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'He's in the workshop, sir. May have seen your car drive up.' Bond thought: Alfred's never told a lie in his life. He's not going to start now.

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At last the sun rose, and then my companions seemed to sleep easier. The difficulties under which they had laboured all night, and which had found utterance in the most terrific gasps and snorts, are not to be conceived. As the sun got higher, their sleep became lighter, and so they gradually one by one awoke. I recollect being very much surprised by the feint everybody made, then, of not having been to sleep at all, and by the uncommon indignation with which everyone repelled the charge. I labour under the same kind of astonishment to this day, having invariably observed that of all human weaknesses, the one to which our common nature is the least disposed to confess (I cannot imagine why) is the weakness of having gone to sleep in a coach.

'Thank you, Master Copperfield! I have risen from my umble station since first you used to address me, it is true; but I am umble still. I hope I never shall be otherwise than umble. You will not think the worse of my umbleness, if I make a little confidence to you, Master Copperfield? Will you?''Thank you, my dear Copperfield,' said Traddles, as we shook hands once more. 'Yes, I am as happy as it's possible to be. There's your old friend, you see,' said Traddles, nodding triumphantly at the flower-pot and stand; 'and there's the table with the marble top! All the other furniture is plain and serviceable, you perceive. And as to plate, Lord bless you, we haven't so much as a tea-spoon.' The hunchback, who had been carefully watching Bond's movements, lowered his eyes to the untidy pile of diamonds in front of him. He poked them into a circle. Then he looked up at Bond. 鈥楧olls are much liked by our dark-eyed little maidens. Not only little girls; but I suspect that many a mother would be pleased to[418] possess one of the quiet, rosy-cheeked babies from England, that never cry nor give any trouble. Your useful work-basket must, I think, be presented to some Native Christian girl who is fond of work.... Native Christians also would, I think, most value the scrap-books so kindly prepared. At Christmas we have a bran-pie, only for Christians, and we have to get ready about eighty gifts, even in this out-of-the-way Batala. I begin my preparations very early. I assure you that our children are not 鈥渂lack.鈥 Some of the Natives are quite pretty, and I think not darker than Spaniards. I every now and then see a child with brown hair, perhaps curly.鈥橖/strong> She answered perfunctorily. 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.

CHAPTER XIII.

James Bond unpacked his few belongings and called room service. A Jamaican voice answered. Bond ordered a bottle of Walker's deluxe bourbon, three glasses, ice, and, for nine o'clock, eggs Benedict. The voice said, "Sure, sir." Bond then took off his clothes, put his gun and holster under a pillow, rang for the valet, and had his suit taken away to be pressed. By the time he had taken a hot shower followed by an ice-cold one and pulled on a fresh pair of sea island cotton underpants, the bourbon had arrived.

Bond had already decided to accept - blind. Whatever Mr Du Font's problem - blackmail, gangsters, women - it would be some typical form of rich man's worry. Here was a slice of the easy life he had been asking for. Take it. Bond started to say something politely deprecating. Mr Du Pont interrupted. 'Please, please, Mr Bond. And believe me, I'm grateful, very grateful indeed.' He snapped his fingers for the waitress. When she came, he turned away from Bond and settled the bill out of Bond's sight. Like many very rich men he considered that showing his money, letting someone see how much he tipped, amounted to indecent exposure. He thrust his roll back into his trousers pocket (the hip pocket is not the place among the rich) and took Bond by the arm. He sensed Bond's resistance to the contact and removed his hand. They went down the stairs to the main hall.

As we filed out through the back door, the lights went out. James Bond and I stopped, but the thin man went on along the covered way as if he could see in the dark. Sluggsy appeared round the corner of the building carrying two oil-lamps. He handed one to each of us. His naked face, yellow in the light, split into a grin. "Happy dreams, folks!"