Mr. Phancey finally left me and went over to his wife and, while I smoked a cigarette and finished my second cup of coffee ("No charge, miss. Compliments of The Dreamy Pines"), I heard them talking in a low voice over something that, because of an occasional chuckle, seemed to give them satisfaction. Finally Mrs. Phancey came over, clucking in a motherly fashion about my adventurous plans ("My, oh, my! What will you modern girls be doing next?"), and then she sat down and, looking as winsome as she knew how, said why didn't I stop over for a few days and have a rest and earn myself a handful of dollars into the bargain? It seemed their receptionist had walked out twenty-four hours before and, what with the housekeeping and tidying up before they closed the place for the season, they would have no time to man the desk. Would I care to take on the job of receptionist for the final two weeks-full board and thirty dollars a week?
"Yes, my dear Bond, it was indeed too bad." Drax chose to ignore the irony."But for me it was the high-spot of the whole war. Skorzeny turned all his saboteurs and terrorists into SS Jagdverbдnde for use behind the enemy lines. Each Jagdverband was divided into Streifkorps and then into Kommandos, each carrying the names of its commanding officer. With the rank of Oberleutnant," Drax swelled visibly, "at the head of Kommando 'Drache' I went right through the American lines with the famous 150 Panzer Brigade in the Ardennes break-through in December '44. No doubt you will remember the effect of this Brigade in its American uniforms and with its captured American tanks and vehicles. Kolossal! When the Brigade had to withdraw I stayed where I was and went to ground in the Forests of Ardennes, fifty miles behind the Allied lines. There were twenty of us, ten good men and ten Hitlerjugend Werewolves. In their teens, but good lads all of them. And, by a coincidence, in charge of them was a young man called Krebs who turned out to have certain gifts which qualified him for the post of executioner and 'persuader' to our merry little band." Drax chuckled pleasantly.
"The last round was low," said the range officer lowering his nightglasses. "Thanks for the contribution. We sift the sand on those butts at the end of every year. Never get less than fifteen tons of good lead and copper scrap out of them. Good money."
The patron brought him the letter in the morning.
For some time, I am doubtful of Miss Shepherd's feelings, but, at length, Fate being propitious, we meet at the dancing-school. I have Miss Shepherd for my partner. I touch Miss Shepherd's glove, and feel a thrill go up the right arm of my jacket, and come out at my hair. I say nothing to Miss Shepherd, but we understand each other. Miss Shepherd and myself live but to be united.
He shook his head when I asked him where he would seek her, and inquired if I were going to London tomorrow? I told him I had not gone today, fearing to lose the chance of being of any service to him; but that I was ready to go when he would.
Bond awoke in his own room at dawn and for a time he lay and stroked his memories.
Without leaving the wheel, sideburns reached out and pressed the button. There was a pause and then a metallic voice said "Yes?"
Bond looked surreptitiously round the cabin. Yes. There it was! The long Jamaican cutlass, this one filed to an inch blade with a deadly point. It was on a rack by the man's hand. Was this the way he was supposed to go? Bond doubted it. Scaramanga would do the deed in a suitably dramatic fashion and one that could give him an alibi. Second executioner would be Hendriks. Bond looked back over the low coal-tender. Hendriks' eyes, bland and indifferent, met his. Bond shouted above the iron clang of the engine, "Great fun, what?" Hendriks' eyes looked away and back again. Bond stooped so that he could see under the surrey roof. All the other four men were sitting motionless, their eyes also fixed on Bond. Bond waved a cheerful hand. There was no response. So they had been told! Bond was a spy in their midst, and this was his last ride. In mobese, he was "going to be hit." It was an uncomfortable feeling having those ten enemy eyes watching him like ten gun barrels. Bond straightened himself. Now the top half of his body, like the iron "man" in a pistol range, was above the roof of the surrey, and he was looking straight down the flat yellow surface to where Scaramanga sat on his solitary throne, perhaps twenty feet away, with all his body in full view. He also was looking down the little train at Bond-the last mourner in the funeral cortege behind the cadaver that was James Bond. Bond waved a cheery hand and turned back. He opened his coat and got a moment's reassurance from the cool butt of his gun. He felt in his trouser pocket. Three spare magazines. Ah well! He'd take as many of them as he could with him. He flipped down the codriver's seat and sat on it. No point in offering a target until he had to. The Rasta flicked his cigarette over the side and lit another. The engine was driving herself. He leant against the cabin wall and looked at nothing.
'Mister Bond, you are not telling the truth. I know the ways of officialdom as well as you do. Therefore I dismiss your story in its entirety and without hesitation. If my presence here was officially known, a small army of policemen would have been sent to arrest me. And they would have been accompanied by a senior member of the CIA on whose WANTED list I certainly feature. This is an American sphere of influence. You might have been allowed to interview me subsequent to my arrest, but an Englishman would not have featured in the initial police action.'
'That I am sure he will,' said I.
One striking institution, first tried out in North America, but immediately copied in China and soon adopted throughout the world, was the Corps of Emergency. This consisted of workers from almost every occupation chosen for their versatility and enterprise, and kept in training and on full pay, to be moved hither and thither as occasion required. Thus, if for some reason a river had to be deflected, a mountain removed, a sea drained, thousands of civil engineers were available without disturbance to existing enterprises. The Corps fulfilled the function of the unemployed in the old capitalist system, but with a very different temper.
鈥業 expect to find some of the flock very troublesome folk; but that is what Missionaries must expect. These big brown families have their prodigals and sloths and backsliders. What is to be expected from those who have had so little light for generation after generation? We should hail every symptom of improvement. The European idea of a Missionary standing under a tree, preaching,鈥攁nd numbers listening, understanding, and welcoming the Word of Life,鈥攊s often a fancy picture, or gives a most imperfect view of the truth. The seeking to win souls is but one part of the real work.
After breakfast the routine began.