Bond had a feeling that this might be the CIA man. He knew he was right as they strolled off together towards the bar, after Bond had thrown a plaque of ten mille to the croupier and had given a mine to the huissier who drew back his chair.
‘My name’s Felix Leiter,’ said the American. ‘Glad to meet you.’
‘Mine’s Bond – James Bond.’
‘Oh yes,’ said his companion, ‘and now let’s see. What shall we have to celebrate?’
Bond insisted on ordering Leiter’s Haig-and-Haig ‘on the rocks’ and then he looked carefully at the barman.
‘A dry martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’
‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’
‘Certainly, monsieur.’ The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
‘Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,’ said Leiter.
Bond laughed. ‘When I’m . . . er . . . concentrating,’ he explained, ‘I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very 黄岐南海桑拿 strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.’
He watched carefully as the deep glass became frosted with the pale golden drink, slightly aerated by the bruising of the shaker. He reached for it and took a long sip.
‘Excellent,’ he said to the barman, ‘but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.’
‘Mais n’enculons pas des mouches,’ he added in an aside to the barman. The barman grinned.
‘That’s a vulgar way of saying “we won’t split hairs”,’ explained Bond.
But Leiter was still interested in Bond’s drink. ‘You certainly think things out,’ he said with amusement as they carried their glasses to a corner of the room. He lowered his 佛山桑拿中心 voice.
‘You’d better call it the ‘Molotov Cocktail’ after the one you tasted this afternoon.’
They sat down. Bond laughed.
‘I see that the spot marked “X” has been roped off and they’re making cars take a detour over the pavement. I hope it hasn’t frightened away any of the big money.’
‘People are accepting the Communist story or else they think it was a burst gas-main. All the burnt trees are coming down tonight and if they work things here like they do at Monte Carlo, there won’t be a trace of the mess left in the morning.’
Leiter shook a Chesterfield out of his pack. ‘I’m glad to be working with you on this job,’ he said, looking into his drink, ‘so I’m particularly glad you didn’t get blown to glory. Our people are definitely interested. They think it’s just as important as your friends do and they don’t think there’s anything 佛山桑拿按摩休闲中心 crazy about it at all. In fact, Washington’s pretty sick we’re not running the show, but you know what the big brass is like. I expect your fellows are much the same in London.’
Bond nodded. ‘Apt to be a bit jealous of their scoops,’ he admitted.
‘Anyway, I’m under your orders and I’m to give you any help you ask for. With Mathis and his boys here, there may not be much that isn’t taken care
of already. But, anyway, here I am.’
‘I’m delighted you are,’ said Bond. ‘The opposition has got me, and probably you and Mathis too, all weighed up and it seems no holds are going to be barred. I’m glad Le Chiffre seems as desperate as we thought he was. I’m afraid I haven’t got anything very specific for you to do, but I’d be grateful if you’d stick around the Casino this evening. I’ve got an assistant, a Miss Lynd, and I’d like to 广州佛山桑拿按摩全套 hand her over to you when I start playing. You won’t be ashamed of her. She’s a good looking girl.’ He smiled at Leiter. ‘And you might mark his two gunmen. I can’t imagine he’ll try a rough house, but you never know.’
‘I may be able to help,’ said Leiter. ‘I was a regular in our Marine Corps before I joined this racket, if that means anything to you.’ He looked at Bond with a hint of self-deprecation.
‘It does,’ said Bond.
It turned out that Leiter was from Texas. While he talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff of NATO and the difficulty of maintaining security in an organization where so many nationalities were represented, Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.
Felix Leiter was about thirty-five. He was tall with a thin bony frame and his 佛山桑拿女qq电话 lightweight, tan-coloured suit hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of Frank Sinatra. His movements and speech were slow, but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed and strength in him and that he would be a tough and cruel fighter. As he sat hunched over the table, he seemed to have some of the jack-knife quality of a falcon. There was this impression also in his face, in the sharpness of his chin and cheekbones and the wide wry mouth. His grey eyes had a feline slant which was increased by his habit of screwing them up against the smoke of the Chesterfields which he tapped out of the pack in a chain. The permanent wrinkles which this habit had etched at the corners gave the impression that he smiled more with his eyes than with his mouth. A mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look which closer 佛山桑拿按摩技师网 examination contradicted. Although he seemed to talk quite openly about his duties in Paris, Bond soon noticed that he never spoke of his American colleagues in Europe or in Washington and he guessed that Leiter held the interests of his own organization far above the mutual concerns of the North Atlantic Allies. Bond sympathized with him.
By the time Leiter had swallowed another whisky and Bond had told him about the Muntzes and his short reconnaissance trip down the coast that morning, it was seven-thirty, and they decided to stroll over to their hotel together. Before leaving the Casino, Bond deposited his total capital of twenty-four million at the caisse, keeping only a few notes of ten mille as pocket money.
As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the 佛山桑拿网 explosion. Several trees were uprooted and hoses from three municipal tank cars were washing down the boulevard and pavements. The bomb-crater had disappeared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape. Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been carried out at the Hermitage and to the shops and frontages which had lost their windows.
In the warm blue dusk Royale-les-Eaux was once again orderly and peaceful.
‘Who’s the concierge working for?’ asked Leiter as they approached the hotel. Bond was not sure, and said so.
Mathis had been unable to enlighten him. ‘Unless you have bought him yourself,’ he had said, ‘you must assume that he has been bought by the other side. All concierges are venal. It is not their fault. They are trained to regard all hotel guests except maharajahs as potential cheats and thieves. They have 佛山桑拿微信号 as much concern for your comfort or well-being as crocodiles.’
Bond remembered Mathis’s pronouncement when the concierge hurried up to inquire whether he had recovered from his most unfortunate experience of the afternoon. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a little shaky. He hoped that if the intelligence were relayed, Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary’s strength. The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for Bond’s recovery.
Leiter’s room was on one of the upper floors and they parted company at the lift after arranging to see each other at the Casino at around half past ten or eleven, the usual hour for the high tables to begin play.
CHAPTER 8 – PINK LIGHTS AND CHAMPAGNE
Bond walked up to his room, which again showed no sign of trespass, threw off his clothes, took a long hot bath followed by an ice-cold shower and lay down on his bed. There remained an hour in which to rest and compose his thoughts before he met the girl in the Splendide bar, an hour to examine minutely the details of his plans for the game, and for after the game, in all the various circumstances of victory or defeat. He had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Leiter, and the girl and visualize the reactions of the enemy in various contingencies. He closed his eyes and his thoughts pursued his imagination through a series of carefully constructed scenes as if he was watching the tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope.
At twenty minutes to nine he had exhausted all the permutations which might result from his duel with Le Chiffre. He rose and dressed, dismissing the future completely from his mind.
As he tied his thin, double-ended, black satin tie, he paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in the mirror. His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form a thick comma above his right eyebrow. With the thin vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was faintly piratical. Not much of Hoagy Carmichael there, thought Bond, as he filled a flat, light gunmetal box with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold band. Mathis had told him of the girl’s comment.
He slipped the case into his hip pocket and snapped his oxidized Ronson to see if it needed fuel. After pocketing the thin sheaf of ten-mille notes, he opened a drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about three inches below his arm-pit. He then took from under his shirts in another drawer a very flat .25 Beretta automatic with a skeleton grip, extracted the clip and the single round in the barrel and whipped the action to and fro several times, finally pulling the trigger on the empty chamber. He charged the weapon again, loaded it, put up the safety catch and dropped it into the shallow pouch of the shoulder-holster. He looked carefully round the room to see if anything had been forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket coat over his heavy silk evening shirt. He felt cool and comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm, gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the door and locked it.
When he turned at the foot of the short stairs towards the bar he heard the lift-door open behind him and a cool voice call ‘Good evening’.
It was the girl. She stood and waited for him to come up to her.
He had remembered her beauty exactly. He was not surprised to be thrilled by it again.
Her dress was of black velvet, simple and yet with the touch of splendour that only half a dozen couturiers in the world can achieve. There was a thin necklace of diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts. She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat object which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist. Her jet black hair hung straight and simple to the final inward curl below the chin.
She looked quite superb and Bond’s heart lifted.
‘You look absolutely lovely. Business must be good in the radio world!’
She put her arm through his. ‘Do you mind if we go straight into dinner?’ she asked. ‘I want to make a grand entrance and the truth is there’s a horrible secret about black velvet. It marks when you sit down. And, by the way, if you hear me scream tonight, I shall have sat on a cane chair.’
Bond laughed. ‘Of course, let’s go straight in. We’ll have a glass of vodka while we order our dinner.’
She gave him an amused glance and he corrected himself: ‘Or a cocktail, of course, if you prefer it. The food here’s the best in Royale.’
For an instant he felt nettled at the irony, the light shadow of a snub, with which she had met his decisiveness, and at the way he had risen to her quick glance.
But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as the bowing ma?tre d’h?tel led them through the crowded room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the heads of the diners turn to look at her.
The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the great room. These had survived from the Edwardian days and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late Empire.
As they deciphered the maze of purple ink which covered the double folio menu, Bond beckoned to the sommelier. He turned to his companion.
‘Have you decided?’
‘I would love a glass of vodka,’ she said simply, and went back to her study of the menu.
‘A small carafe of vodka, very cold,’ ordered Bond. He said to her abruptly: ‘I can’t drink the health of your new frock without knowing your Christian name.’
‘Vesper,’ she said. ‘Vesper Lynd.’
Bond gave her a look of inquiry.
‘It’s rather a bore always having to explain, but I was born in the evening, on a very stormy evening according to my parents. Apparently they wanted to remember it.’ She smiled. ‘Some people like it, others don’t. I’m just used to it.’
‘I think it’s a fine name,’ said Bond. An idea struck him. ‘Can I borrow it?’ He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. ‘The Vesper,’ he said. ‘It sounds perfect and it’s very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?’
‘So long as I can try one first,’ she promised. ‘It sounds a drink to be proud of.’
‘We’ll have one together when all this is finished,’ said Bond. ‘Win or lose. And now have you decided what you would like to have for dinner? Please be expensive,’ he added as he sensed her hesitation, ‘or you’ll let down that beautiful frock.’
‘I’d made two choices,’ she laughed, ‘and either would have been delicious, but behaving like a millionaire occasionally is a wonderful treat and if you’re sure . . . well, I’d like to start with caviar and then have a plain grilled rognon de veau with pommes soufflés. And then I’d like to have fraises des bois with a lot of cream. Is it very shameless to be so certain and so expensive?’ She smiled at him inquiringly.
‘It’s a virtue, and anyway it’s only a good plain wholesome meal.’ He turned to the ma?tre d’h?tel, ‘and bring plenty of toast.’
‘The trouble always is,’ he explained to Vesper, ‘not how to get enough caviar, but how to get enough toast with it.’
‘Now,’ he turned back to the menu, ‘I myself will accompany Mademoiselle with the caviar, but then I would like a very small tournedos, underdone, with sauce Béarnaise and a coeur d’artichaut. While Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have half an avocado pear with a little French dressing. Do you approve?’
The ma?tre d’h?tel bowed.
‘My compliments, mademoiselle and monsieur. Monsieur George,’ he turned to the sommelier and repeated the two dinners for his benefit.
‘Parfait,’ said the sommelier, proffering the leather-bound wine list.
‘If you agree,’ said Bond, ‘I would prefer to drink champagne with you tonight. It is a cheerful wine and it suits the occasion – I hope’ he added.
‘Yes I would like champagne,’ she said.
With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the sommelier: ‘The Taittinger 45?’
‘A fine wine, monsieur,’ said the sommelier. But if Monsieur will permit,’ he pointed with his pencil, ‘the Blanc de Blanc Brut 1943 of The same marque is without equal.’
Bond smiled. ‘So be it,’ he said.
‘That is not a well-known brand,’ Bond explained to his companion, ‘but it is probably the finest champagne in the world.’ He grinned suddenly at the touch of pretension in his remark.
‘You must forgive me,’ he said. ‘I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old-maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.’
Vesper smiled at him.
‘I like it,’ she said. ‘I like doing everything fully, getting the most out of everything one does. I think that’s the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when one says it,’ she added apologetically.
The little carafe of vodka had arrived in its bowl of crushed ice and Bond filled their glasses.
‘Well, I agree with you anyway,’ he said, ‘and now, here’s luck for tonight, Vesper.’