Should he oblige the Bond man and be tidy? Join Mary in whatever place suicides go to? Or go through with it-the indignity, the dreary formalities, the headlines, the boredom and drabness of a life sentence that would inevitably end with his third coronary? Or should he defend himself-plead wartime, a struggle with Oberhauser, prisoner trying to escape, Oberhauser knowing of the gold cache, the natural temptation of Smythe to make away with the bullion, he, a poor officer of the commandos confronted with sudden wealth?
Zq頫?儀蛙7aV豏?$Y做㏎艮覣w廱wˊ靖 <5邴2sG碨肓雎釽O5?掷鎞t+r醤<曟濰8噑m誂诿@辒甶舺jv>oY豉RD?烳镸? 瀫(譼=|Sm?Jc?邕J\eO甒籵梵F9=橚)?焰C猹笜誹_鍪R 氲錶}㈣逗>疐厴甶$鵛
'Well,' said Mr. Dick, in answer, 'my compliments to her, and I - I believe I have made a start. I think I have made a start,' said Mr. Dick, passing his hand among his grey hair, and casting anything but a confident look at his manuscript. 'You have been to school?'
Bond closed his eyes tight, fighting with a wave of mental nausea. More death! More blood on his hands. This time, as the result of a careless gesture, a piece of bravado that had led to twenty-four hours of ecstasy with a beautiful girl who had taken his fancy and, in the end, rather more than his fancy. And this petty sideswipe at Goldfinger's ego had been returned by Goldfinger a thousand, a millionfold. 'She left my employ' - the flat words in the sunshine at Sandwich two days before. How Goldfinger must have enjoyed saying that! Bond's fingernails dug into the palms of his hands. By God, he'd pin this murder on Goldfinger if it was the last act of his life. As for himself…? Bond knew the answer. This death he would not be able to excuse as being part of his job. This death he would have to live with.
All this I did on horseback, riding on an average forty miles a day. I was paid sixpence a mile for the distance travelled, and it was necessary that I should at any rate travel enough to pay for my equipage. This I did, and got my hunting out of it also. I have often surprised some small country postmaster, who had never seen or heard of me before, by coming down upon him at nine in the morning, with a red coat and boots and breeches, and interrogating him as to the disposal of every letter which came into his office. And in the same guise I would ride up to farmhouses, or parsonages, or other lone residences about the country, and ask the people how they got their letters, at what hour, and especially whether they were delivered free or at a certain charge. For a habit had crept into use, which came to be, in my eyes, at that time, the one sin for which there was no pardon, in accordance with which these rural letter-carriers used to charge a penny a letter, alleging that the house was out of their beat, and that they must be paid for their extra work. I think that I did stamp out that evil. In all these visits I was, in truth, a beneficent angel to the public, bringing everywhere with me an earlier, cheaper, and much more regular delivery of letters. But not unfrequently the angelic nature of my mission was imperfectly understood. I was perhaps a little in a hurry to get on, and did not allow as much time as was necessary to explain to the wondering mistress of the house, or to an open-mouthed farmer, why it was that a man arrayed for hunting asked so many questions which might be considered impertinent, as applying to his or her private affairs. “Good-morning, sir. I have just called to ask a few questions. I am a surveyor of the Post Office. How do you get your letters? As I am a little in a hurry, perhaps you can explain at once.” Then I would take out my pencil and notebook, and wait for information. And in fact there was no other way in which the truth could be ascertained. Unless I came down suddenly as a summer’s storm upon them, the very people who were robbed by our messengers would not confess the robbery, fearing the ill-will of the men. It was necessary to startle them into the revelations which I required them to make for their own good. And I did startle them. I became thoroughly used to it, and soon lost my native bashfulness — but sometimes my visits astonished the retiring inhabitants of country houses. I did, however, do my work, and can look back upon what I did with thorough satisfaction. I was altogether in earnest; and I believe that many a farmer now has his letters brought daily to his house free of charge, who but for me would still have had to send to the post-town for them twice a week, or to have paid a man for bringing them irregularly to his door.
Bond shrugged his shoulders. He glanced at his watch. 6.25. He looked round the room. Everything was ready. On an impulse, he put his right hand under his coat and drew the .25 Beretta automatic with the skeleton grip out of the chamois leather holster that hung just below his left armpit. It was the new gun M had given him 'as a memento' after his last assignment, with a note in M's green ink that had said, You may need this.