There is unhappiness so great that the very fear of it is an alloy to happiness. I had then lost my father, and sister, and brother — have since lost another sister and my mother — but I have never as yet lost a wife or a child.
"If you hadn't been there I should be dead," said Bond. "If I'd stayed where I was-" He shrugged his shoulders. Then he turned and looked at her. "I suppose you realize," he said flatly, "that someone pushed the cliff down on us?" She looked back at him with wide eyes. "If we searched around in all that," he gestured towards the avalanche of chalk, "we would find the marks of two or three drill-holes and traces of dynamite. I saw the smoke and I heard the bang of the explosion a split second before the cliff came down. And so did the gulls," he added.
Saw peril, strife, and pain;
Captain Sender, his face worried and tense with nerves, said there was no news at the Station, no change in the situation as they knew it. Did Bond want anything to eat? Or a cup of tea? Perhaps a tranquilizer-there were several kinds in the bathroom?
It would require a painter, and no common painter too, to depict my aunt's face as she delivered herself of this very unexpected sentiment, and Miss Murdstone's face as she heard it. But the manner of the speech, no less than the matter, was so fiery, that Miss Murdstone, without a word in answer, discreetly put her arm through her brother's, and walked haughtily out of the cottage; my aunt remaining in the window looking after them; prepared, I have no doubt, in case of the donkey's reappearance, to carry her threat into instant execution.
Bond bowed. He said, 'Please convey to his reverence that I am most grateful for his intercession on my behalf. I would be most honoured to have a place to lay my head in the home of Suzuki-san. My needs are very modest and I greatly enjoy the Japanese way of life. I would be most pleased to row the family boat or help the household in any other way.' He added, sotto voce, 'Tiger, I may need these people's help when the time comes. Particularly the girl's. How much can I tell her?'
She burst into tears, sobbing that it was the most beautiful ring in the world, but when he took her in his arms she began to giggle. 'Oh, James, you are bad. You stink like a pig of beer and sausages. Where have you been?'
The Chief of Staff continued: "And the Beechcraft crashed on landing and killed the two Audubon men. Well, that aroused these bird people to a fury. They got a corvette from the US Training Squadron in the Caribbean to make a call on Doctor No. That's how powerful these people are. Seems they've got quite a lobby in Washington. The captain of the corvette reported that he was received very civilly by Doctor No but was kept well away from the guano workings. He was taken to the airstrip and examined the remains of the plane. Smashed to pieces, but nothing suspicious-came in to land too fast probably. The bodies of the two men and the pilot had been reverently embalmed and packed in handsome coffins which were handed over with quite a ceremony. The captain was very impressed by Doctor No's courtesy. He asked to see the wardens' camp and he was taken out there and shown the remains of it. Doctor No's theory was that the two men had gone mad because of the heat and the loneliness, or at any rate that one of them had gone mad and burned down the camp with the other inside it. This seemed possible to the captain when he'd seen what a godforsaken bit of marsh the men had been living in for ten years or more. There was nothing else to see and he was politely steered back to his ship and sailed away." The Chief of Staff spread his hands. "And that's the lot except that the captain reported that he saw only a handful of roseate spoonbills. When his report got back to the Audubon Society it was apparently the loss of their blasted birds that infuriated these people most of all, and ever since then they've been nagging at us to have an inquiry into the whole business. Of course nobody at the Colonial Office or in Jamaica's in the least interested. So in the end the whole fairy story was dumped in our lap." The Chief of Staff shrugged his shoulders with finality. "And that's how this pile of bumf," he waved the file, "or at any rate the guts of it, got landed on Strangways.'