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Bond walked back through the meadow to the lone maple. The girl was there. She stood up against the trunk of the tree with her back to him. Her head was cradled in her arms against the tree. Blood was running down the right arm and dripping to the ground, and there was a black stain high up on the sleeve of the dark green shirt. The bow and quiver of arrows lay at her feet. Her shoulders were shaking.

Bond came up behind her and put a protective arm across her shoulders. He said softly: “Take it easy, Judy. It's all over now. How bad's the arm?”

She said in a muffled voice: “It's nothing. Something hit me. But that was awful. I didn't - I didn't know it would be like that.”

Bond pressed her arm reassuringly. “It had to be done. They'd have got you otherwise. Those were pro killers - the worst. But I told you this sort of thing was man's work. Now then, let's have a look at your arm. We've got to get going - over the border. The troopers'll be here before long.”

She turned. The beautiful wild face was streaked with sweat and tears. Now the grey eyes were soft and obedient. She said: “It's nice of you to be like that. After the way I was. I was sort of - sort of wound up.”

She held out her arm. Bond reached for the hunting-knife at her belt and cut off her shirtsleeve at the shoulder. There was the bruised, bleeding gash of a bullet wound across the muscle. Bond took out his own khaki handkerchief, cut it into three lengths and joined them together. He washed the wound dean with the coffee and whisky, and then took a thick slice of bread from his haversack and bound it over the wound. He cut her shirtsleeve into a sling and reached behind her neck to tie the knot. Her mouth was inches from his. The scent of her body had a warm animal tang. Bond kissed her once softly on the lips and once again, hard. He tied the knot. He looked into the grey eyes close to his. They looked surprised and happy. He kissed her again at each corner of the mouth and the mouth slowly smiled. Bond stood away from her and smiled back. He softly picked up her right hand and slipped the wrist into the sling. She said docilely: “Where are you taking me?”

Bond said: “I'm taking you to London. There's this old man who will want to see you. But first we've got to get over into Canada, and I'll talk to a friend in Ottawa and get your passport straightened out. You'll have to get some clothes and things. It'll take a few days. We'll be staying in a place called the KO-ZEE Motel.”

She looked at him. She was a different girl. She said softly: “That'll be nice. I've never stayed in a motel.”

Bond bent down and picked up his rifle and knapsack and slung them over one shoulder. Then he hung her bow and quiver over the other, and turned and started up through the meadow.

She fell in behind and followed him, and as she walked she pulled the tired bits of golden-rod out of her hair and undid a ribbon and let the pale gold hair fall down to her shoulders.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE

James Bond said: “I've always thought that if I ever married I would marry an air hostess.”

The dinner party had been rather sticky, and now that the other two guests had left accompanied by the ADC to catch their plane, the Governor and Bond were sitting together on a chintzy sofa in the large Office of Works furnished drawing-room, trying to make conversation. Bond had a sharp sense of the ridiculous. He was never comfortable sitting deep in soft cushions. He preferred to sit up in a solidly upholstered armed chair with his feet firmly on the ground. And he felt foolish sitting with an elderly bachelor on his bed of rose chintz gazing at the coffee and liqueurs on the low table between their outstretched feet. There was something clubable, intimate, even rather feminine, about the scene and none of these atmospheres was appropriate.

Bond didn't like Nassau. Everyone was too rich. The winter visitors and the residents who had houses on the island talked of nothing but their money, their diseases and their servant problems. They didn't even gossip well. There was nothing to gossip about. The winter crowd were all too old to have love affairs and, like most rich people, too cautious to say anything malicious about their neighbours. The Harvey Millers the couple that had just left, were typical - a pleasant rather dull Canadian millionaire who had got into Natural Gas early on and stayed with it, and his pretty chatterbox of a wife. It seemed that she was English. She had sat next to Bond and chattered vivaciously about 'what shows he had recently seen in town' and 'didn't he think the Savoy Grill was the nicest place for supper. One saw so many interesting people - actresses and people like that'. Bond had done his best, but since he had not seen a play for two years, and then only because the man he was following in Vienna had gone to it, he had had to rely on rather dusty memories of London night life which somehow failed to marry up with the experiences of Mrs Harvey Miller.

Bond knew that the Governor had asked him to dinner only as a duty, and perhaps to help out with the Harvey Millers. Bond had been in the Colony for a week and was leaving for Miami the next day. It had been a routine investigation job. Arms were getting to the Castro rebels in Cuba from all the neighbouring territories. They had been coming principally from Miami and the Gulf of Mexico, but when the US Coastguards had seized two big shipments, the Castro supporters had turned to Jamaica and the Bahamas as possible bases, and Bond had been sent out from London to put a stop to it. He hadn't wanted to do the job. If anything, his sympathies were with the rebels, but the Government had a big export programme with Cuba in exchange for taking more Cuban sugar than they wanted, and a minor condition of the deal was that Britain should not give aid or comfort to the Cuban rebels. Bond had found out about the two big cabin cruisers that were being fitted out for the job, and rather than make arrests when they were about to sail, thus causing an incident, he had chosen a very dark night and crept up on the boats in a police launch. From the deck of the unlighted launch he had tossed a thermite bomb through an open port of each of them. He had then made off at high speed and watched the bonfire from a distance. Bad luck on the insurance companies, of course, but there were no casualties and he had achieved quickly and neatly what M had told him to do.

So far as Bond was aware, no one in the Colony, except the Chief of Police and two of his officers, knew who had caused the two spectacular, and - to those in the know - timely fires in the roadstead. Bond had reported only to M in London. He had not wished to embarrass the Governor, who seemed to him an easily embarrassable man, and it could in fact have been unwise to give him knowledge of a felony which might easily be the subject of a question in the Legislative Council. But the Governor was no fool. He had known the purpose of Bond's visit to the Colony, and that evening, when Bond had shaken him by the hand, the dislike of a peaceable man for violent action had been communicated to Bond by something constrained and defensive in the Governor's manner.

This had been no help to the dinner party, and it had needed all the chatter and gush of a hard-working ADC to give the evening the small semblance of life it had achieved.

And now it was only nine-thirty, and the Governor and Bond were faced with one more polite hour before they could go gratefully to their beds, each relieved that he would never have to see the other again. Not that Bond had anything against the Governor. He belonged to a routine type that Bond had often encountered round the world - solid, loyal, competent, sober and just: the best type of Colonial Civil Servant. Solidly, competently, loyally he would have filled the minor posts for thirty years while the Empire crumbled around him; and now, just in time, by sticking to the ladders and avoiding the snakes, he had got to the top. In a year or two it would be the GCB and out - out to Godalming, or Cheltenham or Tunbridge Wells with a pension and a small packet of memories of places like the Trucial Oman, the Leeward Islands, British Guiana, that no one at the local golf club would have heard of or would care about. And yet, Bond had reflected that evening, how many small dramas such as the affair of the Castro rebels must the Governor have witnessed or been privy to! How much he would know about the chequerboard of the small-power politics, the scandalous side of life in small communities abroad, the secrets of people that lie in the files of Government Houses round the world. But how could one strike a spark off this rigid, discreet mind? How could he, James Bond, whom the Governor obviously regarded as a dangerous man and as a possible source of danger to his own career, extract one ounce of interesting fact or comment to save the evening from being a futile waste of time?

Bond's careless and slightly mendacious remark about marrying an air hostess had come at the end of some desultory conversation about air travel that had followed dully, inevitably, on the departure of the Harvey Millers to catch their plane for Montreal. The Governor had said that BOAC were getting the lion's share of the American traffic to Nassau because, though their planes might be half an hour slower from Idlewild, the service was superb. Bond had said, boring himself with his own banality, that he would rather fly slowly and comfortably than fast and uncosseted. It was then that he had made the remark about air hostesses.

“Indeed,” said the Governor in the polite, controlled voice that Bond prayed might relax and become human. “Why?”

“Oh, I don't know. It would be fine to have a pretty girl always tucking you up and bringing you drinks and hot meals and asking if you had everything you wanted. And they're always smiling and wanting to please. If I don't marry an air hostess, there'll be nothing for it but marry a Japanese. They seem to have the right ideas too.” Bond had no intention of marrying anyone. If he did, it would certainly not be an insipid slave. He only hoped to amuse or outrage the Governor into a discussion of some human topic.

“I don't know about the Japanese, but I suppose it has occurred to you that these air hostesses are only trained to please, that they might be quite different when they're not on the job, so to speak.” The Governor's voice was reasonable, judicious.

“Since I'm not really very interested in getting married, I've never taken the trouble to investigate.”

There was a pause. The Governor's cigar had gone out. He spent a moment or two getting it going again. When he spoke it seemed to Bond that the even tone had gained a spark of life, of interest. The Governor said: “There was a man I knew once who must have had the same ideas as you. He fell in love with an air hostess and married her. Rather an interesting story, as a matter of fact. I suppose,” the Governor looked sideways at Bond and gave a short self-deprecatory laugh, “you see quite a lot of the seamy side of life. This story may seem to you on the dull side. But would you care to hear it?”

“Very much.” Bond put enthusiasm into his voice. He doubted if the Governor's idea of what was seamy was the same as his own, but at least it would save him from making any more asinine conversation. Now to get away from this damnably cloying sofa. He said: “Could I have some more brandy?” He got up, dashed an inch of brandy into his glass and, instead of going back to the sofa, pulled up a chair and sat down at an angle from the Governor on the other side of the drink tray.

The Governor examined the end of his cigar, took a quick pull and held the cigar upright so that the long ash would not fall off. He watched the ash warily throughout his story and spoke as if to the thin trickle of blue smoke that rose and quickly disappeared in the hot, moist air.

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