Since Bond had arrived in Japan he had assiduously practised sitting in the lotus position. Dikko Henderson had advised it. 'If you make the grade with these people,' he had said, 'or even if you don't, you'll be spending a lot of time sitting on your ass on the ground. There's only one way to do it without cracking your joints; that's in the Indian position, squatting with your legs crossed and the sides of your feet hurting like hell on the floor. It takes a bit of practice, but it won't kill you and you'll end up gaining plenty of face.' Bond had more or less mastered the art, but now, after two hours, his knee-joints were on fire and he felt that if he didn't alter his posture he would end up bandy-legged for life. He said to Tiger, 'Playing against a master such as yourself, I must first adopt a relaxed position so that my brain may be totally concentrated.' He got painfully to his feet, stretched and sat down again - this time with one leg extended under the low table and his left elbow resting on the bent knee of the other. It was a blessed relief. He lifted his tumbler and, obediently, Trembling Leaf filled it from a fresh flagon. Bond downed the sake, handed the tumbler to the girl and suddenly crashed his right fist down on the lacquer table so that the little boxes of sweetmeats rattled and the porcelain tinkled. He looked belligerently across .at Tiger Tanaka. 'Right!'
"What for then?"
Bond felt a sharp pain in his right calf. It was only the sort of pain you would get from a kick. He flinched and stepped back. The two men seized Rosa Klebb by the arms.
Bond said efficiently, 'They're a minute ahead of time.'
My mother was sitting by the fire, but poorly in health, and very low in spirits, looking at it through her tears, and desponding heavily about herself and the fatherless little stranger, who was already welcomed by some grosses of prophetic pins, in a drawer upstairs, to a world not at all excited on the subject of his arrival; my mother, I say, was sitting by the fire, that bright, windy March afternoon, very timid and sad, and very doubtful of ever coming alive out of the trial that was before her, when, lifting her eyes as she dried them, to the window opposite, she saw a strange lady coming up the garden.
The barber gave him a surprised glance. Then he said quickly, "Yes, Sir, Mister," and bent to help the girl gather up her instruments.
'A little. Enough for my work.'
The extra-sensory alarm clock did not fail him. Punctually at seven, his mouth dry with too many cigarettes the night before, he forced himself out of bed and into a cold bath. He had shaved, gargled with a sharp mouth-wash, and now, in a battered black and white dogtooth suit, dark blue Sea Island cotton shirt and black silk knitted tie, he was walking softly, but not surreptitiously, along the corridor to the head of the stairs, the, square leather case in his left hand.
"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."