'Now you are a scholar, Trotwood,' said Mr. Dick. 'You are a fine scholar. You know what a learned man, what a great man, the Doctor is. You know what honour he has always done me. Not proud in his wisdom. Humble, humble - condescending even to poor Dick, who is simple and knows nothing. I have sent his name up, on a scrap of paper, to the kite, along the string, when it has been in the sky, among the larks. The kite has been glad to receive it, sir, and the sky has been brighter with it.'
Bond had read a quarter of the book when he felt his ears begin to block as the plane started its fifty-mile descent towards the western coastline of Ireland. "Fasten your seat-belts. No smoking" and there was the green-and-white searchlight of Shannon and the red and gold of the flare-path rushing towards them, and then the brilliant blue of the ground-lights between which the Stratocruiser trundled towards the unloading bay. Steak and champagne for dinner, and the wonderful goblet of hot coffee laced with Irish whisky and topped with half an inch of thick cream. A glance at the junk in the airport shops, the 'Irish Horn Rosaries', the 'Bog Oak Irish Harp', and the 'Brass Leprechauns', all at .50, and the ghastly 'Irish Musical Cottage at , the furry, unwearable tweeds and the dainty Irish linen doilies and cocktail napkins. And then the Irish rigmarole coming over the loudspeaker in which only the words 'BOAC' and 'New York' were comprehensible, the translation into English, the last look at Europe, and they were climbing to 15,000 feet and heading for their next contact with the surface of the world, the radio beacons on the weather ships Jig and Charlie, marking time around their compass points somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic.
James Bond wrestled with his chopsticks and slivers of raw octopus and a mound of rice ('You must get accustomed to the specialities of the country, Bondo-san') and watched the jagged coastline, interspersed with glittering paddy-fields, flash by. He was lost in thought when he felt a hard jostle from behind. He had been constantly jostled as he sat up at the counter - the Japanese are great j ostlers - but he now turned and caught a glimpse of the stocky back of a man disappearing into the next compartment. There were white strings round his ears which showed that he was wearing a masko, and he wore an ugly black leather hat. When they went back to their seat Bond found that his pocket had been picked. His wallet was gone. Tiger was astonished. 'That is very unusual in Japan,' he said defensively. 'But no matter. I will get you another at Toba. It would be a mistake to call the conductor. We do not wish to draw attention to ourselves. The police would be sent for at the next station and there would be much interrogation and filling out of forms. And there is no way of finding the thief. The man will have pocketed his masko and hat and will be unrecognizable. I regret the incident, Bondo-san. I hope you will forget it.'
Bond slowly straightened himself. He dropped his hand to his side and the held breath came out between his teeth in a quiet hiss. The two dead-pan, professional faces told him even more than the two silver eyes of the guns. They held no tension, no excitement. The thin half-smiles were relaxed, contented. The eyes were not even wary. They were almost bored. Bond had looked into such faces many times before. This was routine. These men were killers - pro-killers.
Bond smiled at the word. "All right, Mary. Go ahead. Empty the Christmas stocking on the floor. Hope it's not going to bust any stitches." He put his book down on his lap.
The gun flashed and boomed as Bond jerked his head under cover of the coal-tender. Scaramanga laughed harshly. "Watch your lip, limey, or you'll end up without it." The hoods hawhawed.
To clear his mind he went carefully over both rooms looking for exits, possible weapons, microphones-anything that would add to his knowledge. There were none of these things. There was an electric clock on the wall which said eight-thirty and a row of bells beside the double bed. They said, Room Service, Coiffeur, Manicurist, Maid. There was no telephone; High up in a corner of both rooms was a small ventilator grille. > Each was about two feet square. Useless. The doors appeared to be of some light metal, painted to match the walls. Bond ; threw the whole weight of his body against one of them. It didn't give a millimetre. Bond rubbed his shoulder. The place was a prison-an exquisite prison. It was no good arguing. The trap had shut tight on them. Now the only thing for the mice to do was to make the most of the cheese. 2020-07-04 13:34:37