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With a last look around, he went over the edge. He took great care at each piton, tested each handhold and foothold before he put his weight on it. Coming down, he was a much more valuable life than he had been climbing up. He made for the glacier and trudged across the melting snow to the black patch on the icefield. There was nothing to be done about footprints. It would take only a few days for them to be melted down by the sun. He got to the body. He had seen many corpses during the war, and the blood and broken limbs meant nothing to him. He dragged the remains of Oberhauser to the nearest deep crevasse and toppled it in. Then he went carefully around the Up of the crevasse and kicked the snow overhang down on top of the body. Then, satisfied with his work, he retraced his steps, placing his feet exactly in his old footprints, and made his way on down the slope to the ammunition box.

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"My God," said Bond slowly. Then, with awe in his voice. "There's something better than that. Give me a hand," and he bent down and gritted his teeth against the pain and started pushing.

'Don't go, Steerforth, if you please. These are two Yarmouth boatmen - very kind, good people - who are relations of my nurse, and have come from Gravesend to see me.''Yes.' Qualis ab incepto processerit,” 'Pretty stiff in the back?' said he, making himself upright. The tension round the table relaxed. Or rather it changed to another target, away from the girl. Was it true what this Englishman had said? But it must be! One does not pay twenty million francs for a girl. But previously there had been no relationship between them - so far as one could see. They had been at opposite sides of the table. No signs of complicity had been exchanged. And the girl? She had shown no emotion. She had looked at the man, once, with directness. Then she had quietly moved away from the table, towards the bar. There was certainly something odd here - something one did not understand. But the game was proceeding. The Chef de Jeu had surreptitiously wiped a handkerchief across his face. The croupier had raised his head, which, previously, had seemed to be bowed under some kind of emotional guillotine. And now the old pattern had re-established itself. 'La partie continue. Un banco de quarante mule!'

The Chief of Staff, a lean relaxed man of about Bond's age, put down his pen and sat back in his chair. He watched as Bond automatically reached for the flat gun-metal cigarette case in his hip pocket and walked over to the open window and looked down on to Regent's Park.

The sun shone and there was a gaiety and sparkle in the air which seemed to promise well for the new era of fashion and prosperity for which the little seaside town, after many vicissitudes, was making its gallant bid.

'Oh! I can't think what I shall do,' I exclaimed, 'if I have to go back to Mr. Murdstone!'

'Shall I - be - given up to him?' I faltered.