鈥業t was beautiful to see them together,鈥 Miss Dixie has said, when speaking of this visit, which lasted somewhat under a week. The Bishop and Miss Tucker went about in company, attended church together, and had many a long talk,鈥攂oth of them white-haired, fragile in look, worn out with heavy toil, aged beyond their years. Both would be so utterly absorbed in the subject under discussion, as to see nothing around, to hear nothing that went on. There was about each of them a remarkable Other-worldliness, to use a curious term, sometimes employed in this sense. They were citizens of Heaven, not of Earth; and they realised the fact to an extent not often equalled.
James Bond followed me over to my cabin and came inside. He shut the door. "Damned if I know what they're up to, but the first thing to do is see that you're properly closed down for the night. Now then, let's see." He prowled round the room, examining the window fastenings, inspecting the hinges on the door, estimating the size of the ventilator louvers. He seemed satisfied. He said. "There's only the door. You say they've got the master key. We'll wedge the door, and when I've gone, just move the desk over as an extra barricade." He went into the bathroom, tore off strips of lavatory paper, moistened them, and made them into firm wedges. He rammed several under the door, turned the handle, and pulled. They held, but could have been shaken loose by ramming. He took the wedges out again and gave them to me. Then he put his hand to the belt of his trousers and took out a short, stumpy revolver. "Ever fired one of these things?"
I believe I had a delirious idea of seizing the red-hot poker out of the fire, and running him through with it. It went from me with a shock, like a ball fired from a rifle: but the image of Agnes, outraged by so much as a thought of this red-headed animal's, remained in my mind when I looked at him, sitting all awry as if his mean soul griped his body, and made me giddy. He seemed to swell and grow before my eyes; the room seemed full of the echoes of his voice; and the strange feeling (to which, perhaps, no one is quite a stranger) that all this had occurred before, at some indefinite time, and that I knew what he was going to say next, took possession of me.
It was two weeks later that I got the letter. I had written twice, but there had been no answer. In desperation I had even telephoned, but the man at the other end had gone away and come back and said that Mr. Mallaby wasn't at home.
Another five miles and Bond was through the dainty tele-world of Herne Bay. The howl of Mansion sounded away on his right. A flight of three Super Sabres came in to land. They skimmed below his right-Hand horizon as if they were diving into the earth. With half his mind, Bond heard the roar of their jets catch up with them as they landed and taxied in to the hangars. He came up with a crossroads. To the left the signpost said RECULVER. Underneath was the ancient monument sign for Reculver church. Bond slowed, but didn't stop. No hanging about. He motored slowly on, keeping his eyes open. The shoreline was too exposed for a trawler to do anything but beach or anchor. Probably Gold-finger had used Ramsgate. Quiet little port. Customs and police who were probably only on the look-out for brandy coming over from France. There was a thick clump of trees between the road and the shore, a glimpse of roofs and of a medium-sized factory chimney with a thin plume of light smoke or steam. That would be it. Soon there was the gate of a long drive. A discreetly authoritative sign said THANET ALLOYS, and underneath: NO ADMITTANCE EXCEPT ON BUSINESS. All very respectable. Bond drove slowly on. There was nothing more to be seen. He took the next right-hand turn across the Manston plateau to Ramsgate.
The population problem remained unsolved. One other method of coping with it had been tried, at first with some success.