Thursday, June 1

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‘Oh, it’s only the treatment. I suppose it’s midnight?’
‘Don’t pay any attention. It’s only for me. Just go to sleep.’
佛山桑拿浴特殊服务 Bond kissed her between the shoulder-blades but said nothing.
Now the bell had stopped. In its place there started up a droning whine, rather like the noise of a very fast electric fan, with, behind it, the steady, unvarying tick-pause-tock, tick-pause-tock of some land of metronome. The combination of the two sounds was wonderfully soothing. It compelled attention, but only just on the fringe of consciousness -like the night-noises of childhood, the slow tick of the nursery clock combined with the sound of the sea or the wind outside. And now a voice, the Count’s voice came over the distant wire or tape that Bond assumed was the mechani cal source of all this. The voice was pitched in a low, singsong murmur, caressing yet authoritative, and every word was distinct. ‘You are going to sleep.’ The voice fell on the word ‘sleep’. ‘You are tired and your limbs feel like lead.’ Again the falling cadence on the last word. ‘Your arms feel as heavy as lead. Your breathing is quite even. Your breathing is as regular as a child’s. Your eyes are closed and the eyelids are heavy as lead. You are becoming tireder and tireder. Your whole body is becoming tired and heavy as lead. You are warm and comfortable. You are slipping, slipping, slipping down into sleep. Your bed is as soft and downy as a nest. You are as soft and sleepy as a chicken in a nest. A dear little chicken, flurry and cuddly.’ There came the sound of a sweet cooing and clucking, the gentle brushing together of wings, the dozy murmuring of mother hens with their chicks. It went on for perhaps a full minute. Then the voice came back. ‘The little darlings are going to sleep. They are like you, comfortable and sleepy in their nests. You love them dearly, dearly, dearly. You love all chickens. You would like to make pets of them all. You would like them to grow up beautiful and strong. You would like no harm to come to them. Soon you will be going back to your darling chickens. Soon you will be able to look after them again. Soon you will be able to help all the chickens of England. You will be able to improve the breed of chickens all over England. This will make you very, very happy. You will be doing so much good that it will make you very, very happy. But you will keep quiet about it. You will say nothing of your methods. They will be your own secret, your very own secret. People will try and find out your secret. But you will say nothing because they might try and take your secret away from you. And then you would not be able to make your darling chickens happy and healthy and strong. Thousands, millions of chickens made happier because of you. So you will say nothing and keep your secret. You will say nothing, nothing at all. You will remember what I say. You will remember what I say.’ The murmuring voice was getting farther and farther away. The sweet cooing and clucking of chickens softly obscured the vanishing voice, then that too died away and there was only the electric whine and the tick-pause-tock of the metronome.
Ruby was deeply asleep. Bond reached out for her wrist and felt the pulse. It was plumb on beat with the metronome. And now that, and the whine of the machine, receded softly until all was dead silence again save for the soft moan of the night wind outside.
Bond let out a deep sigh. So now he had heard it all! He suddenly wanted to get back to his room and think. He slipped out from under the sheet, got to his clothes, and put them on. He manipulated the lock without trouble. There was no movement, no sound, in the passage. He slipped back into Number Two and eased the door shut. Then he went into his bathroom, closed the door, switched on the light, and sat down on the lavatory and put his head in his hands.
Deep hypnosis! That was what he had heard. The Hidden Persuader! The repetitive, singsong message injected into the brain while it was on the twilight edge of consciousness. Now, in Ruby’s subconscious, the message would work on all by itself through the night, leaving her, after weeks of repetition, with an in-built mechanism of obedience to the voice that would be as deep, as compelling, as hunger.
But what in hell was the message all about? Surely it was a most harmless, even a praiseworthy message to instil in the simple mind of this country girl. She had been cured of her allergy and she would return home fully capable of helping with the family poultry business – more than that, enthusiastic, dedicated. Had the leopard changed his spots? Had the old lag become, in the corny, hackneyed tradition, a do-gooder? Bond simply couldn’t believe it. What about all those high-powered security arrangements? What about the multi-racial staff that positively stank of SPECTRE? And what about the bob-run murder? Accident? So soon after the man’s attempted rape of this Sarah girl? An impossible coincidence! Malignity must somewhere lie behind the benign, clinical front of this maddeningly innocent research outfit! But where? How in hell could he find out?
Bond, exhausted, got up and turned off the light in the bathroom and quietly got himself into bed. The mind whirred on for a sterile half-hour in the over-heated brain and then, mercifully, he went to sleep.
* * *
When, at nine o’clock, he awoke and threw open his windows, the sky was overcast with the heavy blank grey that meant snow. Over by the Berghaus, the Schneefinken, and Schneevogel, the snow-finches and Alpine choughs, that lived on the crumbs and left-overs of the picnickers, were fluttering and swooping close round the building – a sure storm-warning. The wind had got up and was blowing in sharp, threatening gusts, and no whine of machinery came from the cable railway. The light aluminium gondolas would have too bad a time in winds of this strength, particularly over the last great swoop of cable that brought them a good quarter of a mile over the exposed shoulder beneath the plateau.
Bond shut the windows and rang for his breakfast. When it came there was a note from Fraulein Bunt on the tray. ‘The Count will be pleased to receive you at eleven o’clock. I.E.’
Bond ate his breakfast and got down to his third page of de Bleuvilles. He had quite a chunk of work to show up, but this was easy stuff. The prospect of successfully bamboozling his way along the Blofeld part of the trail was not so encouraging. He would start boldly at the Gdynia end and work back – get the old rascal to talk about his youth and his parents. Old rascal? Well, dammit, whatever he had become since Operation ‘Thunderball’, there weren’t two Ernst Stavro Blofelds in the world!
They met in the Count’s study. ‘Good morning, Sir Hilary. I hope you slept well? We are going to have snow.’ The Count waved towards the window. ‘ It will be a good day for work. No distractions.’
Bond smiled a man-to-man smile. ‘I certainly find those girls pretty distracting. But most charming. What’s the matter with them, by the way? They all look healthy enough.’
The Count was off-hand. ‘They suffer from allergies, Sir Hilary. Crippling allergies. In the agricultural field. They are country girls and their disabilities affect the possibility of their employment. I have devised a cure for such symptoms. I am glad to say that the signs are propitious. We are making much progress together.’ The telephone by his side buzzed. ‘Excuse me.’ The Count picked up the receiver and listened. ‘Ja. Machen Sie die Verbindung.’ He paused. Bond politely studied the papers he had brought along. ‘Zdies de Bleuville… Da… Da… Kharascho!’ He put the receiver back. ‘Forgive me. That was one of my research workers. He has been purchasing some materials for the laboratories. The cable railway is closed, but they are making a special trip up for him. Brave man. He will probably be very sick, poor fellow.’ The green contact lenses hid any sympathy he may have felt. The fixed smile showed none. ‘And now, my dear Sir Hilary, let us get on with our work.’
Bond laid out his big sheets on the desk and proudly ran his finger down through the generations. There was excitement and satisfaction in the Count’s comments and questions. ‘But this is tremendous, really tremendous, my dear fellow. And you say there is mention of a broken spear or a broken sword in the arms? Now when was that granted?’
Bond rattled off a lot of stuff about the Norman Conquest. The broken sword had probably been awarded as a result of some battle. More research in London would be needed to pin the occasion down. Finally Bond rolled up the sheets and got out his notebook. ‘And now we must start working back from the other end, Count.’ Bond became inquisitorial, authoritative. ‘We have your birth date in Gdynia, May 28th, 1908. Yes?’
‘Your parents’ names?’
‘Ernst George Blofeld and Maria Stavro Michelopoulos.’
‘Also born in Gdynia?’
‘Now your grandparents?’
‘Ernst Stefan Blofeld and Elizabeth Lubomirskaya.’
‘Hm, so the Ernst is something of a family Christian name?’
‘It would seem so. My great-grandfather, he was also Ernst.’
‘That is most important. You see. Count, among the Blofelds of Augsburg there are no less than two Ernsts!’
The Count’s hands had been lying on the green blotting-pad on his desk, relaxed. Now, impulsively, they joined together and briefly writhed, showing white knuckles.
My God, you’ve got it bad! thought Bond.
‘And that is important?’
‘Very. Christian names run through families. We regard them as most significant clues. Now, can you remember any farther back? You have done well. We have covered three generations. With the dates I shall later ask you for, we have already got back to around 1850. Only another fifty years to go and we shall have arrived at Augsburg.’
‘No.’ It was almost a cry of pain. ‘My great-great-grandfather. Of him I know nothing.’ The hands writhed on the blotting-paper. ‘Perhaps, perhaps. If it is a question of money. People, witnesses could be found.’ The hands parted, held themselves out expansively. ‘My dear Sir Hilary, you and I are men of the world. We understand each other. Extracts from archives, registry offices, the churches – these things, do they have to be completely authentic?’
Got you, you old fox! Bond said affably, with a hint of conspiracy, ‘I don’t quite understand what you mean, Count/
The hands were now flat on the desk again, happy hands. Blofeld had recognized one of his kind. ‘You are a hardworking man, Sir Hilary. You live modestly in this remote region of Scotland. Life could perhaps be made easier for you. There are perhaps material benefits you desire – motorcars, a yacht, a pension. You have only to say the word, name a figure.’ The dark-green orbs bored into Bond’s modestly evasive eyes, holding them. ‘Just a little co-operation. A visit here and there in Poland and Germany and France. Of course your expenses would be heavy. Let us say five hundred pounds a week. The technical matters, the documents, and so forth. Those I can arrange. It would only require your supporting evidence. Yes? The Ministry of Justice in Paris, for them the word of the College of Arms is the word of God. Is that not so?’
It was too good to be true! But how to play it? Diffidently, Bond said, ‘What you are suggesting, Count, is – er – not without interest. Of course’ – Bond’s smile was sufficiently expansive, sufficiently bland – ‘if the documents were convincing, so to speak solid, very solid, then it would be quite reasonable for me to authenticate them.’ Bond put spaniel into his eyes, asking to be patted, to be told that everything would be all right, that he would be completely protected. ‘You see what I mean?’
The Count began, with force, sincerity, ‘You need have absolutely no…’ when there was the noise of an approaching hubbub down the passage. The door burst open. A man, propelled from behind, lurched into the room and fell, writhing, to the floor.
Two of the guards came stiffly to attention behind him. They looked first at the Count and then, sideways, towards Bond, surprised to see him there.
The Count said sharply, ‘Was ist derm los?’
Bond knew the answer and, momentarily, he died. Behind the snow and the blood on the face of the man on the floor, Bond recognized the face of a man he knew.
The blond hair, the nose broken boxing for the Navy, belonged to a friend of his in the Service. It was, unmistakably, Number 2 from Station Z in Zurich!
15 The Heat Increases
YES, IT was Shaun Campbell all right! Christ Almighty, what a mess! Station Z had especially been told nothing about Bond’s mission. Campbell must have been following a lead of his own, probably trailing this Russian who had been ‘buying supplies’. Typical of the son of balls-up that over-security can produce!
The leading guard was talking in rapid, faulty German with a Slav accent. ‘He was found in the open ski compartment at the back of the gondola. Much frozen, but he put up a strong resistance. He had to be subdued. He was no doubt following Captain Boris.’ The man caught himself up. ‘I mean, your guest from the valley, Herr Graf. He says he is an English tourist from Zurich. That he had got no money for the fare. He wanted to pay a visit up here. He was searched. He carried five hundred Swiss francs. No identity papers.’ The man shrugged. ‘He says his name is Campbell.’
At the sound of his name, the man on the ground stirred. He lifted his head and looked wildly round the room. He had been badly battered about the face and head with a pistol or a cosh. His control was shot to pieces. When his eyes lit on the familiar face of Bond, he looked astonished, then, as if a lifebuoy had been thrown to him, he said hoarsely, “Thank God, James. Tell ’em it’s me! Tell ’em I’m from Universal Export. In Zurich. You know! For God’s sake, James! Tell ’em I’m O.K.’ His head fell forward on the carpet.
The Count’s head slowly turned towards Bond. The opaque green eyes caught the pale light from the window and glinted whitely. The tight, face-lifted smile was grotesquely horrible. ‘You know this man, Sir Hilary?’
Bond shook his head sorrowfully. He knew he was pronouncing the death sentence on Campbell. ‘Never seen him before in my life. Poor chap. He sounds a bit daft to me. Concussed, probably. Why not ship him down to a hospital in the valley? He looks in a pretty bad way.’
‘And Universal Export?’ The voice was silky. ‘I seem to have heard that name before.’
‘Well, I haven’t,’ said Bond indifferently. ‘Never heard of it.’ He reached in his pocket for his cigarettes, lit one with a dead steady hand.
The Count turned back to the guards. He said softly, ‘Zur Befragungszelle.’ He nodded his dismissal. The two guards bent down and hauled Campbell up by his armpits. The hanging head raised itself, gave one last terrible look of appeal a{ Bond. Then the man who was Bond’s colleague was hustled out of the room and the door was closed softly behind his dragging feet.
To the interrogation cell! That could mean only one thing, under modern methods, total confession! How long would Campbell hold out for? How many hours had Bond got left?
‘I have told them to take him to the sick-room. He will be well looked after.’ The Count looked from the papers on his desk to Bond. ‘I am afraid this unhappy intrusion has interfered with my train of thought, Sir Hilary. So .perhaps you will forgive me for this morning?’
‘Of course, of course. And, regarding your proposition, that we should work a little more closely together on your interests, I can assure you, Count, that I find it most interesting.’ Bond smiled conspiratorially. ‘I’m sure we could come to some satisfactory arrangement.’
‘Yes? That is good.’ The Count linked his hands behind his head and gazed for a moment at the ceiling and then, reflectively, back at Bond. He said casually, ‘I suppose you would not be connected in any way with the British Secret Service, Sir Hilary?’
Bond laughed out loud. The laugh was a reflex, forced out of him by tension.’ Good God, no! Didn’t even know we had one. Didn’t all that sort of thing go out with the end of the war?’ Bond chuckled to himself, fatuously amused. ‘Can’t quite see myself running about behind a false moustache. Not my line of country at all. Can’t bear moustaches.’
The Count’s unwavering smile did not seem to share Bond’s amusement. He said coldly, ‘Then please forget my question, Sir Hilary. The intrusion by this man has made me over-suspicious. I value my privacy up here, Sir Hilary. Scientific research can only be pursued in an atmosphere of peace.’
‘I couldn’t agree more.’ Bond was effusive. He got to his feet and gathered up his papers from the desk. ‘And now I must get on with my own research work. Just getting into the fourteenth century. I think I shall have some interesting data to show you tomorrow, Count.’
The Count got politely to his feet and Bond went out of the door and along the passage.
He loitered, listening for any sound. There was none, but half-way down the corridor one of the doors was ajar. A crack of blood-red light showed. Bond thought, I’ve probably had it anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound! He pushed the door open and stuck his head into the room. It was a long, low laboratory with a plastic-covered work-bench extending its whole length beneath the windows, which were shuttered. Dark red light, as in a film-developing chamber, came from neon strips above the cornice. The bench was littered with retorts and test-tubes, and there were line upon line of test-tubes and phials containing a cloudy liquid in racks against the far wall. Three men in white, with gauze pads over the bottoms of their faces and white surgical caps over their hair, were at work, absorbed. Bond took in the scene, a scene from a theatrical hell, withdrew his head, and walked on down the corridor and out into what was now a driving snowstorm. He pulled the top of his sweater over his head and forced his way along the path to the blessed warmth of the club-house. Then he walked quickly to his room, closed the door, and went into the bathroom and sat down on his usual throne of reflection and wondered what in God’s name to do.
Could he have saved Campbell? Well, he could have had a desperate shot at it. ‘Oh, yes. I know this man. Perfectly respectable chap. We used to work for the same export firm, Universal, in London. You look in pretty bad shape, old boy. What the devil happened?’ But it was just as well he hadn’t tried. As cover, solid cover, Universal was ‘brule’ with the pros. It had been in use too long. All the secret services in the world had penetrated it by now. Obviously Blofeld knew all about it. Any effort to save Campbell would simply have tied Bond in with him. There had been no alternative except to throw him to the wolves. If Campbell had a chance to get his wits back before they really started on him, he would know that Bond was there for some purpose, that his disavowal by Bond was desperately important to Bond, to the Service. How long would he have the strength to cover for Bond, retrieve his recognition of Bond? At most a few hours. But how many hours? That was the vital question. That and how long the storm would last. Bond couldn’t possibly get away in this stuff. If it stopped, there might be a chance, a damned slim one, but better than the alternatives, of which, if and when Campbell talked, there was only one – death, probably a screaming death.
Bond surveyed his weapons. They were only his hands and feet, his Gillette razor and his wrist-watch, a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding metal bracelet. Used properly, these could be turned into most effective knuckledusters. Bond got up, took the blade out of his Gillette and dropped the razor into his trouser pocket. He slipped the shaft between the first and second fingers of his left hand so that the blade-carrier rested flat along his knuckles. Yes, that was the way! Now was there anything, any evidence he should try and take with him? Yes, he must try 佛山桑拿休闲会所 and get more, if not all, of the girls’ names and, if possible, addresses. For some reason he knew they were vital. For that he would have to use Ruby. His head full of plans for getting the information out of her, Bond went out of the bathroom and sat down at his desk and got on with a fresh page of de Bleuvilles. At least he must continue to show willing, if only to the recording eye in the ceiling.
* * *
It was about twelve-thirty when Bond heard his doorknob being softly turned. Ruby slipped in and, her finger to her lips, disappeared into his bathroom. Bond casually threw down his pen, got up and stretched and strolled over and went in after her.
Ruby’s blue eyes were wide and frightened. ‘You’re in trouble,’ she whispered urgently. ‘What have you been doing?’
‘Nothing,’ said Bond innocently. ‘What’s up?’
‘We’ve all been 佛山南海桑拿休闲会所 told that we mustn’t talk to you unless Miss Bunt is there.’ Her knuckles went distractedly up to her teeth. ‘Do you think they know about Mi?’
‘Couldn’t possibly,’ said Bond, radiating confidence. ‘I think I know what it is.’ (With so much obfuscation in the air, what did an extra, a reassuring, lie matter?) ‘This morning the Count told me I was an upsetting influence here, that I was what he called “disruptive”, interfering with your treatments. He asked me to keep myself more to myself. Honestly’ – (how often that word came into a lie!) – ‘I’m sure that’s all it is. Rather a pity really. Apart from you – I mean you’re sort of special – I think all you girls are terribly sweet. I’d like to have helped you all.’
‘How do you mean? Helped us?’
‘Well, this business of surnames. I talked to Violet last night. She seemed awfully 佛山夜网 interested. I’m sure it would have amused all the others to have theirs done. Everyone’s interested in where they came from. Rather like palmistry in a way.’ Bond wondered how the College of Arms would have liked that

one! He shrugged. ‘Anyway, I’ve decided to get the hell away from here. I can’t bear being shepherded and ordered about like this. Who the hell do they think I am? But I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you can give me the names of the girls, as many as you know, I’ll do a piece on each of them and post them when you all get back to England. How much longer have you got, by the way?’
‘We’re not told exactly, but the rumour is about another week. There’s another batch of girls due about then. When we’re slow at our work or get behind-hand with our reading,
Miss Bunt says she hopes the next lot won’t be so stupid. 佛山桑拿微信 The old bitch! But Sir Hilary’ – the blue eyes filled with concern – ‘how are you going to get away? You know we’re practically prisoners up here.’
Bond was off-hand. ‘Oh, I’ll manage somehow. They can’t hold me

here against my will. But what about the names, Ruby? Don’t you think it would give the girls a treat?’
‘Oh, they’d love it. Of course I know all of them. We’ve found plenty of ways of exchanging secrets. But you won’t be able to remember. Have you got anything to write down on?’
Bond tore off some strips of lavatory paper and took out a pencil. ‘Fire away!’
She laughed. ‘Well, you know me and Violet, then there’s Elizabeth Mackinnon. She’s from Aberdeen. Beryl Morgan from somewhere in Herefordshire. Pearl Tampion, Devonshire – by the way, all those simply loathed every kind of cattle. Now they live on steaks! Would you 佛山桑拿一条龙多少钱believe it? I must say the Count’s a wonderful man.”
‘Yes, indeed.’
‘Then there’s Anne Charter from Canterbury and Caresse Ventnor from the National Stud, wherever that is – fancy her working there and she came up in a rash all over whenever she went near ajhorse! Now all she does is dream of pony clubs and read every word she can get hold of about Pat Smythe! And Denise Robertson…”
The list went on until Bond had got the whole ten. He said, ‘What about that Polly somebody who left in November?’
‘Polly Tasker. She was from East Anglia. Don’t remember where, but I can find out the address when I get back to England. Sir Hilary’ – she put her arm round his neck -‘lam going to see you again, aren’t I?’