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The target was already up again, and Bond put his cheek back to its warm patch on the chunky wooden stock and his eye to the rubber eyepiece of the scope. He wiped his gun hand down the side of his trousers and took the pistol grip that jutted sharply down below the trigger guard. He splayed his legs an inch more. Now there were to be five rounds rapid. It would be interesting to see if that would produce "fade." He guessed not. This extraordinary weapon the armorer had somehow got his hands on gave one the feeling that a standing man at a mile would be easy meat. It was mostly a .308-caliber International Experimental Target rifle built by Winchester to help American marksmen at World Championships, and it had the usual gadgets of superaccurate target weapons-a curled aluminum hand at the back of the butt that extended under the armpit and held the stock firmly into the shoulder, and an adjustable pinion below the rifle's center of gravity to allow the stock to be nailed into its grooved wooden rest. The armorer had had the usual single-shot bolt action replaced by a five-shot magazine, and he had assured Bond that if he allowed as little as two seconds between shots to steady the weapon there would be no fade even at five hundred yards. For the job that Bond had to do, he guessed that two seconds might be a dangerous loss of time if he missed with his first shot. Anyway, M. had said that the range would be not more than three hundred yards. Bond would cut it down to one second-almost continuous fire.

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There was no one to be seen, no movement except the flames at which the wind tugged intermittently to keep the blaze alive. Now some of the bordering trees behind the cabins were almost catching and sparks were blowing from their drying branches away into the darkness. If it hadn't been for the storm, surely a forest fire would have been started and then the coshed girl with her broken lamp would indeed have left her mark on the United States of America! How far would it have gone with the wind to help it? Ten miles? Twenty? How many trees and birds and animals would the little dead girl from Quebec have destroyed?

James Bond wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. Of course he was pleased! But above all pleased with M.'s commendation. The rest, he knew, was not in his stars. He had never been a public figure, and he did not wish to become one. He had no prejudice against letters after one's name, or before it. But there was one thing above all he treasured. His privacy. His anonymity. To become a public person, a person, in the snobbish world of England, of any country, who would be called upon to open things, lay foundation stones, make after-dinner speeches, brought the sweat to his armpits. "James Bond!" No middle name. No hyphen. A quiet, dull, anonymous name. Certainly he was a Commander in the Special Branch of the R.N.V.R., but he rarely used the rank. His C.M.G. likewise. He wore it perhaps once a year, together with his two rows of lettuce, because there was a dinner for the Old Boys-the fraternity of ex-Secret Service men that went under the name of The Twin Snakes Club. A grisly reunion held in the banqueting hall at Blades, it gave enormous pleasure to a lot of people who had been brave and resourceful in their day but now had old men's and old women's diseases and talked about dusty triumphs and tragedies. Tales which, since they would never be recorded in the history books, must be told again that night, over the Cockburn '12, when "The Queen" had been drunk, to some next-door neighbour such as James Bond who was only interested in what was going to happen tomorrow. That was when he wore his lettuce and the C.M.G. below his black tie-to give pleasure and reassurance to the Old Children at their annual party. For the rest of the year, until May polished them up for the occasion, the medals gathered dust in some secret repository where May kept them.Personally, I have to own that I have met Americans — men, but more frequently women — who have in all respects come up to my ideas of what men and women should be: energetic, having opinions of their own, quick in speech, with some dash of sarcasm at their command, always intelligent, sweet to look at (I speak of the women), fond of pleasure, and each with a personality of his or her own which makes no effort necessary on my own part in remembering the difference between Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Green, or between Mr. Smith and Mr. Johnson. They have faults. They are self-conscious, and are too prone to prove by ill-concealed struggles that they are as good as you — whereas you perhaps have been long acknowledging to yourself that they are much better. And there is sometimes a pretence at personal dignity among those who think themselves to have risen high in the world which is deliciously ludicrous. I remember two old gentlemen — the owners of names which stand deservedly high in public estimation — whose deportment at a public funeral turned the occasion into one for irresistible comedy. They are suspicious at first, and fearful of themselves. They lack that simplicity of manners which with us has become a habit from our childhood. But they are never fools, and I think that they are seldom ill-natured. Now he was round the corner of the club, and, a hundred yards down the slope, the man in the crash helmet had torn open the door of the 'garage' for the bob-sleighs in the foundations of the cable station. He emerged carrying a one-man skeleton bob. Holding it in front of him as a shield, he fired a burst from a heavy automatic at Bond and again the humming-birds whirred past. Bond knelt and, steadying his gun with two hands, fired three rounds with his Walther, but the man was now running the few yards to the glistening ice-mouth of the Gloria Express bob-run. Bond got a glimpse of the profile under the moon. Yes, it was Blofeld all right! Even as Bond ran on down the slope, the man had flung himself down on his skeleton and had disappeared as if swallowed up by the glistening landscape. Bond got to the 'garage'. Damn, they were all six-men or two-men models! No, there was one skeleton at the back! Bond hauled it out. No time to see if the runners were straight, the steering-arm shifting easily! He ran to the start and hurled himself under the protecting chain in a mad forward dive that landed him half on and half off his skeleton. He straightened himself and shifted his body well forward on the flimsy little aluminium platform and gripped the steering-arm, keeping his elbows well in to his sides. He was already going like hell down the dark-blue gutter! He tried braking with the toes of both his boots. Damned little difference! What came first on the blasted run? There was this lateral straight across the shoulder of the mountain, then a big banked curve. He was into it now! Bond kept his right shoulder down and inched right on the steering-arm. Even so, he went perilously near the top edge of the bank before he dived down into the dark gully again. What came next on that metal map? Why in hell hadn't he studied it more carefully? He got his answer! It looked tike a straight, but the shadows camouflaged a sharp dip. Bond left the ground and flew. The crash of his landing almost knocked the wind out of his body. He frantically dug his toes into the ice, managed to get down from perhaps fifty m.p.h. to forty. Well, well! So that was 'Dead Man's Leap.' What in hell was the next bit of murder? 'Whizz-Bang Straight'! And by God it was! - 200 yards when he must have been doing around seventy. He remembered that on the finishing straight of the Cresta the stars got up to over eighty. No doubt something like that was still to come! But now, flashing towards him, in silver and black, came an S-bend - 'Battling S'. The toes of Bond's boots slid maddeningly on the black ice. Under his nose he could see the parallel tracks of Blofeld's runners and, between them, the grooves of his toe-spikes. The old fox! As soon as he heard the helicopter, he must have got himself fixed for his only escape route. But at this speed Bond must surely be catching up with him! For God's sake look out! Here comes the S! There was nothing he could do about it. He swayed his body as best he could, felt the searing crash of one elbow against one wall, was hurled across into the opposite one, and was then spewed out into the straight again. God Almighty, but it hurt! He could feel the cold wind on both elbows. The cloth had gone! Then so had the skin! Bond clenched his teeth. And he was only half-way down, if that! But then, ahead, flashing through a patch of moonlight, was the other body, Blofeld! Bond took a chance, heaved himself up on one hand and reached down for his gun. The wind tried to tear him off the bob, but he had the gun. He opened his mouth wide and gripped the gun between his teeth, flexed the ice-caked leather on his right hand. Then he got the gun in his right hand, lifted his toes off the ice, and went like hell. But now the man had disappeared into the shadows and a giant bank reared up ahead. This would be 'Hell's Delight'! Oh well, if he could make this, there would be another straight and he could begin shooting. Bond dug his toes in, got a glimpse of an ice-wall ahead and to the left, and in a flash was climbing it, straight up! God, in a split second he would be over the edge! Bond hammered in his right boot and lurched his body to the right, tearing at the steering-arm. Reluctantly the sliver of aluminium answered and Bond, inches from the top of the wall, found himself swooping down into blackness and then out again on to a moonlit straight. Only fifty yards ahead was the flying figure, with chips of ice fountaining up from the braking spikes on his boots. Bond held his breath and got off two shots. He thought they were good ones, but now the mad had gone into shadow again. But Bond was gaining, gaining. His lips drew back from his teeth in an almost animal snarl. You bastard! You're a dead duck! You can't stop or fire back. I'm coming after you like lightning 1 Soon I shall only be ten, five yards behind you. Then you'll have had it! 'There is a post come in from India, I observe,' he said, after a short silence. The hoods guffawed. Bond put his head out again. Scar-amanga's gun was on his lap. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that Mr. Hendriks, perhaps ten feet behind him, had his right hand in his coat pocket. Bond called, "I never shoot game that I don't eat. If you'll eat the whole cow, I'll shoot it for you."

'Does Bondo mean a pig or anything like that in Japanese?'

They walked down the hill in a silence which Goldfinger unexpectedly broke. 'What is the firm you work for?'

Luncheon was announced. The Jamaican headwaiter hovered between two richly prepared tables. There were place cards. Bond found that, while Scaramanga was host at one of them, he himself was at the head of the other table between Mr. Paradise and Mr. Rotkopf. As he expected, Mr. Paradise was the better value of the two, and as they went through the conventional shrimp cocktail, steak, fruit salad of the Americanized hotel abroad, Bond cheerfully got himself involved in an argument about the odds at roulette when there are one zero or two. Mr. Rotkopf s only contribution was to say, through a mouthful of steak and French fries, that he had once tried three zeros at the Black Cat Casino in Miami but that the experiment had failed. Mr. Paradise said that so it should have. "You got to let the suckers win sometimes, Ruby, or they won't come back. Sure, you can squeeze the juice out of them, but you oughta leave them the pips. Like with my slots. I tell the customers, don't be too greedy. Don't set 'em at thirty percent for the house. Set 'em at twenty. You ever heard of Mr. J. P. Morgan turning down a net profit of twenty percent? Hell, no! So why try and be smarter than guys like that?"

鈥楾he Munshi鈥檚 father, the priest, seemed to have had rather a natural fear of his son鈥檚 imbibing what he would consider wrong doctrine. He therefore, with two friends, made the Munshi read over to them what he had been busy about with the Christian Sahib. After a while the priest observed, 鈥淎t first I listened as a critic; now I listen with interest.鈥