'The fee,' said Steerforth, 'is -'
Tiger turned to Bond. 'You understand that it is nighttime. In a few days, you will have to be doing something similar. Note that the lengths of rope terminate in an iron hook which they throw up and catch in crevices between the stone blocks.' The instructor said something to Tiger and pointed. Tiger nodded. He said to Bond, 'The man at the end is the weakest of the team. The instructor thinks he will soon fall.'
"Yes, a little. Why?"
'Go in for a tip,' she urged. 'No? Let's get the scaffolding up, then, for a pair of whiskers. Come!'
We were a little like undertakers, in the Commons, as regarded Probate transactions; generally making it a rule to look more or less cut up, when we had to deal with clients in mourning. In a similar feeling of delicacy, we were always blithe and light-hearted with the licence clients. Therefore I hinted to Peggotty that she would find Mr. Spenlow much recovered from the shock of Mr. Barkis's decease; and indeed he came in like a bridegroom.
"Don't be ridiculous," said Bond impatiently. "What the hell is there else to do? The explosion will be so terrific that one won't feel anything. And it's bound to work with all that fuel vapour hanging around. It's me or a million people in London. The warhead won't go off. Atom bombs don't explode like that. It'll be melted probably. There's just a chance you may get away. Most of the explosion will take the line of least resistance through the roof-and down the exhaust pit, if I can work the machinery that opens up the floor." He smiled. "Cheer up," he said, walking over to her and taking one of her hands. "The boy stood on the burning deck. I've wanted to copy him since I was five."
The deep boom of the two shots, which had been batting to and fro among the mountains, died away. Major Smythe took one last look at the black splash on the white snow and hurried off along the shoulder. First things first!
'She's the most ridiculous creature that ever was born,' said my aunt. 'I knew, from the first moment when I saw her with that poor dear blessed baby of a mother of yours, that she was the most ridiculous of mortals. But there are good points in Barkis!'
'Exactly so,' returned my aunt. 'What would you do with him, now?'
Bond braced himself as the tyres screamed and the car lurched on two wheels and then righted itself and stopped. Then he was out of the door and crouching with his gun up. The lights of the Chevrolet tore into the side road and there was a squeal of tortured rubber as it made the turn on the wrong side. Now, thought Bond, before he can straighten up.
It was, properly, a half-holiday; being Saturday. But as the noise in the playground would have disturbed Mr. Creakle, and the weather was not favourable for going out walking, we were ordered into school in the afternoon, and set some lighter tasks than usual, which were made for the occasion. It was the day of the week on which Mr. Sharp went out to get his wig curled; so Mr. Mell, who always did the drudgery, whatever it was, kept school by himself. If I could associate the idea of a bull or a bear with anyone so mild as Mr. Mell, I should think of him, in connexion with that afternoon when the uproar was at its height, as of one of those animals, baited by a thousand dogs. I recall him bending his aching head, supported on his bony hand, over the book on his desk, and wretchedly endeavouring to get on with his tiresome work, amidst an uproar that might have made the Speaker of the House of Commons giddy. Boys started in and out of their places, playing at puss in the corner with other boys; there were laughing boys, singing boys, talking boys, dancing boys, howling boys; boys shuffled with their feet, boys whirled about him, grinning, making faces, mimicking him behind his back and before his eyes; mimicking his poverty, his boots, his coat, his mother, everything belonging to him that they should have had consideration for.
At last I rose to go to bed, much to the relief of the sleepy waiter, who had got the fidgets in his legs, and was twisting them, and hitting them, and putting them through all kinds of contortions in his small pantry. In going towards the door, I passed the person who had come in, and saw him plainly. I turned directly, came back, and looked again. He did not know me, but I knew him in a moment.
Bond, gazing into the mirror in front of his own, chair, had watched with interest as the head barber delicately lifted up first one corner of the hot towels and then the other and with infinite precaution snipped the hair out of the customer's ears with small, thin scissors. Before he replaced the edge of the towel over the second ear, he bent down and said deferentially into it, "And the nostrils, Sir?"