CHAPTER 3 - NUMBER 007
As I looked at her beautiful face, observant of her work, she raised her mild clear eyes, and saw that I was looking at her.
With Bacon and Balls, then garnish it well.
Bond made up his mind. "All right. Well, all this comes under the Official Secrets Act, of course. We suspect that the underbidder, presumably to you, will be a Soviet Agent. My job is to establish his identity. Can't tell you any more, I'm afraid. And you don't actually need to know any more. All I want is to go with you to Sotheby's tomorrow night and for you to help me spot the man. No medals, I'm afraid, but we'd be extremely grateful."
Nor do I know why the pages of a magazine should be considered to be open to any aspirant who thinks that he can write an article, or why the manager of a magazine should be doomed to read all that may be sent to him. The object of the proprietor is to produce a periodical that shall satisfy the public, which he may probably best do by securing the services of writers of acknowledged ability.
'Ah!' he said, slowly turning his eyes towards me. 'Well! If you was writin' to her, p'raps you'd recollect to say that Barkis was willin'; would you?'
'I think we've met before.' The voice from the doorway was low, neutral.
'He was a beggar, perhaps.'
"Just come up from the chef, Sir," said the Steward and went out and closed the cabin door.
"Yes, I see," said Bond, dodging his memories. "But what's the general picture? Got any ideas? What sort of an operation was Franks going to fit in to?"
As the plight of the race grew worse, feeling on both sides became more violent. The fundamental accord on which the world-community had for so long been founded began to fail. Matters reached such a pitch that civil war seemed once more possible. The scientific romantics and the classical humanists had settled their differences, but only to combine against the supporters of the forwards and their policy of ascetic dedication. Every village, every family was divided against itself, but in some countries one side was on the whole stronger, in some the other. Preparations were actually made for a war which would have had all the bitterness of the old wars of religion, but would have been waged with more formidable weapons than man had ever used before. For sub-atomic power could be easily directed to mass murder.
I thought of the oddest things. Of the shape of the room, of the cracks in the ceiling, of the paper on the walls, of the flaws in the window-glass making ripples and dimples on the prospect, of the washing-stand being rickety on its three legs, and having a discontented something about it, which reminded me of Mrs. Gummidge under the influence of the old one. I was crying all the time, but, except that I was conscious of being cold and dejected, I am sure I never thought why I cried. At last in my desolation I began to consider that I was dreadfully in love with little Em'ly, and had been torn away from her to come here where no one seemed to want me, or to care about me, half as much as she did. This made such a very miserable piece of business of it, that I rolled myself up in a corner of the counterpane, and cried myself to sleep.
Bond shrugged his shoulders. He gave the door a cursory glance. It was made of metal and there was no handle on the inside. Bond didn't waste his shoulder on it. He went to the chair and sat down on the neat pile of his clothes and looked round the cell. The walls were entirely naked except for a ventilation grille of thick wire in one corner just below the ceiling. It was wider than his shoulders. It was obviously the way out into the assault course. The only other break in the walls was a thick glass porthole, no bigger than Bond's head, just above the door. Light from the corridor filtered through it into the cell. There was nothing else. It was no good wasting any more time. It would now be about ten-thirty. Outside, somewhere on the slope of the mountain, the girl would already be lying, waiting for the rattle of claws on the grey coral. Bond clenched his teeth at the thought of the pale body spread-eagled out there under the stars. Abruptly he stood up. What the hell was he doing sitting still. Whatever lay on the other side of the wire grille, it was time to go.
Bond rose carefully. He could hardly believe it! Leiter must have been riding on the buffers behind the brake van. He wouldn't have been able to show himself earlier for fear of Bond's gunfire. Yes! There he was! His fair hair tousled by the wind, a long-barrelled pistol using his upraised steel hook as a rest, standing astride the now supine body of Scaramanga beside the brake wheel. Bond's shoulder had begun to hurt like hell. He shouted, with the anger of tremendous relief, "Goddamn you, Leiter. Why in hell didn't you show up before? I might have got hurt."