It was a battleship-grey convertible coupé, which really did convert, and it was capable of touring at ninety with thirty miles an hour in reserve. ‘Well, it’s no good crying over spilt milk,’ he said. ‘We didn’t expect the cover to stick for long, but it’s worrying that they bowled it out so soon.’ He searched his mind in vain for a clue. Could the Russians have broken one of our ciphers? If so, he might just as well pack up and go home. He and his job would have been stripped naked. Suspiciously Bond walked over and examined the screws which secured the panel to the wall. ‘My dear monsieur–forgive me please–badly tuned,’ and he again bent to the dials. After a few adjustments the close harmony of the French came over the air and Mathis walked up and clapped Bond very hard on the back and wrang his hand until Bond’s fingers ached. He was lost in his thoughts when the telephone rang. It was theconcierge announcing that a Director of Radio Stentor was waiting below with the wireless set he had ordered from Paris. Bond would have preferred to work alone, but one didn’t argue with M. He left the room hoping that the man they sent would be loyal to him and neither stupid, nor, worse still, ambitious. Both of these organizations would doubtless be delighted to take over the scheme. We have been feeling for some time that Le Chiffre is getting into deep water. Next he examined a faint trace of talcum powder on the inner rim of the porcelain handle of the clothes cupboard. He went into the bathroom, lifted the cover of the lavatory cistern and verified the level of the water against a small scratch on the copper ball-cock. Walking quietly up on the balls of his feet, he regretted the hubrisof his reply to M via Jamaica. As a gambler he knew it was a mistake to rely on too small a capital. Anyway, M probably wouldn’t let him have any more. He shrugged his shoulders and turned off the stairs into the corridor and walked softly to the door of his room. He handed this to the concierge and put the cable signed ‘Dasilva’ in his pocket. The employers of the concierge could bribe a copy out of the local post office, if the concierge hadn’t already steamed the envelope open or read the cable upside down in Bond’s hands. Fawcett’s present assignment was to relay immediately to Bond, full rates, the text of messages which he received at home by telephone from his anonymous contact. He had been told by this contact that nothing he would be asked to send would arouse the suspicion of the Jamaican post office. For these occasional services he received twenty pounds a month paid into his account with the Royal Bank of Canada by a fictitious relative in England. This man on the Gleaner, whose name was Fawcett, had been book-keeper for one of the leading turtle-fisheries on the Cayman Islands. One of the men from the Caymans who had volunteered on the outbreak of war, he had ended up as a Paymaster’s clerk in a small Naval Intelligence organization in Malta.
‘When I was being beaten up,’ he said, ‘I suddenly liked the idea of being alive. Before Le Chiffre began, he used a phrase which stuck in my mind… Well, I suddenly thought he might be right. The doctor, a Frenchman with a young and intelligent face, had been detached from his duties with the Deuxième Bureau to look after Bond’s case. He came and stood beside Bond and put his hand on Bond’s forehead while he looked at the temperature chart behind the bed. When he awoke again some hours later all his terrors had gone and he felt warm and languorous. Sun was streaming into the bright room and garden sounds came through the window. In the background there was the noise of small waves on a beach. As he moved his head he heard a rustle, and a nurse who had been sitting beside his pillow rose and came into his line of vision. She was pretty and she smiled as she put her hand on his pulse. Steps moved round to behind Bond’s right shoulder. An arm in some grey material came into Bond’s line of vision.
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The room was sumptuous with those over-masculine trappings which, together with briar pipes and wire-haired terriers, spell luxury in France. Everything was brass-studded leather and polished mahogany. The curtains and carpets were in royal blue. The waiters wore striped waistcoats and green baize aprons. An hour later, Bond walked into the Hermitage bar and chose a table near one of the broad windows. It did not long withstand the powerful combines of Vichy and Perrier and Vittel. There came a series of lawsuits, a number of people lost a lot of money and very soon its sale was again entirely local. ‘Anyway, we told London at once and they will have changed them. A pretty flap we caused, I can tell you.’ He smiled with the satisfaction of a friendly rival. ‘And now to business, before our good “Compagnons” run out of breath. ‘Now it is time for a little more play-acting,’ said Mathis. He walked over to the radio, which was still transmitting close harmony to its audience of three, and switched it off. ‘My dear friend,’ Mathis was delighted, ‘you are blown, blown, blown. Bond noticed that he had turned the volume on to full and that the red light indicating the long waveband was illuminated, though the set was still silent. If inquiries were made, he would quote Charles DaSilva of Chaftery’s, Kingston, as his attorney. He had arrived at Royale-les-Eaux in time for luncheon two days before. There had been no attempt to contact him and there had been no flicker of curiosity when he had signed the register ‘James Bond, Port Maria, Jamaica’. It does not seem that the suspicions of Leningrad have been aroused yet but, unfortunately for Le Chiffre, it is possible that at any rate SMERSH is on the scent. Last week a high-grade source of Station P reported that a senior official of this efficient organ of Soviet vengeance had left Warsaw for Strasbourg via the Eastern sector of Berlin. Doing all this, inspecting these minute burglar-alarms, did not make him feel foolish or self-conscious.
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- Then the revolutions mounted until he was past 110 and on to the 120 mph mark on the speedometer.
- Finally, Bond felt it was time to explain the actual mechanics of the game.
- You might save my life, but I couldn’t bear the look in your dear eyes.
- Generally they had plenty of English people staying, but times were difficult over there and the English just came for a week-end at Royale and then went home after losing their money at the Casino.
On an impulse he slowed down to seventy, turned on his fog-lights, and dowsed the twin Marchals. Sure enough, without the blinding curtain of his own lights, he could see the glow of another car a mile or two down the coast. He was half-way down when he heard a faint cry, then the slam of a door way to the right. With a harsh growl and stutter from the exhaust a beetle-browed Citroën shot out of the shadows into the light of the moon, its front-wheel drive dry-skidding through the loose pebbles of the forecourt. Bond waved him aside and started down the steps, his eyes staring into the shadows, the night air cold on his sweating temples. Suddenly the note to Vesper seemed odd to him. He would have asked them both to join him at the bar of the Casino or he would have joined them in the night-club, whatever his clothes. They would have laughed together and Mathis would have been excited. He had much to tell Bond, more than Bond had to tell him. The arrest of the Bulgarian, who had probably talked some more; the chase after the man with the stick; Le Chiffre’s movements when he left the Casino.
It was a good card, the five of hearts, but to Bond it was a difficult fingerprint in dried blood. He now had a count of six and Le Chiffre a count of five, but the banker having a five and giving a five, would and must draw another card and try and improve with a one, two, three or four. Drawing any other card he would be defeated. The light from the broad satin-lined shades which had seemed so welcoming now seemed to take the colour out of his hand as he glanced at the cards. The third coup is the ‘sound barrier’ at chemin-de-fer and baccarat. Your luck can defeat the first and second tests, but when the third deal comes along it most often spells disaster. Again and again at this point you find yourself being bounced back to earth. Neither the bank nor any of the players seemed to be able to get hot. But there was a steady and inexorable seepage against the bank, amounting after about two hours’ play to ten million francs. Bond had no idea what profits Le Chiffre had made over the past two days. He estimated them at five million and guessed that now the banker’s capital could not be more than twenty million. The other players sensed a tension between the two gamblers and there was silence as Le Chiffre fingered the four cards out of the shoe. ‘Neuf à la banque,’ quietly said the croupier. Le Chiffre’s two cards followed them with a faint rattle which comes from the canister at the beginning of each session before the discards have made a cushion over the metal floor of their oubliette. He gave it a short deliberate slap to settle the cards, the first of which showed its semicircular pale pink tongue through the slanting aluminium mouth of the shoe. Then, with a thick white fore-finger he pressed gently on the pink tongue and slipped out the first card six inches or a foot towards the Greek on his right hand. Then he slipped out a card for himself, then another for the Greek, then one more for himself. Bond was relieved to be on his own again and to be able to clear his mind of everything but the task on hand. He stood at the caisse and took his twenty-four million francs against the receipt which had been given him that afternoon. He divided the notes into equal packets and put half the sum into his right-hand coat pocket and the other half into the left. Then he strolled slowly across the room between the thronged tables until he came to the top of the room where the broad baccarat table waited behind the brass rail. ‘So he has a very slight advantage over me. He has a tiny help over his decision to draw or to stand. But there is always one problem card at this game–shall one draw or stand on a five and what will your opponent do with a five? Bond walked up to his room, which again showed no sign of trespass, threw off his clothes, took a long hot bath followed by an ice-cold shower and lay down on his bed. He had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Leiter, and the girl and visualize the reactions of the enemy in various contingencies. He closed his eyes and his thoughts pursued his imagination through a series of carefully constructed scenes as if he was watching the tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. Before leaving the Casino, Bond deposited his total capital of twenty-four million at the caisse, keeping only a few notes of ten mille as pocket money. By the way, if you have an Android device, you’re even luckier. Royal Vegas has developed a solid guide on gaming offerings for Android devices. It’s a kinda one-piece redesigned code especially for your device, to make it easier for you to play and enjoy the immersive gameplay ecosystem. What I discovered was the points one can earn under the Loyalty Program for slots could be at least two. There’s a convenient live chat feature that all gamblers can access. It’s available 24/7, so time zones and late hours of wagering are not a problem. In addition to the live chat, an email contact option is also available. Microgaming is a safe gambling developer with high payout percentages and mega-popular progressives. All games are based on RNG principle, so you can be sure there’s no scam involved when it’s the only developer behind a site’s offer. Will be among the last provinces to reopen casinos. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia opened last week and Alberta 10 days ago. New Brunswick and Manitoba have been open for some time now, and Ontario plans to restart gambling in mid-July.
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At the hotel, Leiter insisted on accompanying Bond to his room. It was as Bond had left it six hours before. Bond might have had a one, in which case he now had ten points, or nothing, or baccarat, as it is called. Or he might have had a two, three, four, or even five. In which case, with the nine, his maximum count would be four. They looked roguishly back at him from the shadows. Bond grimly reflected that a short examination would reveal to Leiter why he had made such an embarrassing public display of himself. These people had shown they would unhesitatingly go the limit. The barrel a series of soft rubber baffles which absorbed the detonation, but allowed the passage of the bullet. They had been invented and used in the war for assassinations, Bond had tested them himself. Immediately he felt something hard press into the base of his spine, right into the cleft between his two buttocks on the padded chair. For most of them it was more than they had earned all their lives. It was their savings and the savings of their families. Perhaps, thought Bond, Le Chiffre needed just one more coup, even a minor one of a few million francs, to achieve his object. Then he would have made his fifty million francs and would leave the table. By tomorrow his deficits would be covered and his position secure. Leiter had vanished, not wishing to look Bond in the eye after the knock-out, he supposed. Yet Vesper looked curiously unmoved, she gave him a smile of encouragement. But then, Bond reflected, she knew nothing of the game. Had no notion, probably, of the bitterness of his defeat. ‘A card.’ He still kept all emotion out of his voice. He heard a faint rattle on the rail behind him and turned his head. The battery of bad teeth under the black moustache gaped vacantly back at him. He took some notes and plaques out of his right hand pocket and the entire stack of notes out of his left and pushed them forward. There was no hint in his movements that this would be his last stake. In fact, Le Chiffre had lost heavily all that afternoon. At this moment he only had ten million left. The game continued uneventfully, but with a slight bias against the bank. Bond slipped them into his right-hand pocket with the unused packet of notes. His face showed no emotion, but he was pleased with the success of his first coup and with the outcome of the silent clash of wills across the table. Bond slipped a packet of notes on to the table without counting them. But for the high-lights on the satin of the shawl-cut lapels, he might have been faced by the thick bust of a black-fleeced Minotaur rising out of a green grass field. Unhurriedly he pocketed the inhaler, then his hand came quickly back above the level of the table and gave the shoe its usual hard, sharp slap. Le Chiffre looked incuriously at him, the whites of his eyes, which showed all round the irises, lending something impassive and doll-like to his gaze. The Greek, after taking a third card, could achieve no better than a four to the bank’s seven.