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Chapter 1 Body Language

James Bond said dully, "That's very kind of you." He put down the telephone. He waited exactly ten minutes and picked up the receiver and asked for the number.Bond lit a cigarette. 'That would certainly be helpful.' He put a politely interested expression on his face. 'Where are we, for instance?' When he was settled, the Negro dug both hands into one of the buckets of fresh mud and proceeded to slap it all over Bond's body. There he sat, taking his wine, and taking a good deal of it, for two hours; while Agnes played on the piano, worked, and talked to him and me. He was, for the most part, gay and cheerful with us; but sometimes his eyes rested on her, and he fell into a brooding state, and was silent. She always observed this quickly, I thought, and always roused him with a question or caress. Then he came out of his meditation, and drank more wine.

"Yes, I see. It all seems idiotic to my generation. Like playing that old game 'Attaque,' really. We need some more Jack Kennedys. It's all these old people about. They ought to hand the world over to younger people who haven't got the idea of war stuck in their subconscious. As if it were the only solution. Like beating children. It's much the same thing. It's all out of date-Stone Age stuff."

Thus in India, when freedom had at last been gained, and under the stress of external danger Hindus and Mohammedans had sunk their differences, it seemed for a while that out of these dark Aryan peoples the truth was coming which could save mankind. For the ancient Indian wisdom, which permeated all the faiths, now came more clearly into view, stripped of the irrelevances of particular creeds. The new India, it seemed, while armed with European science and European resolution, would teach mankind a quietude and detachment which Europe lacked. But somehow the movement went awry, corrupted by the surviving power of the Indian princes and capitalists. The wealthy controlled the new state for their own ends. Public servants were venal and inefficient. And the ancient wisdom, though much advertised, became merely an excuse for tolerating gross social evils. When at last the armies of the Russian Empire poured through the Himalayan passes, the rulers of India could not cope with the attack, and the peoples of India were on the whole indifferent to a mere change of masters. Not until much later were the Indians to make their great contribution to human history.

BOND HAD no idea how he managed to stay upright, but at last it was over and everyone cheered and broke up into pairs and groups.