"Well, I'm damned. I wish to heaven I'd known that. I thought of you being picked to pieces."
In April, 1862, just after the receipt by Lincoln of the disappointing news of the first repulse at Vicksburg, he finds time to write a little autograph note to a boy, "Master Crocker," with thanks for a present of a white rabbit that the youngster had sent to the President with the suggestion that perhaps the President had a boy who would be pleased with it.
Bond threw the letter down. Mechanically he brushed his fingers together. Suddenly he banged his temples with his fists and stood up. For a moment he looked out towards the quiet sea, then he cursed aloud, one harsh obscenity.
To this day he didn't know how he had made it to the jeep. Again and again the knots gave under the strain and the bars crashed down on the calves of his legs, and each time he had sat with his head in his hands and then started all over again. But finally, by concentrating on counting his steps and stopping for a rest at every hundredth, he got to the blessed little jeep and collapsed beside it. And then there had been the business of burying his hoard in the wood, amongst a jumble of big rocks that he would be sure to find again, of cleaning himself up as best he could, and of getting back to his billet by a circuitous route that avoided the Oberhauser chalet. And then it was all done, and he had got drunk by himself off a bottle of cheap schnapps and eaten and gone to bed and fallen into a stupefied sleep. The next day, MOB "A" Force had moved off up the Mittersill valley on a fresh trail, and six months later Major Smythe was back in London and his war was over.
Now that the economic problem had been solved, public attention was more and more directed to the cultural life of the race. Education was no longer dominated by the need to equip the young for the individualistic economic ‘battle of life’, nor yet by the demand for efficient and docile robots. Vocational training was still an important element in education, but it no longer devoured the whole time and attention of the young people. All children were brought up mainly in their native village. There were no boarding schools, great swarms of young things living in monastic isolation from the life of the world. Normally every child lived at home, and grew up in the normal environment of farm life, acquiring the various skills which were demanded by the varied life of adults. The village schools, though some were severely criticized for inefficiency or laxity, were in the main inspired by the new tradition of the race. In every country the teachers were jealously selected, and carefully trained in the great residential universities. In some countries a group of a score or a hundred neighbouring villages might combine to set up a common school for the brighter children of the whole district. Elsewhere this principle was rejected as tending to create a class division between the bright and the dull. Instead, both types were kept in the village school, but those who showed superior capacity were allowed to absent themselves from classes so long as they kept pace with the class work. The time thus gained they spent on developing their special powers or interests. A searching system of vocational selection skimmed off from the village schools those children of leaving age who had superior aptitude for particular occupations, and those who, through high general intelligence were fitted to become teachers or research workers in some branch of science or in technical philosophy, and also those whose special talents for organizing and social intercourse were needed for industrial management, large-scale economic planning, and political leadership.
While telling the story of the game and anticipating the coming fight, Bond's face had lit up again. The prospect of at least getting to grips with Le Chiffre stimulated him and quickened his pulse. He seemed to have completely forgotten the brief coolness between them, and Vesper was relieved and entered into his mood.