There was a buzz of comment and some desultory clapping. This time Mr. Snowman’杭州桑拿按摩寻欢记 s reaction was even slower and the auctioneer twice repeated the last bid. Finally he looked directly at Mr. Snowman. “Against you, sir.” At last Mr. Snowman raised five fingers.
“One hundred and fifty-five thousand pounds.”
James Bond was beginning to sweat. He had got absolutely nowhere and the bidding must surely be coming to an end. The auctioneer repeated the bid.
And now there was the tiniest movement. At the back of the room, a chunky-looking man in a dark suit reached up and unobtrusively took off his dark glasses. It was a smooth, nondescript face-the sort of face that might belong to a bank manager, a member of Lloyd’s, or a doctor. This must have been the prearranged code with the auctioneer. So long as the man wore his dark glasses he would raise in tens of thousands. When he took them off, he had quit.
Bond shot a 杭州夜生活群 quick glance towards the bank of cameramen. Yes, the M.I.5 photographer was on his toes. He had also seen the movement. He lifted his camera deliberately and there was the quick glare of a flash. Bond got back to his seat and whispered to Snowman, “Got him. Be in touch with you tomorrow. Thanks a lot.” Mr. Snowman only nodded. His eyes remained glued on the auctioneer.
Bond slipped out of his place and walked swiftly down the aisle as the auctioneer said for the third time, “One hundred and fifty-five thousand pounds I am bid,” and then softly brought down his hammer. “Yours, sir.”
Bond got to the back of the room before the audience had risen, applauding, to its feet. His quarry was hemmed in amongst the gilt chairs. He had now put on his dark glasses again and Bond put on a pair of his own. He contrived to slip into the crowd and get behind the man as the chattering crowd streamed down the stairs. The hair grew low down on the back of the man’s rather squat neck and the lobes of his ears were pinched in close to his head. He had a slight hump, perhaps only a bone deformation, high up on his back. Bond suddenly remembered. This was Piotr Malinowski, with the official title on the Embassy staff of “Agricultural Attachй.” So!
Outside, the man began walking swiftly towards Conduit Street. James Bond got unhurriedly into a taxi with its engine running and its flag down. He said to the driver, “That’s him. Take it easy.”
“Yes, sir,” said the M.I.5 driver, pulling away from the curb.
The man picked up a taxi in Bond Street. The tail in the mixed evening traffic was easy. Bond’s satisfaction mounted as the Russian’s taxi turned up north of the Park and along Bayswater. It was just a question whether he would turn down the private entrance into Kensington Palace Gardens, where the first mansion on the left is the massive building of the Soviet Embassy. If he did, that would clinch matters. The two patrolling policemen, the usual Embassy guards, had been specially picked that night. It was their job just to confirm that the occupant of the leading taxi actually entered the Soviet Embassy.
Then, with the Secret Service evidence and the evidence of Bond and of the M.I.5 cameraman, there would be enough for the Foreign Office to declare Comrade Piotr Malinowski persona non grata on the grounds of espionage activity and send him packing. In the grim chess game that is secret service work, the Russians would have lost a queen. It would have been a very satisfactory visit to the auction rooms.
The leading taxi did turn in through the big iron gates.
Bond smiled with grim satisfaction. He leaned forward. “Thanks, driver. Headquarters please.”
CHAPTER 1 – THE SECRET AGENT
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling – a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension – becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.
James Bond suddenly knew that he was tired. He always knew when his body or his mind had had enough and he always acted on the knowledge. This helped him to avoid staleness and the 杭州桑拿按摩 sensual bluntness that breeds mistakes.
He shifted himself unobtrusively away from the roulette he had been playing and went to stand for a moment at the brass rail which surrounded breast-high the top table in the salle privée.
Le Chiffre was still playing and still, apparently, winning. There was an untidy pile of flecked hundred-mille plaques in front of him. In the shadow of his thick left arm there nestled a discreet stack of the big yellow ones worth half a million francs each.
Bond watched the curious, impressive profile for a time, and then he shrugged his shoulders to lighten his thoughts and moved away.
The barrier surrounding the caisse comes as high as your chin and the caissier, who is generally nothing more than a minor bank clerk, sits on a stool and dips into his piles of notes and plaques. These are ranged 杭州足浴油压论坛 on shelves. They are on a level, behind the protecting barrier, with your groin. The caissier has a cosh and a gun to protect him, and to heave over the barrier and steal some notes and then vault back and get out of the casino through the passages and doors would be impossible. And the caissiers generally work in pairs.
Bond reflected on the problem as he collected the sheaf of hundred thousand and then the sheaves of ten thousand franc notes. With another part of his mind, he had a vision of tomorrow’s regular morning meeting of the casino committee.
‘Monsieur Le Chiffre made two million. He played his usual game. Miss Fairchild made a million in an hour and then left. She executed three “bancos” of Monsieur Le Chiffre within an hour and then left. She played with coolness. Monsieur le Vicomte de Villorin made one million two 杭州洗浴按摩全套图 at roulette. He was playing the maximum on the first and last dozens. He was lucky. Then the Englishman, Mister Bond, increased his winnings to exactly three million over the two days. He was playing a progressive system on red at table five. Duclos, the chef de partie, has the details. It seems that he is persevering and plays in maximums. He has luck. His nerves seem good. On the soirée, the chemin-de-fer won x, the baccarat won y and the roulette won z. The boule, which was again badly frequented, still makes its expenses.’
‘Merci, Monsieur Xavier.’
‘Merci, Monsieur le President.’
Or something like that, thought Bond as he pushed his way through the swing doors of the salle privée and nodded to the bored man in evening clothes whose job it is to bar your entry and your exit with the electric foot-switch which can lock the 杭州洗浴那里好 doors at any hint of trouble.
And the casino committee would balance its books and break up to its homes or cafés for lunch.
As for robbing the caisse, in which Bond himself was not personally concerned, but only interested, he reflected that it would take ten good men, that they would certainly have to kill one or two employees, and that anyway you probably couldn’t find ten non-squeal killers in France, or in any other country for the matter of that.
As he gave a thousand francs to the vestiaire and walked down the steps of the casino, Bond made up his mind that Le Chiffre would in no circumstances try to rob the
caisse and he put the contingency out of his mind. Instead he explored his present physical sensations. He felt the dry, uncomfortable gravel under his evening shoes, the bad, harsh taste in his mouth and the slight 杭州洗浴按摩会所sweat under his arms. He could feel his eyes filling their sockets. The front of his face, his nose and antrum, were congested. He breathed the sweet night air deeply and focused his senses and his wits. He wanted to know if anyone had searched his room since he had left it before dinner.
He walked across the broad boulevard and through the gardens to the H?tel Splendide. He smiled at the concierge who gave him his key – No 45 on the first floor – and took the cable.
It was from Jamaica and read:
KINGSTONJA XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX
BOND SPLENDIDE ROYALE-LES-EAUX SEINE INFERIEURE
HAVANA CIGAR PRODUCTION ALL CUBAN FACTORIES 1915
TEN MILLION REPEAT TEN MILLION STOP HOPE THIS FIGURE
YOU REQUIRE REGARDS. DASILVA
This meant that ten million francs was on the way to him. It was the reply to a request Bond had sent that afternoon 杭州洗浴桑拿验证 through Paris to his headquarters in London asking for more funds. Paris had spoken to London where Clements, the head of Bond’s department, had spoken to M, who had smiled wryly and told ‘The Broker’ to fix it with the Treasury.
Bond had once worked in Jamaica and his cover on the Royale assignment was that of a very rich client of Messrs Caffery, the principal import and export firm of Jamaica. So he was being controlled through Jamaica, through a taciturn man who was head of the picture desk on the Daily Gleaner, the famous newspaper of the Caribbean.