Through the slitted lids the ice-grey eyes flickered from side to side. The blunt, black gun stood at dead centre between the two men.
The first action of Grant as commander of all the armies in the field was to concentrate all the available forces against the two chief armies of the Confederacy. The old policy of occupying outlying territory for the sake of making a show of political authority was given up. If Johnston in the West and Lee in the East could be crushed, the national authority would be restored in due season, and that was the only way in which it could be restored. Troops were gathered in from Missouri and Arkansas and Louisiana and were placed under the command of Sherman for use in the final effort of breaking through the centre of the Confederacy, while in the East nothing was neglected on the part of the new administration to secure for the direction of the new commander all resources available of men and of supplies.
Kono had taken up his position by the door. He now harangued Bond in sharp Japanese sentences. Bond paid no attention. He concentrated on regaining his strength. He sat relaxed and gazed nonchalantly round the room. He had remembered the final 'hell' at Beppu and he was looking for something. Ah yes! There it was I A small wooden box in the corner to the right of his throne. There was no keyhole to it. Inside that box would undoubtedly be the regulating valve for the geyser. Could that bit of knowledge be put to some use? Bond tucked it away and racked his tired brain for some kind of a plan. If only the agonizing pulse in his head would stop. He rested his elbows on his knees and gently lowered his bruised face into his hands. At least that guard would now be in even worse agony than he!
The twelfth of February, 1909, was the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. In New York, as in other cities and towns throughout the union, the day was devoted to commemoration exercises, and even in the South, in centres like Atlanta (the capture of which in 1864 had indicated the collapse of the cause of the Confederacy), representative Southerners gave their testimony to the life and character of the great American.
The letter, addressed 'Personal for M', had got to the following stage:
It was extraordinary to hear the third voice. The hour's ritual had only demanded a duologue against the horrible noise of the torture. Bond's dimmed senses hardly took it in. Then suddenly he was half-way back to consciousness. He found he could see and hear again. He could hear the dead silence after the one quiet word from the doorway. He could see Le Chiffre's head slowly come up and the expression of blank astonishment, of innocent amazement, slowly give way to fear.
Mr. Micawber had a few books on a little chiffonier, which he called the library; and those went first. I carried them, one after another, to a bookstall in the City Road - one part of which, near our house, was almost all bookstalls and bird shops then - and sold them for whatever they would bring. The keeper of this bookstall, who lived in a little house behind it, used to get tipsy every night, and to be violently scolded by his wife every morning. More than once, when I went there early, I had audience of him in a turn-up bedstead, with a cut in his forehead or a black eye, bearing witness to his excesses over-night (I am afraid he was quarrelsome in his drink), and he, with a shaking hand, endeavouring to find the needful shillings in one or other of the pockets of his clothes, which lay upon the floor, while his wife, with a baby in her arms and her shoes down at heel, never left off rating him. Sometimes he had lost his money, and then he would ask me to call again; but his wife had always got some - had taken his, I dare say, while he was drunk - and secretly completed the bargain on the stairs, as we went down together. At the pawnbroker's shop, too, I began to be very well known. The principal gentleman who officiated behind the counter, took a good deal of notice of me; and often got me, I recollect, to decline a Latin noun or adjective, or to conjugate a Latin verb, in his ear, while he transacted my business. After all these occasions Mrs. Micawber made a little treat, which was generally a supper; and there was a peculiar relish in these meals which I well remember.
'I shall get a horse, and ride over tomorrow morning, aunt, unless you will go with me?'