'All right.' Colonel Smithers now talked in the soft, tired voice of an overworked man in the service of his Government. It was the voice of the specialist in a particular line of law enforcement. It said that he knew most things connected with that line and that he could make a good guess at all the rest. Bond knew the voice well, the voice of the first-class Civil Servant. Despite his prosiness, Bond was beginning to take to Colonel Smithers. 'All right. Supposing you have a bar of gold in your pocket about the size of a couple of packets of Players. Weight about five and a quarter pounds. Never mind for the moment where you got it from - stole it or inherited it or something. That'll be twenty-four carat -what we call a thousand fine. Now, the law says you have to sell that to the Bank of England at the controlled price of twelve pounds ten per ounce. That would make it worth around the thousand pounds. But you're greedy. You've got a friend going to India or perhaps you're on good terms with an airline pilot or a steward on the Far East run. All you have to do is cut your bar into thin sheets or plates-you'd soon find someone to do this for you - and sew the plates -they'd be smaller than playing cards - into a cotton belt, and pay your friend a commission to wear it. You could easily afford a hundred pounds for the job. Your friend flies off to Bombay and goes to the first bullion dealer in the bazaar. He will be given one thousand seven hundred pounds for your five-pound bar and you're a richer man than you might have been. Mark you,' Colonel Smithers waved his pipe airily,'that's only seventy per cent profit. Just after the war you could have got three hundred per cent. If you'd done only half a dozen little operations like that every year you'd be able to retire by now.'
When I didn't answer, he reached out and caught my arm. "Hey, hey! Where your manners, bimbo? You like some treatment on the other side, mebbe? That also can be arranged." He made a threatening gesture with his free hand.
Scaramanga said indifferently, "Okay, then." He walked to the back of the room and picked up his suitcase, new-looking but cheap, strode to the exit, and clashed through the bead curtains and down the steps.
"Superb," said Bond. "I could cut them with a fork. The best English cooking is the best in the world-particularly at this time of the year. By the way, what stakes will we be playing for this evening? I don't mind very much. We ought to end up the winners. But I'd like to know how much it will cost Drax."
'Drowndead,' said Mr. Peggotty.
'Certainly, my friend. Of course I will do that.' Marc-Ange brusquely wiped a hand across his eyes. 'Forgive me. But you have given me hope at the end of a long night.' He straightened his shoulders and suddenly leaned across the desk and put his hands decisively down.' I will not thank you. I cannot, but tell me, my dear friend, is there anything in this world that I can do for you, now at this moment? I have great resources, great knowledge, great power. They are all yours. Is there nothing I can do for you?'
I laughingly asked my child-wife what her fancy was in desiring to be so called. She answered without moving, otherwise than as the arm I twined about her may have brought her blue eyes nearer to me: