And then, in the sniperscope, Bond saw the head of Trigger-the purity of the profile, the golden bell of hair-all laid out along the stock of the Kalashnikov! She was dead, a sitting duck! Bond's fingers flashed down to the screws, inched them round, and as yellow flame fluttered at the snout of the submachinegun, squeezed the trigger.
'You are a pig,' she said indignantly. 'We've got so much to talk about and all you think about is drink.'
Now, keeping right-handed, but still following the boundary wall, he crept off again on his survey. Once, something slithered away from his approaching feet and disappeared with a heavy rustle into the fallen leaves under a tree. What snakes were there that really went for a man? The king-cobra, black mamba, the saw-scaled viper, the rattlesnake and the fer de lance. What others? The remainder were inclined to make off if disturbed. Were snakes day or night hunters? Bond didn't know. Among so many hazards, there weren't even the odds of Russian Roulette. When all the chambers of the pistol were loaded, there was not even a one in six chance to bank on.
Whatever the defects of the Chinese tradition, in one respect it had been indirectly of immense value. Among both rich and poor the cult of the family had persisted throughout Chinese history, and had survived even the modern revolutionary period. In many ways this cult, this obsession, had been a reactionary influence, but in two respects it had been beneficial. It had prevented decline of population; and, more important, it had prevented a decline of intelligence. In China as elsewhere the more intelligent had tended to rise into the more comfortable circumstances. But whereas in Europe and America the more prosperous classes had failed to breed adequately, in China the inveterate cult of family ensured that they should do so. In post-revolutionary China the old love of family was a useful stock on which to graft a new biologically-justified respect not merely for family as such but for those stocks which showed superior intelligence or superior social feeling. Unfortunately, though public opinion did for a while move in this direction, the old financial ruling families, seeing their dominance threatened by upstart strains, used all their power of propaganda and oppression to stamp out this new and heretical version of the old tradition. Thus, though on the whole the Chinese Empire was richer in intelligence than the Russian, it seriously squandered its resources in this most precious social asset. And later, as I shall tell, the reactionary policy of the ruling caste threatened this great people with complete bankruptcy of mental capacity.
'Good show,' said Bond, trying to clear his mind of the suspicion that Tiger would keep to the Stone, or alternatively, that Tiger would expect him to play it that way, expect Bond to play the Paper and himself riposte with the Scissors to cut the paper. And so on and so forth. The three emblems whirled round in Bond's mind like the symbols on a fruit machine.