate old Negress watching over her and calling her in to do the lessons that must have been just as much a riddle to the old woman. "Your nanny must have been a wonderful person."
"He won't be coming again." The two white circles stared blindly at the smuggler. "I am ABC. (I am closing down the pipeline."
The culture of the new China was often regarded as ‘Eighteenth Century’ in spirit, but at its best it included also a tacit intuitive reverence for the mystery which encloses human existence. Even after the bitter struggle against the Japanese there remained something eighteenth century about the educated Chinese, something of the old urbanity and liking for decency and order. The old respect for learning, too, remained, though the kind of learning which was now necessary to the aspiring government official was very different from that which was required in an earlier age. Then, all that was demanded was familiarity with classical texts; now, the candidate had to show an equally minute acquaintance with the lore of physics, biology, psychology, economics, and social science. In the new China as in old, the supreme interest of the intellectuals was not theoretical, as it had been with the Greeks, nor religious, as with the Jews, nor mystical, as with the Indians, nor scientific and industrial, as with the Europeans, but social. For them, as for their still-revered ancestors, the all absorbing problem was to discover and practise the right way of living together.
It was half an hour later and the M.G.B. colonel was bored with the interview. He thought that he had extracted from this rather unpleasant British soldier every military detail that could possibly be of interest. A few polite phrases to repay the man for the rich haul of secrets his dispatch bags had yielded, and then the man could go down to the cells and in due course be shipped off to Vorkuta or some other labour camp.
I arrived safely - by helicopter, if you please! - at this beautiful place called Piz Gloria, 10,000 feet up somewhere in the Engadine. Most comfortable with an excellent male staff of several nationalities and a most efficient secretary to the Count named Fraulein Irma Bunt who tells me that she comes from Munich.