'You come to the point, my dear,' said my aunt. 'They are not to be got rid of, for six months at least, unless they could be underlet, and that I don't believe. The last man died here. Five people out of six would die - of course - of that woman in nankeen with the flannel petticoat. I have a little ready money; and I agree with you, the best thing we can do, is, to live the term out here, and get a bedroom hard by.'
I have certainly always had also before my eyes the charms of reputation. Over and above the money view of the question, I wished from the beginning to be something more than a clerk in the Post Office. To be known as somebody — to be Anthony Trollope if it be no more — is to me much. The feeling is a very general one, and I think beneficent. It is that which has been called the “last infirmity of noble mind.” The infirmity is so human that the man who lacks it is either above or below humanity. I own to the infirmity. But I confess that my first object in taking to literature as a profession was that which is common to the barrister when he goes to the Bar, and to the baker when he sets up his oven. I wished to make an income on which I and those belonging to me might live in comfort.
Bond looked at him with polite curiosity.
`You think so?' she turned her large blue eyes on his. `But what he said about his stomach and the head of your State. That was being rude to your Queen. It would be considered very bad manners to say such a thing in Russia.'
“What—was that—you were saying—to me—when we were dressing for dinner, Frances—about—about Edmund, you know?”
For, in only the last couple of hours, Major Dexter Smythe's already dismal life had changed very much for the worse. So much for the worse that he would be lucky if, in a few weeks' time-time for an exchange of cables via Government House and the Colonial Office to the Secret Service and thence to Scotland Yard and the Public Prosecutor, and for Major Smythe's transportation to London with a police escort-he got away with a sentence of imprisonment for life.
Goldfinger paused. He lifted a hand resignedly. 'Of course there were small hitches. We were told to "follow taxiway Alpha to runway four", and it was only by following a KLM plane that we were successful. The Idlewild routine was not easy to master and we must have seemed somewhat clumsy and inexperienced, but, Mr Bond, with assurance, strong nerves and a gruff, intimidating manner it is never difficult to override the Civil Service mentality of what, after all, are minor employees. I understand from the wireless operator that a search for this plane is under way. They were already questioning us before we were out of VHP range at Nan-tucket. Then the Distant Early Warning system queried us on high frequency. That did not disturb me. We have enough fuel. We have already had clearance from Moscow for East Berlin, Kiev or Murmansk. We shall take whichever route the weather dictates. There should be no trouble. If there is, I shall talk my way out of it on the radio. No one is going to shoot down a valuable BOAC plane. The mystery and confusion will protect us until we are well within Soviet territory and then, of course, we shall have disappeared without trace.'