For many months I travelled with this ever-darkening cloud upon my mind. Some blind reasons that I had for not returning home - reasons then struggling within me, vainly, for more distinct expression - kept me on my pilgrimage. Sometimes, I had proceeded restlessly from place to place, stopping nowhere; sometimes, I had lingered long in one spot. I had had no purpose, no sustaining soul within me, anywhere.
When we arrived before day at the inn where the mail stopped, which was not the inn where my friend the waiter lived, I was shown up to a nice little bedroom, with DOLPHIN painted on the door. Very cold I was, I know, notwithstanding the hot tea they had given me before a large fire downstairs; and very glad I was to turn into the Dolphin's bed, pull the Dolphin's blankets round my head, and go to sleep.
The other important change which my opinions at this time underwent, was that I, for the first time, gave its proper place, among the prime necessities of human well-being, to the internal culture of the individual. I ceased to attach almost exclusive importance to the ordering of outward circumstances, and the training of the human being for speculation and for action.
'Why, hasn't he now?' returned Miss Mowcher. 'Is he fickle? Oh, for shame! Did he sip every flower, and change every hour, until Polly his passion requited? - Is her name Polly?'
"Number 272. He's a good man. You won't have come across him. Simple reason that he's been holed up in Novaya Zemlya since the war. Now he's trying to get out-loaded with stuff. Atomic and rockets. And their plan for a whole new series of tests. For nineteen sixty-one. To put the heat on the West. Something to do with Berlin. Don't quite get the picture, but the FO says if it's true it's terrific. Makes nonsense of the Geneva Conference and all this blather about nuclear disarmament the Communist bloc is putting out. He's got as far as East Berlin. But he's got practically the whole of the KGB on his tail-and the East German security forces of course. He's holed up somewhere in East Berlin, and he got one message over to us. That he'd be coming across between six and seven P.M. on one of the next three nights-tomorrow, next day, or next day. He gave the crossing point. Trouble is"-the downward curve of M.'s lips became even more bitter-"the courier he used was a double. Station WB bowled him out yesterday. Quite by chance. Had a lucky break with one of the KGB codes. The courier'll be flown out for trial, of course. But that won't help. The KGB knows that 272 will be making a run for it. They know when. They know where. They know just as much as we do-and no more. Now, the code we cracked was a one-day-only setting on their machines. But we got the whole of that day's traffic, and that was good enough. They plan to shoot him on the run. At this street crossing between East and West Berlin he gave us in his message. They're mounting quite an operation-Operation Extase, they call it. Put their best sniper on the job. All we know about him is that his code name is the Russian for Trigger. Station WB guesses he's the same man they've used before for sniper work. Long-range stuff across the frontier. He's going to be guarding this crossing every night, and his job is to get 272. Of course they'd obviously prefer to do a smoother job with machine guns and what-have-you. But it's quiet in Berlin at the moment, and apparently the word is it's got to stay so. Anyway"-M. shrugged-"they've got confidence in this Trigger operator, and that's the way it's going to be!"
De Ruth's painting used to occupy him eight to 15 hours a day. Now he is down to about seven hours. He works very rapidly, with intense concentration. "I don't paint after the afternoon," he explains, "except sometimes sketching at night. You exhaust your juices by the time evening comes along."
'A Mr Bond, sir.'
James Bond, sitting on the edge of his bed, said, "Thank you."