Kerim's laugh was indulgent. `My friend, I must explain something which you should know. We and the Russians and the Americans have a paid man in all the hotels. And we have all bribed an official of the Secret police at Headquarters and we receive a carbon copy of the list of all foreigners entering the country every day by air or train or sea. Given a few more days I could have smuggled you in through the Greek frontier. But for what purpose? Your existence here has to be known to the other side so that our friend can contact you. It is a condition she had laid down that she will make her own arrangements for the meeting. Perhaps she does not trust our security. Who knows? But she was definite about it and she said, as if I didn't know it, that her centre would immediately be advised of your arrival.' Kerim shrugged his broad shoulders. `So why make things difficult for her? I am merely concerned with making things easy and comfortable for you so that you will at least enjoy your stay-even if it is fruitless.'
Now in his 30th consecutive year as artistic director of the New York City Ballet, Mr. B. shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to direct most of the dances for his 92-member company and to create new choreographic works of daring originality. He continues to teach at the School of American Ballet, which he cofounded in 1934 with Lincoln Kirstein. And Balanchine can still, when he chooses, write out the parts for all the instruments of the orchestra. Yet he thinks of himself more as a craftsman than a creator, and often compares his work to that of a cook or cabinetmaker — two crafts, by the way, in which he is rather skilled.
'Good day, sir,' said my aunt, 'and good-bye! Good day to you, too, ma'am,' said my aunt, turning suddenly upon his sister. 'Let me see you ride a donkey over my green again, and as sure as you have a head upon your shoulders, I'll knock your bonnet off, and tread upon it!'
'But to bring you so far,' I returned, 'and to separate, seems bad companionship, Steerforth.'
'Just so,' said Tiger proudly, '25,000 Japanese commit suicide every year. Only the bureaucrats regard that as a shameful statistic. And the more spectacular the suicide, the more warmly it is approved. Not long ago, a young student achieved great renown by trying to saw his own head off. Lovers link hands and throw themselves over the very high Kegon Falls at Nikko. The Mihara volcano on the island of Oshima is another favourite locale. People run down the roasting slope of the crater and hurl themselves., their shoes on fire, into the bubbling cauldron in its centre. To combat this popular pastime, the interfering authorities have now opened, at great expense, a "Suicide Prevention Office" on the peak. But always the wheels of the good old-fashioned railway train provide the most convenient guillotine. They have the merit of being self-operating. All you need to do is make a four-foot jump.'
11 Ballcock, and Other, Trouble
James Bond awoke at six. At first he didn't know where he was. He lay and remembered. Sir James Molony had said that his memory would be sluggish for a while. The E.C.T. treatment at The Park, a discreet so-called "convalescent home" in a vast mansion in Kent, had been fierce. Twenty-four bashes at his brain from the black box in thirty days. After it was over, Sir James had confessed that, if he had been practising in America, he wouldn't have been allowed to administer more than eighteen. At first, Bond had been terrified at the sight of the box and of the two cathodes that would be cupped to each temple. He had heard that people undergoing shock treatment had to be strapped down, that their jerking, twitching bodies, impelled by the volts, often hurtled off the operating table. But that, it seemed, was old hat. Now there was the longed-for needle with the pentathol, and Sir James said there was no movement of the body when the current flashed through except a slight twitching of the eyelids. And the results had been miraculous. After the pleasant, quiet-spoken analyst had explained to him what had been done to him in Russia, and after he had passed through the mental agony of knowing what he had nearly done to M., the old fierce hatred of the K.G.B. and all its works had been reborn in him, and, six weeks after he had entered The Park, all he wanted was to get back at the people who had invaded his brain for their own murderous purposes. And then had come his physical rehabilitation and the inexplicable amount of gun practice he had had to do at the Maidstone police range. And then the day arrived when the Chief of Staff had come down and spent the day briefing Bond on his new assignment. The reason for the gun practice became clear. And the scribble of green ink wishing him luck -signed "M."-boosted his spirits. Two days later he was ready to enjoy the excitement of the ride to London airport on his way across the world.
There was a packet of Gauloises on the table and a lighter. Le Chiffre lit a cigarette and swallowed a mouthful of coffee from the glass. Then he picked up the cane carpet-beater and, resting the handle comfortably on his knee, allowed the flat trefoil base to lie on the floor directly under Bond's chair.