At the present period, however, this influence was only one among many which were helping to shape the character of my future development: and even after it became, I may truly say, the presiding principle of my mental progress, it did not alter the path, but only made me move forward more boldly, and, at the same time, more cautiously, in the same course. The only actual revolution which has ever taken place in my modes of thinking, was already complete. My new tendencies had to be confirmed in some respects, moderated in others: but the only substantial changes of opinion that were yet to come, related to politics, and consisted, on one hand, in a greater approximation, so far as regards the ultimate prospects of humanity, to a qualified Socialism, and on the other, a shifting of my political ideal from pure democracy, as commonly understood by its partizans, to the modified form of it, which is set forth in my "Considerations on Representative Government."
'Leave me for a little,' she said and a new note had come into her voice. A note of resignation. 'Let me think for a little.' She kissed his face and held it between her hands. She looked at him with yearning. 'Darling, I'm trying to do what's best for us. Please believe me. But it's terrible. I'm in a frightful . . .' She wept again, clutching him like a child with nightmares.
'Puss in Boots,' said Mr Jack Strap in a surly voice. 'Go ahead, mister. This is good. How do we get into the town?'
Ham echoed this sentiment, and we parted with them in the heartiest manner. I was almost tempted that evening to tell Steerforth about pretty little Em'ly, but I was too timid of mentioning her name, and too much afraid of his laughing at me. I remember that I thought a good deal, and in an uneasy sort of way, about Mr. Peggotty having said that she was getting on to be a woman; but I decided that was nonsense.
'No, darling. Just don't breathe a word of all this. It's a secret between us. Right?'
'Is that all?' inquired Miss Dartle of me.
'Not I,' said Steerforth. 'I have been seafaring - better employed.'
She put out a tentative hand, as if for reassurance that she had done the right thing. Bond took it and patted it absent-mindedly while his mind chewed on this new complication. He said, "The man's here all right. So's a gunman called Scaramanga. You might as well know, Mary, that Scaramanga killed Ross. In Trinidad." She put her hand up to her mouth. "You can report it as a fact, from me. If I can get you out of here, that is. As for Hendriks, he's here all right, but he doesn't seem to have identified me for certain. Did H.Q. say whether he was given a description of me?"
'You promise to keep this between you and me?'
"Don't know. The small one's a crack shot. At twenty feet or so. Don't know about the other."
'No. And now I have an apology to make. I have had a telephone call. One of my staff - I employ Koreans, by the way - has had some minor trouble with the Margate police and I must go over and straighten it out. Some incident at the fun fair, I understand. These people get easily overexcited. My chauffeur will drive me and we should not be more than half an hour. Meanwhile I fear I must leave you to your own devices. Please help yourself to drinks. There are magazines to read. Will you forgive me? Not more than half an hour I assure you.'
'Have you, sir?'
'Mr. Micawber,' said I, 'what is the matter? Pray speak out. You are among friends.'
CABIN Number 3 was airless and stuffy. While James Bond collected our "luggage" from among the trees, I opened the glass slats of the windows and turned down the sheets on the double bed. I should have felt embarrassed, but I didn't. I just enjoyed housekeeping for him by moonlight. Then I tried the shower and found miraculously that there was still full pressure, though farther down the line many stretches of the pipes must have melted. The top cabins were nearer to the main. I stripped off all my clothes and made them into a neat pile and went into the shower and opened a new cake of Camay ("Pamper your Guests with Pink Camay-With a scent like costly French Perfume... blended with Fine Cold Cream" I remembered, because it sounded so succulent, it said on the packet) and began to lather myself all over, gently, because of the bruises.
'SMERSH,' said Bond.
The Bentley screamed down towards them like an express train.