The simpering fellow with the weak legs, who had taken Agnes down, stated the question more decisively yet, I thought.
'There!' cried Uriah, shaking his head. 'What a melancholy confirmation: ain't it? Him! Such an old friend! Bless your soul, when I was nothing but a clerk in his office, Copperfield, I've seen him twenty times, if I've seen him once, quite in a taking about it - quite put out, you know (and very proper in him as a father; I'm sure I can't blame him), to think that Miss Agnes was mixing herself up with what oughtn't to be.'
'No sweethearts, I b'lieve?'
Tiger got down into the boat and the engine revved up. As the boat took the swell at the entrance to the harbour, Tiger raised a hand and brought it swiftly down with a chopping motion and then the boat was round the sea-wall and out of sight.
Slowly, almost incuriously, Bond turned his head.
'I understand,' said Mr. Spiker, 'N.'
AT SOME DATE which to readers of this book is far off in the future I became aware that I had long been dreamily witnessing a flux of human events. Peering back into my post-mortal memory as though into a second infancy, I came upon fragments of what must have been a long age of turmoil. Within that age must have lain, or must lie, the period that readers of this book call modern, a moment within a longer period during which the struggle between the light and the darkness remained inconclusive.
'All right.' Colonel Smithers now talked in the soft, tired voice of an overworked man in the service of his Government. It was the voice of the specialist in a particular line of law enforcement. It said that he knew most things connected with that line and that he could make a good guess at all the rest. Bond knew the voice well, the voice of the first-class Civil Servant. Despite his prosiness, Bond was beginning to take to Colonel Smithers. 'All right. Supposing you have a bar of gold in your pocket about the size of a couple of packets of Players. Weight about five and a quarter pounds. Never mind for the moment where you got it from - stole it or inherited it or something. That'll be twenty-four carat -what we call a thousand fine. Now, the law says you have to sell that to the Bank of England at the controlled price of twelve pounds ten per ounce. That would make it worth around the thousand pounds. But you're greedy. You've got a friend going to India or perhaps you're on good terms with an airline pilot or a steward on the Far East run. All you have to do is cut your bar into thin sheets or plates-you'd soon find someone to do this for you - and sew the plates -they'd be smaller than playing cards - into a cotton belt, and pay your friend a commission to wear it. You could easily afford a hundred pounds for the job. Your friend flies off to Bombay and goes to the first bullion dealer in the bazaar. He will be given one thousand seven hundred pounds for your five-pound bar and you're a richer man than you might have been. Mark you,' Colonel Smithers waved his pipe airily,'that's only seventy per cent profit. Just after the war you could have got three hundred per cent. If you'd done only half a dozen little operations like that every year you'd be able to retire by now.'
TO MISS ‘LEILA’ HAMILTON.
"More or less. I saw this place was for sale in yesterday's Gleaner. I thought I'd take a look at it. Nice big house. Does it belong to you?"
Change what you do until you get what you want.
I thanked him, but declined.
Mathis watched the lid being secured. He turned to Bond. `It is a good day's work you have done, my friend,' he said. `But you look tired. Go back to the Embassy and have a rest because this evening we must have dinner together. The best dinner in Paris. And I will find the loveliest girl to go with it.'