‘And you are?’
‘Yes. From now on, I’m the worst.’
‘Well, I’ve got pretty bad news for you. They’re gaining on us and I’ve only got a couple of gallons left in the tank. We’ll have to stop in Filisur. There won’t be a garage open and it’ll mean waking someone up. Can’t hope to do it under ten minutes and they’ll have us. You’ll have to think up something clever.’
There was a ravine and an S turn over a bridge. They were coming out of the first curve over the bridge. Lights blazed at them from across the ravine. There was half a mile between the two cars, but the range across the ravine was perhaps only three hundred yards. Bond wasn’t surprised to see the familiar blue flames flutter from the front of the car. Chips of granite from the overhang splattered down on the bonnet of the car. Then they were into the second half of the S bend and out of sight of their pursuers.
Now came a stretch of reconstruction work where there had been a landslide. There were big warning notices: ‘Achtung! Baustelle! Vorsichtig Fahren!’ The broken road hugged the mountain-side on the right. On the left was rickety fencing and then a precipice falling
hundreds of feet down into a gorge with an ice-floed river. In the middle of the bad stretch, a huge red wooden arrow pointed right to a narrow track across a temporary bridge. Bond suddenly shouted ‘Stop!’
Tracy pulled up, her front wheels on the bridge. Bond tore open the door. ‘Get on! Wait for me round the next corner. It’s the only chance.’
Good girl! She got going without a word. Bond ran back the few yards to the big red arrow. It was held in the forks of two upright poles. Bond wrenched it off, swung it round so that it pointed to the left, towards the flimsy fence that closed off the yards of old road leading to the collapsed bridge. Bond tore at the fence, pulling the stakes out, flattening it. Glare showed round the corner behind him. He leaped across the temporary road into the shadow of the mountain, flattened himself against it, waited, holding his breath.
The Mercedes was coming faster than it should over the bumpy track, its chains clattering inside the mudguards. It made straight for the black opening to which the arrow now pointed. Bond caught a glimpse of white, strained faces and then the desperate scream of brakes as the driver saw the abyss in front of him. The car seemed almost to stop, but its front wheels must have been over the edge. It balanced for a moment on its iron belly and then slowly, slowly toppled and there was a first appalling crash as it hit the rubble beneath the old bridge. Then another crash and another. Bond ran forward past the lying arrow and looked down. Now the car was flying upside-down through the air. It hit again and a fountain of sparks flashed from a rock ledge. Then, somersaulting, and with its lights somehow still blazing, it smashed on down into the gorge. It hit a last outcrop that knocked it sideways and, spinning laterally, but now with its lights out and only the glint of the moon on metal, it took the last great plunge into the iced-up river. A deep rumble echoed up from the gorge and there was the patter of rocks and stones following the wreckage. And then all was peaceful, moonlit silence.
Bond let out his breath in a quiet hiss between his clenched teeth. Then, mechanically, he straightened things out again, put up the remains of the fence, lifted the arrow, and put it back facing to the right. Then he wiped his sweating hands down the side of his trousers and walked .unsteadily down the road and round the next corner.
The little white car was there, pulled in to the side, with its lights out. Bond got in and slumped into his seat. Tracy said nothing but got the car going. The lights of Filisur appeared, warm and yellow in the valley below. She reached out a hand and held his tightly. ‘You’ve had enough for one day. Go to sleep. I’ll get you to Zьrich. Please do what I say.’
Bond said nothing. He pressed her 长沙桑拿哪里最好 hand weakly, leaned his head against the door jamb and was instantly asleep.
He was out for the count.
19 Love for Breakfast
IN THE grey dawn, Zurich airport was depressing and almost deserted, but, blessedly, there was a Swissair Caravelle, delayed by fog at London Airport, waiting to take off for London. Bond parked Tracy in the restaurant and, regretfully forsaking the smell of coffee and fried eggs, went and bought himself a ticket, had his passport stamped by a sleepy official (he had half expected to be stopped, but wasn’t), and went to a telephone booth and shut himself in. He looked up Universal Export in the telephone book, and read underneath, as he had hoped, ‘Hauptvertreter Alexander Muir. Privat Wohnung’ and the number. Bond glanced through the glass window at the clock in the departure hall. Six o’clock. Well, 长沙桑拿水疗会所 Muir would just have to take it.
He rang the number and, after minutes, a sleepy voice said, ‘Ja! Hier Muir.’
Bond said, ‘Sorry, 410, but this is 007. I’m calling from the airport. This is bloody urgent so I’ll have to take a chance on your line being bugged. Got a paper and pencil?’
The voice at the other end had grown brisker. ‘Hang on, 007. Yes, got it. Go ahead.’
‘First of all I’ve got some bad news. Your Number Two has had it. Almost for sure. Can’t give you any details over this line, but I’m off to London in about an hour – Swissair Flight 110 – and I’ll signal the dope back straight away. Could you put that on the teleprinter? Right. Now I’m guessing that in the next day or so a party often girls, British, will be coming in here by helicopter from the Engadine. Yellow Sud Aviation Alouette. I’ll be teleprinting their 长沙桑拿酒店会所 names back from London some time today. My bet is they’ll be flying to England, probably on different flights and perhaps to Prestwick and Gatwick as well as London Airport, if you’ve any planes using those airports. Anyway, I guess they’ll be dispersed. Now, I think it may be very important to tell London their flight numbers and ETA. Rather a big job, but I’ll get you authority in a few hours to use men from Berne and Geneva to lend a hand. Got it? Right. Now I’m pretty certain you’re blown. Remember the old Operation Bedlam that’s just been cancelled? Well, it’s him and he’s got radio and he’ll probably have guessed I’d be contacting you this morning. Just take a look out of the window and see if there’s any sign of watchers. He’s certainly got his men in Zurich.’
‘Christ, what a shambles!’ The voice at the other end was tight with tension. ‘Hang on.’ There was a pause. Bond could visualize Muir, whom he didn’t know except as a number, going over to the window, carefully drawing aside the curtain. Muir came back on the wire.’ Looks damn like it. There’s a black Porsche across the road. Two men in it. I’ll get my friends in the Se”curite to chase them away.’
Bond said, ‘Be careful how you go about it. My guess is that our man has got a pretty good fix in with the police. Anyway, put all this on the telex to M personally, would you? Ciphered of course. And tell him if I get back in one piece I must see him today, with 501 [the Chief Scientific Officer to the Service] and if possible with someone in the same line of business from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Sounds daft, but there it is. It’s going to upset their paper hats and Christmas pudding, but I can’t help that. Can you manage all that? Good lad. Any questions?’
‘Sure I oughtn’t to come out to the airport and get some more about my Number Two? He was tailing one of Red-land’s men. Chap’s been buying some pretty odd stuff from the local rep. of Badische Anilin. Number Two thought it seemed damned fishy. Didn’t tell me what the stuff was. Just thought he’d better see where it was being delivered to.’
‘I thought it must be some kind of a spiel like that. No. You stay away from me. I’m hot as a pistol, going to be hotter later in the day when they find a certain Mercedes at the bottom of a precipice. I’ll get off the line now. Sorry to have wrecked your Christmas. ‘Bye.’
Bond put down the receiver and went up to the restaurant. Tracy had been watching the door. Her face lit up when she saw him. He sat down very close to her and took her hand, a typical airport farewell couple. He ordered plenty of scrambled eggs and coffee. ‘It’s all right, Tracy. I’ve fixed everything at my end. But now about you. That car of yours is going to be bad news. There’ll be people who’ll have seen you drive away with the Mercedes on your tail. There always are, even at midnight on Christmas Eve. And the big man on top of the mountain has got his men down here too. You’d better finish your breakfast and get the hell on over the frontier. Which is the nearest?’
‘Schaffhausen or Konstanz, I suppose, but’ – she pleaded -‘James, do I have to leave you now? It’s been so long waiting for you. And I have done well, haven’t I? Why do you want to punish me?’ Tears, that would never have been there in the Royale days, sparkled in her eyes. She wiped them angrily away with the back of her hand.
Bond suddenly thought, Hell! I’ll never find another girl like this one. She’s got everything I’ve ever looked for in a woman. She’s beautiful, in bed and out. She’s adventurous, brave, resourceful. She’s exciting always. She seems to love me. She’d let me go on with my life. She’s a lone girl, not cluttered up with friends, relations, belongings. Above all, she needs me. It’ll be someone for me to look after. I’m fed up with all these untidy, casual affairs that leave me with a bad conscience. I wouldn’t mind having children. I’ve got no social background into which she would or wouldn’t fit. We’re two of a pair, really. Why not make it for always?
Bond found his voice saying those words that he had never said in his life before, never expected to say.
‘Tracy. I love you. Will you marry me?’
She turned very pale. She looked at him wonderingly. Her lips trembled. ‘You mean that?’
‘Yes, I mean it. With all my heart.’
She took her hand away from his and put her face in her hands. When she removed them she was smiling. ‘ I’m sorry, James. It’s so much what I’ve been dreaming of. It came as a shock. But yes. Yes, of course I’ll marry you. And I won’t be silly about it. I won’t make a scene. Just kiss me once and I’ll be going.’ She looked seriously at him, at every detail of his face. Then she leaned forward and they kissed.