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'Old?' exclaimed Mr. Jack Maldon. 'Annie? Come!'

'Not immediately so, sir.' Bond had read a quarter of the book when he felt his ears begin to block as the plane started its fifty-mile descent towards the western coastline of Ireland. "Fasten your seat-belts. No smoking" and there was the green-and-white searchlight of Shannon and the red and gold of the flare-path rushing towards them, and then the brilliant blue of the ground-lights between which the Stratocruiser trundled towards the unloading bay. Steak and champagne for dinner, and the wonderful goblet of hot coffee laced with Irish whisky and topped with half an inch of thick cream. A glance at the junk in the airport shops, the 'Irish Horn Rosaries', the 'Bog Oak Irish Harp', and the 'Brass Leprechauns', all at .50, and the ghastly 'Irish Musical Cottage at , the furry, unwearable tweeds and the dainty Irish linen doilies and cocktail napkins. And then the Irish rigmarole coming over the loudspeaker in which only the words 'BOAC' and 'New York' were comprehensible, the translation into English, the last look at Europe, and they were climbing to 15,000 feet and heading for their next contact with the surface of the world, the radio beacons on the weather ships Jig and Charlie, marking time around their compass points somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Melba herself has a simpler explanation: seven months of one show is enough, and she had too many other things to do — promoting her new album, preparing for another Broadway musical, doing her first lead role in a movie, going on a concert tour, making guest appearances on television, and taking care of her 16-month-old daughter Charli. "Sure," said Leiter. "No coincidence about it. We're both travelling bad roads and all bad roads lead to the bad town. I've got some cleaning up to do here in Saratoga first. And a pile of reports to write. That's half my life with Pinkertons, writing reports. But I'll be over in Vegas before the end of the week, sniffing around. Shan't be able to see much of you right under the Spang nose, but maybe we could meet up from time to time and exchange notes. Tell you what," he added. "We've got a good man there. Undercover. Cab-driver by the name of Cureo, Ernie Cureo. Good guy, and I'll pass the word you're coming and he'll look after you. He knows all the dirt, where the big fixes are, who's in town from the outside mobs. He even knows where you can find the one-armed bandits that pay the best percentages. And the slots that pay best is the most valuable secret on the whole goddam Strip. And Boy, you've seen nothing until you've seen that Strip. Five solid miles of gambling joints. Neon lighting that makes Broadway look like a kid's Christmas tree. Monte Carlo!" Letter snorted. "Steam-age stuff."

I was weaker than I knew then; and, not falling asleep until the sun was up, lay late, and unrefreshed, next day. I was roused by the silent presence of my aunt at my bedside. I felt it in my sleep, as I suppose we all do feel such things.

'All right, sir.' The Chief of Staff pressed a switch leant towards the intercom on his desk.

Miss Shepherd is a boarder at the Misses Nettingalls' establishment. I adore Miss Shepherd. She is a little girl, in a spencer, with a round face and curly flaxen hair. The Misses Nettingalls' young ladies come to the Cathedral too. I cannot look upon my book, for I must look upon Miss Shepherd. When the choristers chaunt, I hear Miss Shepherd. In the service I mentally insert Miss Shepherd's name - I put her in among the Royal Family. At home, in my own room, I am sometimes moved to cry out, 'Oh, Miss Shepherd!' in a transport of love.