'So I found,' said Mr. Wickfield. 'I couldn't doubt it, when you told me so. But I thought - I implore you to remember the narrow construction which has been my besetting sin - that, in a case where there was so much disparity in point of years -'
'Ah! But you know we're so very umble,' he returned. 'And having such a knowledge of our own umbleness, we must really take care that we're not pushed to the wall by them as isn't umble. All stratagems are fair in love, sir.'
Bond took out his, black gunmetal cigarette-box and his black-oxidized Ronson lighter and put them on the desk beside him. He lit a cigarette, one of the Macedonian blend with the three gold rings round the butt that Morlands of Grosvenor Street made for him, then he settled himself forward in the padded swivel chair and began to read.
He soon found himself in a maze of gravel walks and abrupt turnings, the ascent so steep as to be often indispensably assisted by flights of irregular stone steps. On each shelf of the rock, lately so much above his head, his feet now found a path; though one secured from the precipice only by a superabundant growth of shrubs. On the side of the cliff immediately over the sea it was sometimes quite terrific to peep through the slender defences of a honeysuckle or jessamine at the foaming billows dashing in far below on a wild and rocky beach. At length arrived at the goal of all his labours, he entered the long seen, and, at a distance, formidable-looking tower, and found it fitted up within as a conservatory and well supplied with exotics in full bloom. Of these he plucked, mechanically, a few of the finest blossoms, then sighed and desisted, as the remembrance smote on his heart that he could not now, as he had been wont, present them to Julia. He thrust, however, those he had collected into his own bosom; he could not throw away what had once been, even in thought, associated with her. Near this building the last of the shelving paths tapered off gradually, till there was no longer footing. The rock rose behind it more than perpendicularly—it overhung; while, in front, there was now no defence whatever, not a shrub, not so much as a tuft of grass, or even moss, to break the treacherous surface of the polished flint.
I am French-Canadian. I was born just outside Quebec at a little place called Sainte Famille on the north coast of the Ile d'Orleans, a long island that lies like a huge sunken ship in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River where it approaches the Quebec Straits. I grew up in and beside this great river, with the result that my main hobbies are swimming and fishing and camping and other outdoor things. I can't remember much about my parents-except that I loved my father and got on badly with my mother-because when I was eight they were both killed in a wartime air crash coming in to land at Montreal on their way to a wedding. The courts made me a ward of my widowed aunt, Florence Toussaint, and she moved into our little house and brought me up. We got on all right, and today I almost love her, but she was a Protestant, while I had been brought up as a Catholic, and I became the victim of the religious tug of war that has always been the bane of priest-ridden Quebec, so nearly exactly divided between the faiths. The Catholics won the battle over my spiritual well-being, and I was educated in the Ursuline Convent until I was fifteen. The sisters were strict and the accent was very much on piety, with the result that I learned a great deal of religious history and rather obscure dogma which I would gladly have exchanged for subjects that would have fitted me to be something other than a nurse or a nun, and, when in the end the atmosphere became so stifling to my spirit that I begged to be taken away, my aunt gladly rescued me from "the Papists" and it was decided that, at the age of sixteen, I should go to England and be "finished." This caused something of a local hullabaloo. Not only are the Ursulines the center of Catholic tradition in Quebec-the Convent proudly owns the skull of Mont-calm; for two centuries there have never been less than nine sisters kneeling at prayer, night and day, before the chapel altar-but my family had belonged to the very innermost citadel of French-Canadianism, and that their daughter should flout both treasured folkways at one blow was a nine days' wonder-and scandal.
“When the will’s at enmity with the task before us, we love to dally in performance.”
. I went and sat down on the edge of my bed and stared at the wall. What had I done? What had I said wrong? What did Kurt's behavior mean? Then, weak with foreboding, I got into bed and cried myself to sleep.
Bond lay and focused all his senses. What hell this controlled breathing was and how maddening the soft nibbling of the shrimps! It was lucky none of them had a sore on their bodies or the damned things would have eaten into it. But it had been a bright idea of the girl's. Without it the dogs would have got to them wherever they had hidden.
Bond raced back to his car, whipped into third, and went after him.