I decided that we would have an affair and I would escape to South America from Le Havre. I hoped I would have a baby of yours and be able to start again somewhere. ‘Leave me for a little,’ she said and a new note had come into her voice. ‘Let me think for a little.’ She kissed his face and held it between her hands. ‘Darling, I’m trying to do what’s best for us. I’m in a frightful…’ She wept again, clutching him like a child with nightmares. He led her to the bed and drew her down beside him. They sat stiffly, like people in a railway carriage. Both her doors were locked and when he made her let him in, he saw that she had been sitting in the shadows by the window, watching, he presumed. Vesper had shrugged her shoulders at the information. This time when the man appeared she left her lunch in the middle and went straight up to her room. Herr Gettler was understood to be connected with the watch industry. Inquiries could be pursued if there was a charge against him. The patron answered that the man was a stranger. He had been pleased with his lunch and had said that he would be passing that way again in a day or two and would take another meal at the auberge. Apparently he was Swiss, which could also be seen from his accent. The strain of keeping that patch in place all day long. She was clutching the edge of the table with both hands. He thought she was going to faint and almost rose to come round to her, but she made a gesture to stop him. Then she reached for a glass of wine and took a deep draught. The glass rattled on her teeth and she brought up her other hand to help. That was the end of the integrity of their love. The succeeding days were a shambles of falseness and hypocrisy, mingled with her tears and moments of animal passion to which she abandoned herself with a greed made indecent by the hollowness of their days.
- Sometimes they also noticed ringing in the ears or dizziness.
- It is really no different than going to the grocery store,” she said.
- In brief, Le Chiffre plans, we believe, to follow the example of most other desperate till-robbers and make good the deficit in his accounts by gambling.
- From there, he would set off in Colombo’s waters.
- Only a run against either can be decisive and ‘break the bank’, or break the players.
His round staring eyes had lowered for a split second and Bond guessed there was a gun trained on him. Le Chiffre desisted only when Bond’s tortured spasms showed a trace of sluggishness. He sat for a while sipping his coffee and frowning slightly like a surgeon watching a cardiograph during a difficult operation. It was the supreme test of will, he had learnt, to avoid showing this form of punch-drunkenness. Directly it was suspected they would either kill you at once and save themselves further useless effort, or let you recover sufficiently so that your nerves had crept back to the other side of the parabola. Le Chiffre had moved a few feet out into the passage. For a moment he lay there, all the breath knocked out of him. Then the thin man came and hauled him up against the wall by his collar. Then unhurriedly he bent down and swiped the barrel viciously across Bond’s shins. Le Chiffre opened the door with a key and disappeared inside. Vesper, looking incredibly indecent in the early light of day, was pushed in after him with a torrent of lewd French from the man whom Bond knew to himself as ‘the Corsican’. Bond followed without giving the thin man a chance to urge him. Ten minutes later the Citroën lurched to the left, ran on a hundred yards up a small side-road partly overgrown with grass and then between a pair of dilapidated stucco pillars into an unkempt forecourt surrounded by a high wall. They drew up in front of a peeling white door. Above a rusty bell-push in the door-frame, small zinc letters on a wooden base spelled out ‘Les Noctambules’ and, underneath, ‘Sonnez SVP’. He looked to the right, past the thin man who was lying back with his eyes closed. Damn fool girl getting herself trussed up like a chicken, having her skirt pulled over her head as if the whole of this business was some kind of dormitory rag. Her naked legs looked so childlike and defenceless. One of them took out a long knife and cut some of the fabric away from the side of the convertible hood and took hold of Bond’s shoulders. The other squeezed between the upturned car and the bank and forced his way through the crumpled window-frame. He eased Bond’s legs, pinned between the steering-wheel and the fabric roof of the car. Then they inched him out through a hole in the hood. Apart from her legs, which were naked to the hips, Vesper was only a parcel. Her long black velvet skirt had been lifted over her arms and head and tied above her head with a piece of rope. Where her face was, a small gap had been torn in the velvet so that she could breathe. She was not bound in any other way and she lay quiet, her body moving sluggishly with the swaying of the car. Soon he was out on the coast road, a broad highway through the sand-dunes which he knew from his morning’s drive had an excellent surface and was well cat’s-eyed on the bends. He pushed the revs up and up, hurrying the car to eighty then to ninety, his huge Marchal headlights boring a safe white tunnel, nearly half a mile long, between the walls of the night. As the car rocked to the left outside the gate, Bond ruefully longed for the front-wheel drive and low chassis of the Citroën. Then he went fast through the gears and settled himself for the pursuit, briefly savouring the echo of the huge exhaust as it came back at him from either side of the short main street through the town. The stuffiness of the room hit him as it had hit him in the Casino in the early hours of the previous day.
4 WITHDRAWAL PROCESSING TIMES
Every day Vesper came to see him and he looked forward to these visits with excitement. She talked happily of her adventures of the day before, her explorations down the coast and the restaurants where she had eaten. She had made friends with the chief of police and with one of the directors of the Casino and it was they who took her out in the evening and occasionally lent her a car during the day. She kept an eye on the repairs to the Bentley which had been towed down to coachbuilders at Rouen, and she even arranged for some new clothes to be sent out from Bond’s London flat. Every stitch had been cut to ribbons in the search for the forty million francs. She looked into his eyes and said nothing, but the enigmatic challenge was back. For no reason at all, he had expected that she would show some sign of her experiences, that she would look pale and even ill. He was not prepared for the tall bronzed girl in a cream tussore frock with a black belt who came happily through the door and stood smiling at him. He was told that every day she came to the nursing home and asked after him. Bond didn’t like flowers and he told the nurse to give them to another patient. After this had happened twice, no more flowers came.
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One’s a complete prisoner and although I screamed I don’t expect any sound came out from under my skirt. I kicked out as hard as I could, but that was no use as I couldn’t see and my arms were absolutely helpless. Like all harsh, cold men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment. She was very beautiful and he felt warm towards her. He decided to make his questions as easy as possible. Even later, in the car and outside the villa when God knows he had had other things to think about, his eroticism had been hotly aroused by the sight of her indecent nakedness. Bond was bored at the idea of having to explain some of this to Vesper. And he was embarrassed at having to ask one or two questions which mystified him, questions about Vesper’s behaviour. The answers would almost certainly make her out to be a fool. Then he had his full report to M to think about. In this he didn’t want to have to criticize Vesper. What shall we do with him while we are committing some juicy sin? He is a crafty person this conscience and very old, as old as the first family of apes which gave birth to him. We must give that problem really careful thought or we shall spoil our enjoyment. Of course, we should murder him first, but he is a tough bird. It will be difficult, but if we succeed, we could be worse even than Le Chiffre. ‘It’s all very fine,’ said Bond, ‘but I’ve been thinking about these things and I’m wondering whose side I ought to be on. I’m getting very sorry for the Devil and his disciples such as the good Le Chiffre. The Devil has a rotten time and I always like to be on the side of the underdog. There’s a Good Book about goodness and how to be good and so forth, but there’s no Evil Book about evil and how to be bad. The Devil has no prophets to write his Ten Commandments and no team of authors to write his biography. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folk-lore about evil people. All we have is the living example of the people who are least good, or our own intuition. He looked up at Mathis to see how bored he was getting with these introspective refinements of what, to Mathis, was a simple question of duty. Mathis just had time to wave cheerfully to Bond and call some hasty words of farewell before he was hustled through the door. Bond heard a torrent of heated French diminishing down the corridor. He lay back exhausted, but heartened by all he had heard. He found himself thinking of Vesper as he quickly drifted off into a troubled sleep. Mathis saw that his enthusiasm had had the desired effect. They’re certainly giving me the red carpet treatment. ‘He is a very good man and I will tell you about him one of these days.
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- The entrance to the Roi Galant was a seven-foot golden picture-frame which had once, perhaps, enclosed the vast portrait of a noble European.
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He carefully moved his hands to the edge of the table, gripped it, edged his buttocks right back, feeling the sharp gun-sight grind into his coccyx. Immediately he felt something hard press into the base of his spine, right into the cleft between his two buttocks on the padded chair. Again he gave only a cursory look at his two cards. It was at ten minutes past one by Bond’s watch when, at the high table, the whole pattern of play suddenly altered. With a hint of a shrug, Le Chiffre slowly faced his own two cards and flicked them away with his fingernail. He slowly removed one thick hand from the table and slipped it into the pocket of his dinner-jacket. The hand came out holding a small metal cylinder with a cap which Le Chiffre unscrewed. He inserted the nozzle of the cylinder, with an obscene deliberation, twice into each black nostril in turn, and luxuriously inhaled the benzedrine vapour. Le Chiffre looked incuriously at him, the whites of his eyes, which showed all round the irises, lending something impassive and doll-like to his gaze. Number 10 was a prosperous-looking young Italian, Signor Tomelli, who possibly had plenty of money from rackrents in Milan and would probably play a dashing and foolish game. ‘I have no lucky numbers,’ said Bond unsmilingly. ‘I only bet on even chances, or as near them as I can get. Well, I shall leave you then.’ He excused himself. ‘You will be in excellent hands with my friend Felix Leiter.’ He gave a short smile which embraced them both and walked with an unhurried gait towards the caisse. While telling the story of the game and anticipating the coming fight, Bond’s face had lit up again. The prospect of at least getting to grips with Le Chiffre stimulated him and quickened his pulse. He seemed to have completely forgotten the brief coolness between them, and Vesper was relieved and entered into his mood. Bond remembered Mathis’s pronouncement when the concierge hurried up to inquire whether he had recovered from his most unfortunate experience of the afternoon. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a little shaky. He hoped that if the intelligence were relayed, Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary’s strength. The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for Bond’s recovery. As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the explosion. Several trees were uprooted and hoses from three municipal tank cars were washing down the boulevard and pavements. The bomb-crater had disappeared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape. Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been carried out at the Hermitage and to the shops and frontages which had lost their windows. After a cold shower, Bond walked over to the Casino. Since the night before he had lost the mood of the tables. He needed to re-establish that focus which is half mathematical and half intuitive and which, with a slow pulse and a sanguine temperament, Bond knew to be the essential equipment of any gambler who was set on winning. With Mathis gone, her attitude towards him showed a sudden warmth. She seemed to acknowledge that they were a team and, as they discussed the time and place of their meeting, Bond realized that it would be quite easy after all to plan the details of his project with her.
- Vesper had shrugged her shoulders at the information.
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She said that, of course, they had picked out the two gunmen, but had thought nothing of it when the man with the stick had gone to stand behind Bond’s chair. They could not believe that anything would be attempted in the Casino itself. Directly Bond and Leiter had left to walk over to the hotel, she had telephoned Paris and told M’s representative of the result of the game. She had had to speak guardedly and the agent had rung off without comment. She had been told to do this whatever the result. M had asked for the information to be passed on to him personally at any time of the day or night. The other players sensed a tension between the two gamblers and there was silence as Le Chiffre fingered the four cards out of the shoe. The two pink crabs scuttled out together and the Greek gathered the cards into his wide left hand and cautiously bent his head so that he could see, in the shadow made by his cupped hand, the value of the bottom of the two cards. Then he slowly inserted the forefinger of his right hand and slipped the bottom card slightly sideways so that the value of the top card was also just perceptible. He knew most of the players by sight, but few of their names.
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- That is why Madame Muntz has the grippe and takes all her meals in bed and why Monsieur Muntz has to be constantly at her side instead of enjoying the sunshine and the gambling of this delightful resort.
- It does not seem that the suspicions of Leningrad have been aroused yet but, unfortunately for Le Chiffre, it is possible that at any rate SMERSH is on the scent.
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- What shall we do with him while we are committing some juicy sin?