'The men from the mines are often tall men, my lord. He carries a paper saying that he is deaf and dumb. And other papers, which appear to be in order, stating that he is a miner from Fukuoka. I do not believe this. His hands have some broken nails, but they are not the hands of a miner.'
I am French-Canadian. I was born just outside Quebec at a little place called Sainte Famille on the north coast of the Ile d'Orleans, a long island that lies like a huge sunken ship in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River where it approaches the Quebec Straits. I grew up in and beside this great river, with the result that my main hobbies are swimming and fishing and camping and other outdoor things. I can't remember much about my parents-except that I loved my father and got on badly with my mother-because when I was eight they were both killed in a wartime air crash coming in to land at Montreal on their way to a wedding. The courts made me a ward of my widowed aunt, Florence Toussaint, and she moved into our little house and brought me up. We got on all right, and today I almost love her, but she was a Protestant, while I had been brought up as a Catholic, and I became the victim of the religious tug of war that has always been the bane of priest-ridden Quebec, so nearly exactly divided between the faiths. The Catholics won the battle over my spiritual well-being, and I was educated in the Ursuline Convent until I was fifteen. The sisters were strict and the accent was very much on piety, with the result that I learned a great deal of religious history and rather obscure dogma which I would gladly have exchanged for subjects that would have fitted me to be something other than a nurse or a nun, and, when in the end the atmosphere became so stifling to my spirit that I begged to be taken away, my aunt gladly rescued me from "the Papists" and it was decided that, at the age of sixteen, I should go to England and be "finished." This caused something of a local hullabaloo. Not only are the Ursulines the center of Catholic tradition in Quebec-the Convent proudly owns the skull of Mont-calm; for two centuries there have never been less than nine sisters kneeling at prayer, night and day, before the chapel altar-but my family had belonged to the very innermost citadel of French-Canadianism, and that their daughter should flout both treasured folkways at one blow was a nine days' wonder-and scandal.
Bond shrugged. 'I hadn't thought, sir. Perhaps I'd better be thinking of leaving Universal Export. No future in it. Having a holiday while I look round. Thinking of emigrating to Canada. Fed up here. Something like that. But perhaps I'd better play it the way the cards fall. I wouldn't think he's an easy man to fool.'
He might have been drowned and fished out of the pool and laid out on the grass to dry while the police or the next-of-kin were summoned. Even the little pile of objects in the grass beside his head might have been his personal effects, meticulously assembled in full view so that no one should think that something had been stolen by his rescuers.
General G. paused. He continued in his softest voice. `Comrades, I have to tell you that unless tonight we make a recommendation for a great Intelligence victory, and unless we act correctly on that recommendation, if it is approved, there will be trouble.'
They crept round the eastern shore of Kuro and pulled the boat up into a deep cleft in the black rocks. It was just after eleven o'clock and the giant moon rode high and fast through wisps of mackerel cloud. They talked softly, although they were out of sight of the fortress and half a mile away from it. Kissy took off her brown kimono and folded it neatly and put it in the boat. Her body glowed in the moonlight. The black triangle between her legs beckoned, and the black string round her waist that held the piece of material was an invitation to untie it. She giggled provocatively. 'Stop looking at my Black Cat!'
Bond leant urgently over the desk. 'But I gave my word of honour!'
Bond stopped and gazed at it. "Petrol?" he said vaguely.