CHAPTER 18 - A CRAG-LIKE FACE
The last evening came. Bond was glad he was on his way. He had only once been out of the training camp-to get the stores and arrange Quarrel's insurance-and he was chafing to get out of the stable and on to the track. He admitted to himself that this adventure excited him. It had the right ingredients-physical exertion, mystery, and a ruthless enemy. He had a good companion. His cause was just. There might also be the satisfaction of throwing the 'holiday in the sun' back in M's teeth. That had rankled. Bond didn't like being coddled.
THE TROUBLES of mankind were by no means over. Nor will they ever be. But with the founding of the new world-order the species entered on a new phase of its career, in which the balance of the forces of the light and the forces of darkness, already slightly favourable to the light, was tipped still farther by a much improved social structure. To many of the generation which founded the new world it seemed not only that a new age had started, which was true, but that henceforth there could be no serious troubles. In this they were mistaken. Masses of human beings who were not ready for the new order were included in it against their wills. In their hearts they still clung to the old values. They still desired a disorderly world so that they could continue to practise brigandage of one kind or another. They still cared mainly for personal dominance or for tribal glory. In the new world, therefore, they set out to make trouble. They tried to undermine the federal authority and the people’s confidence in the new order. They exaggerated its failures, disparaged its successes, fomented the differences between the peoples and between social classes.
THE AWAKENING of the Tibetans caused a stir throughout the world. For a while it seemed that at last the light would win. Bold young Tibetans, ‘itinerant servants of the light’, left their frugal and crag-bound ‘incipient Utopia’ to spread the gospel across the high passes of the Karakorum Range into Sinkiang and far into the Russian plain. Others, still more daring, penetrated eastward to the upper reaches of the Hwang Ho. Evading the efficient Chinese police, they carried the word even to Shanghai, and thence to Japan. Yet others, crossing the more difficult and neglected of the Himalayan passes, percolated like an invisible ferment into the peoples of India; while others again crept along the gorges of Kashmir, seeking Europe. Thousands were caught, and tortured with all the cunning of medical and psychological science. In China these tortures were often carried out in public to entertain the people and warn those who had any leanings towards the light. But few of the missionaries were extirpated before they had infected with their message many who were ripe to receive it. Meanwhile in Lhasa and the other great centres of the new-old truth swarms of young men and women were being trained to carry on the great task.
Now though we had been careful and cunning enough to keep this from the Knowledge of my Father, yet Jealousy soon open'd the Eyes of a Lover; for the Foreman of my Father's Shop, designing me for himself, found out our Correspondence, and discovered the same to my Father: At which he was very much displeas'd, knowing that the young Gentleman had little or no Foundation, but his own Natural Parts, and his Education, to recommend him for a Husband to a City Heiress. Hereupon my Father forbad me his Company, charging me to have no manner of Correspondence with him, upon pain of his utmost Displeasure. But, alas! my Affections were too far ingag'd, to let Duty have the Regency; and not only my Affections, but my faithful Word given in Promise of Marriage to this young Gentleman; which I kept from my Father, assuring him of a ready Obedience to his Commands.
Bond gave an evasive reply. He walked over to the bar and handed Leiter's money to him. For a few minutes they discussed the game over a bottle of champagne. Leiter took a .45 bullet out of his pocket and placed it on the table.
Coach Joe Vigil had never heard of Caballo, either. I’d hoped that maybe they’d met on that epicday in Leadville, or later on down in the Barrancas. But right after the Leadville race, CoachVigil’s life had taken a sudden and dramatic turn. It started with a phone call: a young woman wason the line, asking if Coach Vigil could help her qualify for the Olympics. She’d been prettytalented in college, but she’d gotten so sick of running that she’d given it up and was thinking ofopening a bakery café instead. Unless Coach Vigil thought she should keep trying …?
Meanwhile the sun, like all stars of his age and size, was growing hotter, through the increasingly rapid release of energy in his interior. The more highly specialized biological types on the Earth were gradually destroyed. The lowlier kinds became adapted to an ever more torrid climate. More and still more of the ocean vaporized into the atmosphere, shutting out the heavens with perennial cloud. Little by little conditions on the earth passed beyond the limit of adaptability of any terrestrial species. The ocean began to boil, the sands to melt, the atmosphere to vanish into outer space. The increasing heat of the sun, however, had favoured the evolution of life on Uranus. Slowly, as on Earth, there appeared a multitude of species. And as on Earth these one by one reached a climax of specialization beyond which no further evolution was possible to them. At last, as on Earth, one single type, specialized only for versatility, stood at the threshold of lucidity. But then the sun, as so many stars before him, exploded into the nova state, fusing all his planets.
The Count said sharply, 'Was ist derm los?'
'Position your hands behind your neck.' The silky, patient voice was from the south, from the Mediterranean. It fitted with the men's faces - tough-skinned, widely pored, yellow-brown. Marseillais perhaps, or Italian. The Mafia? The faces belonged to good secret police or tough crooks. Bond's mind ticked and whirred, selecting cards like an IBM machine. What enemies had he got in those areas? Might it be Blofeld? Had the hare turned upon the hound?
There once used to be many who thought, and probably there still are some, even here in England, who think that a girl should hear nothing of love till the time come in which she is to be married. That, no doubt, was the opinion of Sir Anthony Absolute and of Mrs. Malaprop. But I am hardly disposed to believe that the old system was more favourable than ours to the purity of manners. Lydia Languish, though she was constrained by fear of her aunt to hide the book, yet had Peregrine Pickle in her collection. While human nature talks of love so forcibly it can hardly serve our turn to be silent on the subject. “Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.” There are countries in which it has been in accordance with the manners of the upper classes that the girl should be brought to marry the man almost out of the nursery — or rather perhaps out of the convent — without having enjoyed that freedom of thought which the reading of novels and of poetry will certainly produce; but I do not know that the marriages so made have been thought to be happier than our own.
He knew he must be gaining fast. Loaded as she was the Citro?n could hardly better eighty even on this road. On an impulse he slowed down to seventy, turned on his fog-lights, and dowsed the twin Marchals. Sure enough, without the blinding curtain of his own lights, he could see the glow of another car a mile or two down the coasts
Bond paid his green-fee to Hampton, the steward, and went into the changing-room. It was just the same - the same tacky smell of old shoes and socks and last summer's sweat. Why was it a tradition of the most famous golf clubs that their standard of hygiene should be that of a Victorian private school? Bond changed his socks and put on the battered old pair of nailed Saxones. He took off the coat of his yellowing black and white hound's tooth suit and pulled on a faded black wind-cheater. Cigarettes? Lighter? He was ready to go
鈥楧ec. 9.鈥擨 have just come from the City,鈥攚e live more than half-a-mile out of it. O, my Laura, a wide door is open before us. I was told that Batala is a place where we could not read the Bible: but I have copied a great deal into my Bible picture-book; and there is no let or hindrance that I can see in showing the pictures, and reading the descriptions, which are God鈥檚 own Word.... I find that a good way to begin, when I enter a house, is by showing off my Zouave. ... Every one is delighted with it. A good large group of women and children assemble.... It is harder for me to understand the women, than it is for them to understand me,鈥攖hey sometimes jabber so; and if they mix Panjabi, I am all at sea. In the evenings I intend to do a little Panjabi with Florrie; and in return I teach her to play the guitar. I have begun to learn the alphabet, which has thirty-five letters. We hope next week to have an Urdu Munshi; but I only intend to have one hour and a half with him [i.e. daily]....
And so my connection was dissolved with the department to which I had applied the thirty-three best years of my life — I must not say devoted, for devotion implies an entire surrender, and I certainly had found time for other occupations. It is however absolutely true that during all those years I had thought very much more about the Post Office than I had of my literary work, and had given to it a more unflagging attention. Up to this time I had never been angry, never felt myself injured or unappreciated in that my literary efforts were slighted. But I had suffered very much bitterness on that score in reference to the Post Office; and I had suffered not only on my own personal behalf, but also and more bitterly when I could not promise to be done the things which I thought ought to be done for the benefit of others. That the public in little villages should be enabled to buy postage stamps; that they should have their letters delivered free and at an early hour; that pillar letter-boxes should be put up for them (of which accommodation in the streets and ways of England I was the originator, having, however, got the authority for the erection of the first at St. Heliers in Jersey); that the letter-carriers and sorters should not be overworked; that they should be adequately paid, and have some hours to themselves, especially on Sundays; above all, that they should be made to earn their wages and latterly that they should not be crushed by what I thought to be the damnable system of so-called merit — these were the matters by which I was stirred to what the secretary was pleased to call energetic performance of my duties. How I loved, when I was contradicted — as I was very often and, no doubt, very properly — to do instantly as I was bid, and then to prove that what I was doing was fatuous, dishonest, expensive, and impracticable! And then there were feuds — such delicious feuds! I was always an anti-Hillite, acknowledging, indeed, the great thing which Sir Rowland Hill had done for the country, but believing him to be entirely unfit to manage men or to arrange labour. It was a pleasure to me to differ from him on all occasions — and, looking back now, I think that in all such differences I was right.