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VIII THE FINAL CAMPAIGN

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To be admitted into any degree of mental intercourse with a being of these qualities, could not but have a most beneficial influence on my development; though the effect was only gradual, and many years elapsed before her mental progress and mine went forward in the complete companionship they at last attained. The benefit I received was far greater than any which I could hope to give; though to her, who had at first reached her opinions by the moral intuition of a character of strong feeling, there was doubtless help as well as encouragement to be derived from one who had arrived at many of the same results by study and reasoning: and in the rapidity of her intellectual growth, her mental activity, which converted everything into knowledge, doubtless drew from me, as it did from other sources, many of its materials. What I owe, even intellectually, to her, is in its detail, almost infinite; of its general character a few words will give some, though a very imperfect, idea. With those who, like all the best and wisest of mankind, are dissatisfied with human life as it is, and whose feelings are wholly identified with its radical amendment, there are two main regions of thought. One is the region of ultimate aims; the constituent elements of the highest realizable ideal of human life. The other is that of the immediately useful and practically attainable. In both these departments, I have acquired more from her teaching, than from all other sources taken together. And, to say truth, it is in these two extremes principally, that real certainty lies. My own strength lay wholly in the uncertain and slippery intermediate region, that of theory, or moral and political science: respecting the conclusions of which, in any of the forms in which I have received or originated them, whether as political economy, analytic psychology, logic, philosophy of history, or anything else, it is not the least of my intellectual obligations to her that I have derived from her a wise scepticism, which, while it has not hindered me from following out the honest exercise of my thinking faculties to whatever conclusions might result from it, has put me on my guard against holding or announcing these conclusions with a degree of confidence which the nature of such speculations does not warrant, and has kept my mind not only open to admit, but prompt to welcome and eager to seek, even on the questions on which I have most meditated, any prospect of clearer perceptions and better evidence. I have often received praise, which in my own right I only partially deserve, for the greater practicality which is supposed to be found in my writings, compared with those of most thinkers who have been equally addicted to large generalizations. The writings in which this quality has been observed, were not the work of one mind, but of the fusion of two, one of them as pre-eminently practical in its judgments and perceptions of things present, as it was high and bold in its anticipations for a remote futurity.

Goldfinger seemed not to hear the comment. He put down his drumstick and took a deep draught of water. He sat back and spoke while Bond went on eating the excellent food. 'Karate, Mr Bond, is based on the theory that the human body possesses five striking surfaces and thirty-seven vulnerable spots - vulnerable, that is, to an expert in Karate whose finger-tips, the side of the hands and the feet are hardened into layers of corn, which is far stronger and more flexible than bone. Every day of his life, Mr Bond, Oddjob spends one hour hitting either sacks of unpolished rice or a strong post whose top is wound many times round with thick rope. He then spends another hour at physical training which is more that of a ballet school than of a gymnasium.'[151] "Couldn't say, cap'n. Hit's well away from de tourist places and dey askin' a big rent for it." The moon shone whitely down the moist river of cobbles. Bond kept his mouth shut and breathed through his nose. He put his feet down one after the other, flat-footedly, and with his knees bent, as if he was walking down a snow-slope. He thought of his bed in the hotel and of the comfortable cushions of the car under the sweetly smelling lime trees, and he wondered how many more kinds of dreadful stench he was going to run into during his present assignment. The vigour necessary to prosecute two professions at the same time is not given to every one, and it was only lately that I had found the vigour necessary for one. There must be early hours, and I had not as yet learned to love early hours. I was still, indeed, a young man; but hardly young enough to trust myself to find the power to alter the habits of my life. And I had heard of the difficulties of publishing — a subject of which I shall have to say much should I ever bring this memoir to a close. I had dealt already with publishers on my mother’s behalf, and knew that many a tyro who could fill a manuscript lacked the power to put his matter before the public — and I knew, too, that when the matter was printed, how little had then been done towards the winning of the battle! I had already learned that many a book — many a good book —

The players on Bond's left remained silent.

I turn my head, and see it, in its beautiful serenity, beside me.

"side the pit-boss, and he was looking at Bond with bright, hard eyes like camera lenses, and the fat cigar exactly in the centre of his red lips was pointing straight at Bond like a gun. The big square body in the midnight-blue tuxedo was quite motionless and a sort of tense quietness exuded from it. It was a tiger watching the tethered donkey and yet sensing danger. The face was ivory pale, but there was a likeness to the brother in London in the very straight, angry black brows and the short cliff of wiry hair cut en brosse, and in the ruthless jut of the jaw.

Lady Arandale, of course, assented, and orders were given accordingly. A young man, of a neat diminutive figure, now entered. His eyes sparkled with hope at the sight of so large[63] a company; while, at the same time, a kind of bashfulness flushed his cheek and flurried his manner. The girls saw this, and felt for him.