I said gratefully, "Yes, please tell me. And I promise. Cross my heart."
"I can't imagine not being married at this point," he says, the thick gold band gleaming on his finger. "If my marriage weren't happy, I couldn't make the right kind of career decisions. One supports the other. They're part of the same package." Does he expect to have more children? Richard smiles broadly and replies: "That's really my wife's department."
He has said that he had given up hunting; but he still kept two horses for such riding as may be had in or about the immediate neighborhood of London. He continued to ride to the end of his life: he liked the exercise, and I think it would have distressed him not to have had a horse in his stable. But he never spoke willingly on hunting matters. He had at last resolved to give up his favourite amusement, and that as far as he was concerned there should be an end of it. In the spring of 1877 he went to South Africa, and returned early in the following year with a book on the colony already written. In the summer of 1878, he was one of a party of ladies and gentlemen who made an expedition to Iceland in the “Mastiff,” one of Mr. John Burns’ steam-ships. The journey lasted altogether sixteen days, and during that time Mr. and Mrs. Burns were the hospitable entertainers. When my father returned, he wrote a short account of How the “Mastiffs” went to Iceland. The book was printed, but was intended only for private circulation.
The red curtains at the other end of the room were moving. Through half-sleeping eyes I wondered why. Outside, the wind had dropped and there was no sound. Lazily I raised my eyes to look above me. The curtains at this end of the room, above our bed, were motionless. There must be a small breeze coming off the lake. Come on! For heaven's sake go to sleep!
'Well, nor have I. I just don't understand any part of it. Perhaps the professors'll help us out this afternoon. But you're obviously right that it's SPECTRE all over again. By the way, your tip about Pontresina was a good one. He was a Bulgar. Can't remember his name, but Interpol turned him up for us. Plastic explosives expert. Worked for KBG in Turkey. If it's true that the U2 that fellow Powers was piloting was brought down by delayed charges and not by rockets, it may be this man was implicated. He was on the list of suspects. Then he turned free-lance. Went into business on his own. That's probably when SPECTRE picked him up. We were doubtful about your identification of Blofeld. The Pontresina lead helped a lot. You're absolutely sure of him, are you? He certainly seems to have done a good job on his face and stomach. Better set him up on the Identicast when you get back this evening. We'll have a look at him and get the views of the medical gentry.'
'The agent gave them the two camera-cases you saw. He said the bright colours would make it easier for them. He told them that the blue case contained a very powerful smoke-bomb. The red case was the explosive. As one of them threw the red case, the other was to press a switch on the blue case and they would escape under cover of the smoke. In fact, the smoke-bomb was a pure invention to make the Bulgars think they could get away. Both cases contained an identical high-explosive bomb. There was no difference between the blue and the red cases. The idea was to destroy you and the bomb-throwers without trace. Presumably there were other plans for dealing with the third man.'
Would it work?
There were no fingernails. Instead there was this same, yellowish carapace. The man turned the hands sideways. Down each edge of the hands was a hard ridge of the same bony substance.
The coach was in the yard, shining very much all over, but without any horses to it as yet; and it looked in that state as if nothing was more unlikely than its ever going to London. I was thinking this, and wondering what would ultimately become of my box, which Mr. Barkis had put down on the yard-pavement by the pole (he having driven up the yard to turn his cart), and also what would ultimately become of me, when a lady looked out of a bow-window where some fowls and joints of meat were hanging up, and said:
“You know it is quite a naval affair,” said a naval officer.
'But surely it is Monsieur Bond?' Mathis's voice behind him was full of surprised delight. Bond, appropriately flustered, rose to his feet. 'Can it be that you are alone? Are you awaiting someone? May I present my colleague, Mademoiselle Lynd? My dear, this is the gentleman from Jamaica with whom I had the pleasure of doing business this morning.'
“Assag,” he said. Have a seat.
'Don't you remember Traddles? Traddles in our room at Salem House?'
To this day he didn't know how he had made it to the jeep. Again and again the knots gave under the strain and the bars crashed down on the calves of his legs, and each time he had sat with his head in his hands and then started all over again. But finally, by concentrating on counting his steps and stopping for a rest at every hundredth, he got to the blessed little jeep and collapsed beside it. And then there had been the business of burying his hoard in the wood, amongst a jumble of big rocks that he would be sure to find again, of cleaning himself up as best he could, and of getting back to his billet by a circuitous route that avoided the Oberhauser chalet. And then it was all done, and he had got drunk by himself off a bottle of cheap schnapps and eaten and gone to bed and fallen into a stupefied sleep. The next day, MOB "A" Force had moved off up the Mittersill valley on a fresh trail, and six months later Major Smythe was back in London and his war was over.
'Well, he has got lobes,' said Bond, annoyed. 'Rather pronounced lobes as a matter of fact. Where does that get us?'
It soon became evident that there was no real basis for negotiations, and Stephens and his associates had to return to Richmond disappointed. In the same month, was adopted by both Houses of Congress the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibited slavery throughout the whole dominion of the United States. By the close of 1865, this amendment had been confirmed by thirty-three States. It is probable that among these thirty-three there were several States the names of which were hardly familiar to some of the older citizens of the South, the men who had accepted the responsibility for the rebellion. The state of mind of these older Southerners in regard more particularly to the resources of the North-west was recalled to me years after the War by an incident related by General Sherman at a dinner of the New England Society. Sherman said that during the march through Georgia he had found himself one day at noon, when near the head of his column, passing below the piazza of a comfortable-looking old plantation house. He stopped to rest on the piazza with one or two of his staff and was received by the old planter with all the courtliness that a Southern gentleman could show, even to an invader, when doing the honours of his own house. The General and the planter sat on the piazza, looking at the troops below and discussing, as it was inevitable under the circumstances that they must discuss, the causes of the War.
'You come to the point, my dear,' said my aunt. 'They are not to be got rid of, for six months at least, unless they could be underlet, and that I don't believe. The last man died here. Five people out of six would die - of course - of that woman in nankeen with the flannel petticoat. I have a little ready money; and I agree with you, the best thing we can do, is, to live the term out here, and get a bedroom hard by.'