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17 SOMETHING EVIL COMES THIS WAY

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Bond stepped through and listened, his torch doused. But he was still deep in the bowels of the castle and there was no sound. He switched on again. More stone stairs leading up to a modern door of polished timber. He went up them and carefully turned the metal door handle. No lock this time! He softly pushed the door open and found himself in a long stone corridor that sloped on upwards. At the end was yet another modern door, and beneath it showed a thin strip of light!

Q: Do you do a lot of drawing?James Bond's appointment was not with a girl. It was with a B.E.A. flight to Hanover and Berlin. As he bit off the miles to London Airport, pushing the big car hard so as to have plenty of time for a drink, three drinks, before the takeoff, only part of his mind was on the road. The rest was re-examining, for the umpteenth time, the sequence that was now leading him to an appointment with an airplane. But only an interim appointment. His final rendezvous on one of the next three nights in Berlin was with a man. He had to see this man and he had to be sure to shoot him dead. As to Mrs. Gummidge, he roused that victim of despondency with a success never attained by anyone else (so Mr. Peggotty informed me), since the decease of the old one. He left her so little leisure for being miserable, that she said next day she thought she must have been bewitched. Bond saw Le Chiffre's hand open obediently and the knife fall with a clatter to the floor.

Little by little, however, it became clear even to members of the Aristocratic Party that the world was once more falling sick, and that the source of trouble was the caste system. Sharp conflicts arose between the castes, and particularly between the more privileged and the less privileged. Official secretiveness and official meddlesomeness began to return. Fundamental human liberties were imperceptibly but ceaselessly curtailed, save for the élite. The sacred scriptures of the race began to echo reproachfully in men’s ears. In spite of the improved intelligence and goodwill of the race, the bulk of the privileged class found reason for clinging to their privileges. It seemed that the world must sooner or later be torn once more by a bitter class conflict and a civil war. But once more the improvement in mentality, slight though it was, made the difference between disaster and precarious triumph. Many even of the supporters of the incipient caste system could not shut their eyes to the fact that their party was drawn almost entirely from the élite alone, that the rest of the race was violently opposed to their policy, and that oppression, though tempered with decency, was once more appearing.

I leaned my head upon my hand; and felt more sorry and downcast, as I sat looking at the fire, than I could have supposed possible so soon after the fulfilment of my brightest hopes. As I sat thinking, I happened to meet my aunt's eyes, which were resting on my face. There was an anxious expression in them, but it cleared directly.

I was obliged to make a show of taking the hand he stretched across to me; and then, with very different emotions, I took the hand of the broken gentleman, his partner.

Such a movement, the psychologist prophesied, would sweep the world. It would appeal both to the universal impulse to ‘pass by on the other side’ when help was demanded and to the no less ‘widespread need for destruction and cruelty’. He suggested that, in consonance with the two national temperaments, acquiescence should be stressed in Russia, cruelty in China. This difference, he added, could be used as a basis on which to build Russo-Chinese national hatred when the time came (as it surely would) for the world-wide ruling class to tighten its grip on the people by means of a world war. It was never clear whether the young man believed in the faith that he was preaching or whether he advocated it merely as a piece of necessary statecraft. It was as statecraft that the conference accepted the policy.