There was a stage-type Marseilles taxi-driver to meet Bond - the archetype of all Mariuses, with the face of a pirate and the razor-sharp badinage of the lower French music-halls. He was apparently known and enjoyed by everyone at the airport, and Bond was whisked through the formalities in a barrage of wisecracks about 'le milord anglais9, which made Marius, for his name turned out in fact to be Marius, the centre of attraction and Bond merely his butt, the dim-witted English tourist. But, once in the taxi, Marius made curt, friendly apologies over his shoulder. 'I ask your pardon for my bad manners.' His French had suddenly purified itself of all patois. It also smelt like acetylene gas.' I was told to extract you from the airport with the least possible limelight directed upon you. I know all those "flics" and douaniers. They all know me. If I had not been myself, the cab-driver they know as Marius, if I had shown deference, eyes, inquisitive eyes, would have been upon you, mon Commandant. I did what I thought best You forgive me?'
Bond gave a deep sigh and knelt and then stood slowly up. Dazedly he looked up and down the lighted plane. By the galley, Pussy Galore lay strapped in her seat like a heap of washing. Farther down, in the middle of the aisle, the guard lay spreadeagled, one arm and the head at ridiculous angles. Without a belt to hold him when the plane dived, he must have been tossed at the roof like a rag doll.
He was barely conscious and he had to wait until his senses came halfway back to life.
He ticked and initialled the distribution slip and automatically reached for the next folder entitled Philopon. A Japanese murder-drug.
'To answer it in person, however inconvenient the journey,' pursued Mr. Murdstone, 'rather than by letter. This unhappy boy who has run away from his friends and his occupation -'