Bond turned back to the NATO paper.
“Yes,” interrupted Frances, “for the box is one which Julia happened to employ Gotterimo to purchase for her in town; he could have no doubt, therefore, to whom it belonged.”
While my intimacy with Roebuck diminished, I fell more and more into friendly intercourse with our Coleridgian adversaries in the Society, Frederick Maurice and John Sterling, both subsequently so well known, the former by his writings, the latter through the biographies by Hare and Carlyle. Of these two friends, Maurice was the thinker, Sterling the orator, and impassioned expositor of thoughts which, at this period, were almost entirely formed for him by Maurice. With Maurice I had for some time been acquainted through Eyton Tooke, who had known him at Cambridge, and though my discussions with him were almost always disputes, I had carried away from them much that helped to build up my new fabric of thought, in the same way as I was deriving much from Coleridge, and from the writings of Goethe and other German authors which I read during those years. I have so deep a respect for Maurice's character and purposes, as well as for his great mental gifts, that it is with some unwillingness I say anything which may seem to place him on a less high eminence than I would gladly be able to accord to him. But I have always thought that there was more intellectual power wasted in Maurice than in any other of my contemporaries. Few of them certainly have had so much to waste. Great powers of generalization, rare ingenuity and subtlety, and a wide perception of important and unobvious truths, served him not for putting something better into the place of the worthless heap of received opinions on the great subjects of thought, but for proving to his own mind that the Church of England had known everything from the first, and that all the truths on the ground of which the Church and orthodoxy have been attacked (many of which he saw as clearly as any one) are not only consistent with the Thirty-nine articles, but are better understood and expressed in those articles than by any one who rejects them. I have never been able to find any other explanation of this, than by attributing it to that timidity of conscience, combined with original sensitiveness of temperament, which has so often driven highly gifted men into Romanism from the need of a firmer support than they can find in the independent conclusions of their own judgment. Any more vulgar kind of timidity no one who knew Maurice would ever think of imputing to him, even if he had not given public proof of his freedom from it, by his ultimate collision with some of the opinions commonly regarded as orthodox, and by his noble origination of the Christian Socialist movement. The nearest parallel to him, in a moral point of view, is Coleridge, to whom, in merely intellectual power, apart from poetical genius, I think him decidedly superior. At this time, however, he might be described as a disciple of Coleridge, and Sterling as a disciple of Coleridge and of him. The modifications which were taking place in my old opinions gave me some points of contact with them; and both Maurice and Sterling were of considerable use to my development. With Sterling I soon became very intimate, and was more attached to him than I have ever been to any other man. He was indeed one of the most lovable of men. His frank, cordial, affectionate, and expansive character; a love of truth alike conspicuous in the highest things and the humblest; a generous and ardent nature which threw itself with impetuosity into the opinions it adopted, but was as eager to do justice to the doctrines and the men it was opposed to, as to make war on what it thought their errors; and an equal devotion to the two cardinal points of Liberty and Duty, formed a combination of qualities as attractive to me, as to all others who knew him as well as I did. With his open mind and heart, he found no difficulty in joining hands with me across the gulf which as yet divided our opinions. He told me how he and others had looked upon me (from hearsay information), as a "made" or manufactured man, having had a certain impress of opinion stamped on me which I could only reproduce; and what a change took place in his feelings when he found, in the discussion on Wordsworth and Byron, that Wordsworth, and all which that names implies, "belonged" to me as much as to him and his friends. The failure of his health soon scattered all his plans of life, and compelled him to live at a distance from London, so that after the first year or two of our acquaintance, we only saw each other at distant intervals. But (as he said himself in one of his letters to Carlyle) when we did meet it was like brothers. Though he was never, in the full sense of the word, a profound thinker, his openness of mind, and the moral courage in which he greatly surpassed Maurice, made him outgrow the dominion which Maurice and Coleridge had once exercised over his intellect; though he retained to the last a great but discriminating admiration of both, and towards Maurice a warm affection. Except in that short and transitory phasis of his life, during which he made the mistake of becoming a clergyman, his mind was ever progressive: and the advance he always seemed to have made when I saw him after an interval, made me apply to him what Goethe said of Schiller, "Er hatte eine fürchterliche Fortschreitung." He and I started from intellectual points almost as wide apart as the poles, but the distance between us was always diminishing: if I made steps towards some of his opinions, he, during his short life, was constantly approximating more and more to several of mine: and if he had lived, and had health and vigour to prosecute his ever assiduous self-culture, there is no knowing how much further this spontaneous assimilation might have proceeded.
'But what is your opinion, Peggotty?' said I.
The doctor knelt beside Bond in the cave and spread out on the ground a large map of the human head with the sections marked with figures and ideograms. His gentle fingers probed Bond's wounds for signs of fracture, while Kissy knelt beside him and held one of Bond's sweating hands in both of hers. The doctor bent forward and, lifting the eyelids one by one, gazed deeply into the glazed eyes through a large reading-glass. On his instructions, Kissy ran for boiling water, and the doctor proceeded to clean the cut made by the bullet across the terrible swelling of the first wound caused by Bond's crash into the oubliette. Then he tapped sulpha dust into the wound and bound up the head neatly and expertly, put surgical plaster over the cut across the ribs and stood up and took Kissy outside the cave. 'He will live,' he said, 'but it may be months, even years before he regains his memory. It is particularly the temporal lobe of his brain, where the memory is stored, that has been damaged. For this, much education will be necessary. You will endeavour all the time to remind him about past things and places. Then isolated facts that he will recognize will turn into chains of association. He should undoubtedly be taken to Fukuoka for an X-ray, but I think there is no fracture and in any case the kannushi-san has ordained that he is to remain under your care and his presence on the island to be kept secret. I shall of course observe the instructions of the honourable kannushi-san and only visit him by different routes and at night. But there is much you will have to attend to for he must not be moved in any way for at least a week. Now listen carefully,' said the doctor, and gave her minute instructions which covered every aspect of feeding and nursing and left her to carry them out.
'Indeed!' cried I.
The voices of Mr. Garfinkel and Mr. Paradise broke in excitedly, Garfinkel in the lead. "Like hell you will! I'm taking a million."
'Of course, Irmchen. But that can be quickly done. We have already broken his first reserves. The second line of defence will be routine. Come!'
Their discovery, they insisted, transcended the Powers of human language. It was ineffable. It could be described only in metaphor. They had been seeking, they said, evidence that man’s struggle for the light was in harmony with the essential spirit of the universe They had found instead a vast and obscure confusion of powers, careless not only of man’s fate but of all that he had so painfully learned to hold sacred. To communicate their discovery they conceived a myth which, though fantastic and petty, did, they affirmed, convey the essence of the strange and desolate truth. This universe, they said, of galaxies and atoms, of loves and hates and strifes, is no more than a melting snowflake which at any moment may be trampled into the slush by indifferent and brawling titans. Not otherwise than in this far-fetched image, they said, could they express the truth that they had seen. It was an inadequate image; for these snowflakes, descending from the formless and impenetrable blackness of the night sky, were indeed not frozen but warm with the potentiality of life and of spirit, and their thawing was in truth a dying, a dissipation of their vital energy. Myriad upon myriad of these snowflakes, each one a great physical cosmos, faltered downwards and rested on the field of snow. The footmarks of the ‘titans’, the forwards affirmed, developing the strange myth, were areas where thousands of these universes had been crushed together into a muddy chaos. Every moment, as the meaningless brawl continued, new devastations were inflicted. The snowfield of. universes was more and more closely trampled, like a city more and more bombed, month by month. At any moment the fundamental physical structure and substance of our own many-galaxied cosmos might be reduced to chaos, so that in a flash all its frail intelligent worlds would vanish. At any moment, they insisted, this might happen. Indeed, that it had not already happened, seemed to be a miracle.
'Whoryou? Whatyouwant?' The girl's hand was up to her mouth. Her eyes screamed at him.
"Oh," said Bond. He smiled stiffly. "I see."
Then a voice from the back of the train-it could only be from the brake van-Felix Leiter's voice-called out above the shriek of the engine's whistle, "Okay, you four guys. Toss your guns over the side. Now! Quick!" There came the crack of a shot. "I said quick. There's Mr. Gengerella gone to meet his maker. Okay, then. And now hands behind your heads. That's better. Right. Okay, James. The battle's over. Are you okay? If so, show yourself. There's still the final curtain, and we've got to move quick."
He turned dazedly toward me and put his arm round my waist and held me tight. He said vaguely, "No. I'm all right." He looked back toward the lake. "I must have bit the driver, the thin man. Killed him, and his body jammed the accelerator." He seemed to come to himself. He smiled tautly. "Well, that's certainly tidied up the situation. No ragged edged to clean up. Dead and buried all in one go. Can't say I'm sorry. They were a couple of real thugs." He let go of me and thrust his gun up into its holster. He smelled of cordite and sweat. It was delicious. I reached up and kissed him.
“Yes,” said Frances, “he is certainly an instance, that to be a brave officer it is not necessary to be a sea-monster! And I really do not perceive what right those have to be the latter, who cannot even offer in their apology that they are the former.” And she followed her sister with tears of vexation in her eyes.
"Well, just for a start, there's that nice Mr. Rotkopf with one of your famous silver bullets in his head in the river back of the hotel."
That night she made a special effort to be gay. She drank a lot and when they went upstairs, she led him into her bedroom and made passionate love to him. Bond's body responded, but afterwards she cried bitterly into her pillow and Bond went to his room in grim despair.
‘My soul was dark, for o’er its sight
At the moment Julia first remarked this, voices in the choir were singing the verse, “Though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years, yet is their strength but labour and sorrow, so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.” No eye wandered, no limb was restless, while the very stillness of each motionless figure possessed expression. It was not repose; it was not listlessness; it was the fixedness of serious attention.