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Opposite, two of them had snapped off near the base and lay drunkenly across the road. Between them there was a still smoking crater.
Of the two men in straw hats, there remained ab- solutely nothing. But there were red traces on the road, and on the pavements and against the trunks of the trees, and there were glittering shreds high up in the branches.
Bond felt himself starting to vomit. It was Mathis who got to him first, and by that time Bond was standing with his arm round the tree which had saved his life.
Stupefied, but unharmed, he allowed Mathis to lead him off towards the Splendide from which guests and servants were pouring in chattering fright.
As the distant clang of bells heralded the arrival of ambulances and fire-engines, they managed to push through the throng and up the short stairs and along the corridor to Bond's room.
Mathis paused only to turn on the radio in front of the fireplace, then, while Bond stripped off his blood- flecked clothes, Mathis sprayed him with questions.
When it came to the description of the two men, Mathis tore the telephone off its hook beside Bond's bed. He is unhurt, and they are not to worry him.
I will explain to them in half an hour. They should tell the Press that it was apparently a vendetta between two Bulgarian communists and that one killed the other with a bomb.
They need say nothing of the third Bulgar who must have been hanging about somewhere, but they must get him at all costs.
He will certainly head for Paris. It must have been faulty. They intended to throw it and then dodge behind their tree.
But it all came out the other way round. We will discover the facts. And these people appear to be taking you seriously.
And what was the significance of the red and the blue cases? We must try and find some fragments of the red one. He was excited, and his eyes glit- tered.
This was becoming a formidable and dramatic af- fair, in many aspects of which he was now involved per- sonally.
Certainly it was no longer just a case of holding Bond's coat while he had his private battle with Le Chiffre in the Casino.
The door slammed, and silence set- tled on the room. Bond sat for a while by the window and enjoyed being alive. Please take care of yourself.
He dipped the knife into the glass of very hot water which stood beside the pot of Strasbourg porcelain and reminded himself to tip the waiter doubly for this par- ticular meal.
He ordered a masseur for three o'clock. After the remains of his luncheon had been removed, he sat at his window gazing out to sea until there came a knock on the door as the masseur, a Swede, presented himself.
Silently he got to work on Bond from his feet to his neck, melting the tensions in his body and calming his still twanging nerves.
Even the long purpling bruises down Bond's left shoulder and side ceased to throb, and when the Swede had gone Bond fell into a dreamless sleep.
He awoke in the evening completely refreshed. After a cold shower, Bond walked over to the Casino. Since the night before he had lost the mood of the tables.
He needed to reestablish that focus which is half mathematical and half intuitive and which, with a slow pulse and a sanguine temperament, he knew to be the 41 42 CASINO ROYALE essential equipment of any gambler who was set on winning.
Bond had always been a gambler. He loved the dry riffle of the cards and the constant unemphatic drama of the quiet figures round the green tables.
He liked the solid, studied comfort of cardrooms and casinos, the well-padded arms of the chairs, the glass of champagne or whisky at the elbow, the quiet unhurried attention of good servants.
He was amused by the impartiality of the roulette ball and of the playing cards — and their eternal bias. He liked being an actor and a spectator and from his chair to take part in other men's dramas and decisions, until it came to his own turn to say that vital 'yes' or 'no,' generally on a fifty-fifty chance.
Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master.
Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, , for, at gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.
And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pur- sued.
But he was honest enough to, admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck.
When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to -pay before you have lost: Bond borrowed the chef's card and studied the run of the ball since the session had started at three o'clock that afternoon.
He always did this although he knew that- each turn of the wheel, each fall of the ball into a numbered slot, had absolutely no connexion with its predecessor.
He accepted that the game begins afresh each time the croupier picks up the ivory ball with his right hand, gives one of the four spokes of the wheel a controlled twist clockwise with the same hand and, with a third motion, also with the right hand, flicks the ball round the outer rim of the wheel anticlockwise, against its spin.
It was obvious that all this ritual and all the mechanical minutiae of the wheel, of the numbered slots and the cylinder, had been devised and perfected over the years so that neither the skill of the croupier nor any bias in the wheel could affect the fall of the ball.
And yet it is a convention among roulette players, and Bond rigidly adhered to it, to take careful note of the past history of each session and to be guided by any pe- culiarities in the run of the wheel.
To note, for instance, and consider significant, sequences of more than two on a single number or of more than four at the other chances down to evens.
Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply main- tained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.
On the record of that particular table, after about three hours' play, Bond could see little of interest except that the last dozen had been out of favour, It was his practice to play always with the wheel, and only to turn against its previous pattern and start on a new tack after a zero had turned up.
He thus had two-thirds of the board covered less the zero and, since the dozens pay odds of two to one, he stood to win a hundred thousand francs every time any number lower than 25 turned up.
After seven coups he had won six times. He lost on the seventh When 30 came up. His net profit was half a million francs. He kept off the table for the eighth throw.
This piece of luck cheered him further and, accepting the 30 as a finger-post to the last dozen, he decided to back the first and last dozens until he had lost twice.
Ten throws later the middle dozen came up twice, costing him four hundred thousand francs, but he rose from the table eleven hundred thousand francs to the good.
Directly Bond had started playing in maximums, his game had become the centre of interest at the table. As he seemed to be in luck, one or two pilot fish started to swim with the shark.
Sitting directly opposite, one of these, whom Bond took to be "an American, had shown more than the usual friendliness and pleasure at his share of the winning streak.
He had smiled once or twice across the table, and there was something pointed in the way he duplicated Bond's movements, placing his two modest plaques of ten mille exactly opposite Bond's larger ones.
When Bond rose, he too pushed back his chair and called cheerfully across the table: Guess I owe you a drink. Will you join me?
He knew he was right as they strolled off together towards the bar, after Bond had thrown a plaque of ten mille to the croupier and had given a mille to the huissier who drew back his chair.
What shall we have to celebrate? In a deep champagne goblet. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.
Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon- peel. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made.
I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.
He reached for it and took a long sip. But Leiter was still interested in Bond's drink. He lowered his voice: I hope it hasn't frightened away any of the big money.
All the burnt trees are coming down tonight and if they work things here like they do at Monte Carlo, there won't be a trace of the mess left in the morning.
Our people are definitely interested. They think it's just as important as your friends do, and they don't think there's anything crazy about it at all.
In fact, Washington's pretty sick we're not running the show, but you know what the big brass is like. I expect your fellows are much the same in London.
With Mathis and his boys here, there may not be much that isn't taken care of already. But, anyway, here I am. I'm glad Le Chiffre seems as desperate as we thought he was.
I'm afraid I haven't got anything very specific for you to do, but I'd be grateful if you'd stick around the Casino this evening.
I've got an assistant, a Miss Lynd, and I'd like to hand her over to you when I start playing.
You won't be ashamed of her. She's a good-looking girl. I can't ; imagine he'll try a roughhouse, but you never know. It turned out that Leiter was from Texas.
While he talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff of N. Felix Leiter was about thirty-five. He was tall with a thin bony frame and his lightweight, tan-coloured suit hung loosely from his shoulders like the clothes of Frank Sinatra.
His movements and speech were slow," but one had the feeling that there was plenty of speed and strength in him, and that he.
As he sat hunched over the table, he seemed to have some of the jackknife quality of a falcon. There was this impression also in his face, in the sharpness of his chin and cheekbones and the wide wry mouth.
His grey eyes had a feline slant which was in- creased by his habit of screwing them up against the smoke of the Chesterfields which he tapped out of the pack in a chain.
The permanent wrinkles which this habit had etched at the corners gave the impression that he smiled more with his eyes than with his mouth. A mop of straw-coloured hair lent his face a boyish look which closer examination contradicted.
Although he seemed to talk quite openly about his duties in Paris, Bond soon noticed that he never spoke of his American colleagues in Europe or in Washington, and he guessed that Leiter held the interests of his own organization far above the mutual concerns of the North Atlantic Allies.
Bond sympathized with him. 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.
As they walked across to the Splendide, they saw that a team of workmen was already busy at the scene of the explosion.
Several trees were uprooted and hoses frOm three municipal tank cars were washing down the boulevard and pavements. The bomb-crater had disap- peared and only a few passers-by had paused to gape.
Bond assumed that similar face-lifting had already been carried out at the Hermitage and to the, shops and front- ages which had lost their windows.
Bond was not sure, and said so. Mathis had been unable to enlighten him, 'Unless you have bought him yourself,' he had said, 'you must assume that he has been bought by the other side.
All concierges are venal. It is not their fault. They are trained to regard all hotel guests except maharajahs as potential cheats and thieves.
They have as much concern for your comfort or welKbeing as crocodiles. Bond thought it well to say that he still felt a little bit shaky.
He hoped that if the intelligence were relayed; Le Chiffre would at any rate start playing that evening with a basic misinterpretation of his adversary's strength.
The concierge proffered glycerine hopes for Bond's recovery. ROUGE ET NOIR 49 Letter's room was on one of the upper floors and they parted company at the lift after arranging to see each other at the Casino at around half-past ten or eleven, the usual hour for the high tables to begin play.
CHAPTER 8 Pink Lights and Champagne 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.
There remained an hour in which to rest and compose his thoughts before he met the girl in the Splendide bar, an hour to examine minutely the details of his plans for the game, and for after the game, in all the various circumstances of victory or defeat.
He had to plan the attendant roles of Mathis, Letter, 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 were watching the tumbling chips of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope.
He rose and dressed, dismissing the future completely from his mind. As he tied his thin, double-ended, black satin tie, he His grey-blue eyes looked calmly back with a hint of ironical inquiry and the short lock of black hair which would never stay in place slowly subsided to form a thick comma above his right eyebrow.
With the thin vertical scar down his right cheek the general effect was faintly piratical. Not much of Hoagy Carmichael there, thought Bond, as he filled a flat, light, gun-metal box with fifty of the Morland cigarettes with the triple gold band.
Mathis had told him of the girl's comment. He slipped the case into his hip pocket and snapped his black oxidized Ronson to see if it needed fuel.
After pocketing the thin sheaf of ten-mille notes, he opened a drawer and took out a light chamois leather holster and slipped it over his left shoulder so that it hung about three inches below his armpit.
He then took from under his shirts in another drawer a very flat. He charged the weapon again, loaded it, put up the safety catch, and dropped it into the shallow pouch of the shoulder-holster.
He looked carefully round the room to see if anything had been forgotten and slipped his single-breasted dinner-jacket coat over his heavy silk evening shirt.
He felt cool and comfortable. He verified in the mirror that there was absolutely no sign of the flat gun under his left arm, gave a final pull at his narrow tie and walked out of the door and locked it.
When he turned at the foot of the short stairs towards the bar, he heard the lift-door open behind him and a cool voice call, 'Good evening.
She stood and waited for him to come up to her. He had remembered her beauty exactly. He was not surprised to be thrilled by it again.
There was a thin necklace of diamonds at her throat and a diamond clip in the low vee which just exposed the jutting swell of her breasts. She carried a plain black evening bag, a flat oblong which she now held, her arm akimbo, at her waist.
Her jet-black hair hung straight and simply to the final in- ward curl below the chin. She looked quite superb, and Bond's heart lifted.
Business must be good in the radio world! It marks when you sit down. And, by the way, if you hear me scream tonight, I shall have sat on a cane chair.
We'll have a glass of vodka while we order our dinner. The food here's the best in Royale. But it was only an infinitesimal clink of foils and as the bowing maitre d'hStel led them through the crowded room, it was forgotten as Bond in her wake watched the heads of the diners turn to look at her.
The fashionable part of the restaurant was beside the wide crescent of window built out like the broad stern of a ship over the hotel gardens, but Bond had chosen a table in one of the mirrored alcoves at the back of the great room.
These had survived from Edwardian days and they were secluded and gay in white and gilt, with the red silk-shaded table and wall lights of the late Empire.
He turned to his companion. He said to her abruptly: Bond gave her a look of inquiry. Apparently they wanted to remember it.
I'm just used to it. An idea struck him. He explained about the special Martini he had invented and his search for a name for it.
Can I have it? And now have you decided what you would like to have for dinner? Please be ex- pensive, ' he, added as he sensed her hesitation, 'or you'll let down that beautiful frock.
And then I'd like to have fraises des bois with a lot of cream. Is it very shameless to be so certain and so expensive?
While Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an avocado pear with a little French dressing. Do you ap- prove? It is a cheerful wine, and it suits the occasion — I hope,' he added.
With his finger on the page, Bond turned to the sommelier: It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details.
I think that's the way to live. But it sounds rather schoolgirlish when one says it, 5 she added apologetically.
The little carafe of Vodka had arrived in its bowl of crushed ice, and Bond filled their glasses. He was longing to tell you himself.
It's, about the bomb: It's a fantastic story. He was in a Citroen, and he had picked up two English hikers as protective colouring.
At the roadblock his French was so bad that they asked for his papers, and he brought out a gun and shot one of the motor-cycle patrol.
But the other man got him, I don't know how, and managed to stop him committing suicide. Then they took him down to Rouen and extracted the story — in the usual French fashion, I suppose.
He said the bright colours would make it easier for them. He told them that the blue case contained a very powerful smoke-bomb. The red case was the explosive.
As one of them threw the red case the other was to press a switch on the blue case, and they would escape under cover of the smoke.
In fact, the smoke-bomb was a pure invention to make the Bulgars think they could get away. Both cases contained an identical high-explosive bomb. There was no difference between the blue and the red cases.
The idea was to destroy you and the bomb- throwers without a trace. Presumably there were other plans for dealing with the third man.
It would be better, they thought, to touch off the smoke- bomb first and, from inside the cloud of smoke, hurl the explosive bomb at you.
What you saw was the assistant bomb-thrower pressing down the lever on the phony smoke-bomb; and, of course, they both went up together. When he saw what had hapr pened, he assumed they had bungled.
But the police picked up some fragments of the unexploded red bomb, and he was confronted with them. When he saw that they had been tricked and that his two friends were meant to be murdered with you, he started to talk.
I ex- pect he's still talking now. But there's nothing to link all this with Le Chiffre. The caviar was heaped on to their plates, and they ate for a time in silence.
After a while Bond said: For them, it certainly was a case of being hoist with their own petard. Mathis must be very pleased with the day's work — five of the opposition neutralized in twenty-four hours.
What section are you in? It seemed only to be a liaison job, so M. I've got a friend who is a vendeuse with Dior, and somehow she managed to borrow me this and the frock I was wearing this morn- ing; otherwise I couldn't possibly have competed with all these people.
All they knew was that I was to work with a Double O. Of course you're our heroes. I was en- chanted. It's nothing to be par- ticularly proud of.
Probably quite decent people. They just got caught up in the gale of the world like that Yugoslav that Tito bumped off. It's a confusing business; but if it's one's profession one does what one's told.
How do you like the grated egg with your caviar? It seems a shame — ' She stopped, warned by a cold look in Bond's eye.
Suddenly he regretted the intimacy of their dinner and of their talk. He felt that he had said too much and what was only a working relationship had become confused.
Which isn't very much, I'm afraid,' he added. The maltre d'hdtel surpervised the serving of the second course, and then as they ate the delicious food Bond continued.
She listened to him coldly, but with attentive obedi- ence. She- felt thoroughly deflated by his harshness, while admitting to herself that she should have paid more heed to the warnings of Head of S.
He thinks of nothing but the job on hand and, while it's on, he's absolute hell to work for. But he's an expert, and there aren't many about; so you won't be wasting your time.
He's a good-looking chap— but don't fall for him. I don't think he's got much heart. Anyway, good luck, and don't get hurt.
Then at a hint 60 CASINO ROYALE that they were finding pleasure together, a hint that was only the first words of a conventional phrase, he had suddenly turned to ice and had brutally veered away as if warmth were poison to him.
She felt hurt and foolish. Then she gave a mental shrug and concentrated with all her attention on what he was saying. She would not make the same mistake again.
The odds against the banker and the player are more or less even. Only a run against either can be decisive and ' 'break the bank, ' ' or break the players.
He paid a million francs for it, and his capital has'been reduced to twenty-four million. I have about the same. There will be ten players, I ex- pect, and we sit round the banker at a kidney-shaped table.
The banker plays two games, one against each of the tableaux to left and right of him. In that game, the banker should be able to win by playing off one tableau against the other and by first-class accountancy.
But there aren't enough baccarat players yet at Royale, and Le Chiffre is just going to pit his luck against the other players at the single tableau.
It's , unusual because the odds in favour of the banker aren't so good; but they're a shade in his favour and, of course, he has control of the size of the stakes.
I shall be sitting as near dead opposite Le Chiffre as I can get. In front of him he has a shoe containing six packs of cards, well shuffled.
The cards are shuf- fled by the croupier and cut bygone of the players and put into the shoe in full view of the table. We've checked on the staff, and they're all okay.
It would be useful, but almost impossible, to mark all the cards, and it would mean the connivance at least of the croupier. Anyway, we shall be watching for that too.
The banker announces an opening bank of five hundred thousand francs, or five hundred pounds as it is now.
Each seat is numbered from the right of the banker, and the player next to the banker, or Number 1, can accept this bet and push his money out on to the table, or pass it if it is too much or he doesn't want to take it.
Then Number 2 has the right to take it; and if he refuses then Number 3, and so on round the table. If no single player takes it all, the bet is offered to the table as a whole and everyone chips in, including sometimes the spectators round the table, until the five hundred thousand is made up.
At that moment I shall always try and step in and accept the bet— in fact, I shall attack Le Chiffre's bank whenever I get a chance until either I've bust his bank or he's bust me.
It may take some time, but in the end one of us two is bound to break the other, irrespective of the other players at the table, although they can, of course, make him richer or poorer in the meantime.
Neither of them drank brandy or a liqueur. Finally, Bond felt it was time to explain the actual mechanics of the game.
In this game I get two cards and the banker gets two; and, unless anyone wins outright, either or both of us can get one more card. The object of the game is to hold two, or three cards which together count nine points, Or as nearly nine as possible.
Court cards and tens count nothing; aces one each; any other card its face value. It is only the last figure of your count that signifies.
So nine plus seven equals six — not sixteen. Draws are played over again. If I haven't got a natural, I can stand on a seven or a six, perhaps ask for a card or perhaps not, on a five, and certainly ask for a card if my count is lower than five.
Five is the turning point of the game. According to the odds, the chance of bettering or worsening your hand if you hold a five are exactly even.
If he has a natural, he turns them up and wins. Otherwise he is faced with the same problems as I was. But he is helped in his decision to draw or not to draw a card by my actions.
If I have stood he must assume that I have a five, six, or seven: And this card was dealt to me face up. On its face value and a knowledge of the odds, he will know whether to take another card or to stand on his own.
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?
Some players always draw or always stand,. I follow my intuition. The prospect of at last 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.
He paid the bill and gave a handsome tip to the som- melier. Vesper rose and led the way out of the restaurant and out on to the steps of the hotel.
The big Bentley was waiting and Bond drove Vesper over, parking as close to the entrance as he could. As they walked through the ornate anterooms, he hardly spoke.
She looked at him and saw that his nostrils were , slightly flared. In other respects he seemed completely at ease, acknowledging cheerfully the greetings of the Casino functionaries.
At the door to the salle privee they were not asked for their membership cards. Before they had penetrated very far into the main room, Felix Leiter detached himself from one of the roulette tables and greeted Bond as an old friend.
I've got three lucky numbers that are bound to show soon, and I expect Miss Lynd has some too. Then perhaps we could come and watch you when your game starts to warm up.
Well, I shall leave you then. Leiter sensed the rebuff, 'He's a very serious gambler, Miss Lynd,' he said. Now come with me and watch Number 17 obey my extrasensory perceptions.
You'll find it quite a painless sensation being given plenty of money for nothing. 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.
The table was filling up, and the cards were spread face down, being stirred and mixed slowly in what is 66 CASINO ROYALE known as the 'croupiers' shuffle' — supposedly the shuffle which is most effective and least susceptible to cheating.
The chef de partie lifted the velvet-covered chain which allowed entrance through the brass rail.
Bond moved inside the rail to which a huissier was holding out his chair. He sat down with a nod to the players on his right and left. He took out his wide gun- metal cigarette case and his black lighter and placed them on the green baize at his right elbow.
The huissier wiped a thick glass ashtray with a cloth and put it beside them. Bond lit a cigarette and leant back in his chair.
Opposite him, the banker's chair was vacant. He glanced round the table. He knew most of the players by sight, but, few of their names.
At Number 7, on his right, there was a Monsieur Sixte, a wealthy Belgian with metal interests in the Congo. At Number 9 there was Lord Danvers, a distinguished but weak-looking man whose francs were presumably provided by his rich American wife, a middle-aged woman with the predatory mouth of a barracuda, who sat at Number 3.
Bond reflected that they would probably play a pawky and nervous game and be amongst the early casualties. At Number 1 , to the right of the bank, was a well- known Greek gambler who owned, as in Bond's ex- perience apparently everyone does in the eastern Mediterranean, a profitable shipping line.
He would play coldly and well and would be a stayer. Bond asked the huissier for a card and wrote on it, under a neat question mark, the remaining numbers, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, and asked the huissier to give it to the chef de partie.
Soon it came back with the names filled in. With her sanguine temperament she would play gaily and with panache and might run into a vein of luck.
Du Pont, rich-looking, who might or might not have some of the real Du Pont money behind them. Bond guessed they would be stayers.
They both had a businesslike look about them and were talking together easily and cheerfully as if they felt very much at home at the big game.
Bond was quite happy to have them next to him— Mrs. Du 1 Pont sat at Number 5— and he felt prepared to share with them or with Monsieur Sixte on his right, if they found them- selves faced with too big a bank.
At Number 8 was the Maharajah of a small Indian state, probably with all his wartime sterling balances to play with. Bond's experience told him that few of the Asiatic races were courageous gamblers, even the much- vaunted Chinese being inclined to lose heart if the going was bad.
But the Maharajah would probably stay late in the game and stand some heavy losses if they were gradual. Number 10 was a prosperous-looking young Italian, Signor Tomelli, who possibly had plenty of money from rack-rents in Milan and would probably play a dashing and foolish game.
He might lose his temper and make a scene. Bond had just finished his sketchy summing-up of the players when Le Chiffre, with the silence and economy of movement of a big fish, came through the opening in the brass rail and, with a cold smile of welcome for the table, took his place directly opposite Bond in the Banker's chair.
With the same economy of movement, he cut the thick slab of cards, which the croupier had placed on the table squarely between his blunt relaxed hands.
He gave it a short deliberate slap to settle the cards, the first of which showed its semicircular pale pink tongue through the slanting aluminum mouth of the shoe.
Then, with a thick white forefinger 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. He sat immobile, not touching his own cards. He looked at the Greek's face.
With his flat wooden spatula, like a long bricklayer's trowel, the croupier delicately lifted up the Greek's two cards and dropped them with a quick movement an extra few inches to the right so that they lay just before the Greek's pale hairy hands, which lay inert like two watchful pink crabs on the table.
The two pink crabs scuttled out together and the Greek gathered the cards into his wide left hand and cautiously bent his head so that he could see, in the shadow made by his cupped hand, the value of the bottom of the two cards.
Then he slowly inserted the forefinger of his right hand and slipped the bottom card slightly sideways so that the value of the top card was also just perceptible.
His face was quite impassive. He flattened out his left hand on the table and then withdrew it, leaving the two pink cards face down before him, their secret unrevealed.
Then he lifted his head and looked Le Chiffre in the eye. From the decision to stand on his two cards and not to ask for another, it was clear that the Greek had a five, or a six, or a seven.
To be certain Of winning, the bank had to reveal an eight or a nine. If the banker failed to show either figure, he also had the right to take another card which might or might not improve his count.
Le Chiffre's hands were clasped in front of him, his two cards three or four inches away. With his right hand he picked up the two cards and turned them face up- wards on the table with a faint snap.
They were a four and a five, an uhdef eatable natural nine. With his spatula he faced the Greek's two cards, 'Et le sept,' he said unemotionally, lifting up gently the corpses of the seven and queen and slipping them through the wide slot in the table near his chair which leads into the big metal canister to which all dead cards are consigned.
Le Chiffre's two cards followed them with the 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.
The Greek pushed forward five plaques of one hundred thousand, and the coupier added these to Le Chiffre's half-million plaque which lay in the centre of the table.
From each bet the Casino takes a tiny per- centage, the cagnotte; but it is usual at a big game for the banker to subscribe this himself either in a pre- arranged lump sum or by contributions at the end of each hand, so that the amount of the bank's stake can always be a round figure.
Le Chiffre had chosen the second course. The croupier slipped some counters through the slot in the table which receives the cagnotte and announced quietly: Bond lit a cigarette and settled himself in his chair.
The long game was launched, and the sequence of these gestures and the reiteration of this subdued litany would continue until the end came and the players dispersed.
Then the enigmatic cards would be burnt or defaced, a shroud would be draped over the table, and the grass- green baize battlefield would soak up the blood of its victims and refresh itself.
The Greek, after taking a third card, could achieve no better than a four to the bank's seven. The players on Bond's left remained silent.
He slowly removed one thick hand from the table and slipped it into the pocket of his dinner-jacket. The hand came out holding a small metal cylinder with a cap which Le Chiffre unscrewed.
He inserted the nozzle of the cylinder, with an obscene deliberation, twice into each black nostril in turn, and luxuriously inhaled the benzedrine vapour.
Unhurriedly he pocketed the inhaler; then his hand came quickly back, above the level of. During this offensive pantomime Bond had coldly held the banker's gaze, taking in the wide expanse of white face surmounted by the short abrupt cliff of red- dish brown hair, the unsmiling wet red mouth, and the 71 72 CASINO ROYALE impressive width of the shoulders, loosely draped in a massively cut dinner-jacket.
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.
Bond slipped a packet of notes on to the table without counting them. If he lost, the croupier would extract what was necessary to cover the bet; but the easy gesture conveyed that Bond didn't expect to lose, and that this was only a token display from the deep funds at Bond's disposal.
The other players sensed a tension between the two gamblers, and there was a silence as Le Chiffre fingered the four cards out of the shoe.
The croupier slipped Bond's two cards across to him with the tip of his spatula. Bond, still with his eyes holding Le Chiffre's, reached his right hand out a few inches, glanced down very swiftly, then as he looked up again impassively at Le Chiffre, with a disdainful gesture he tossed the cards face upwards on the table.
There was a little gasp of envy from the table, and the players to the left of Bond exchanged rueful glances at their failure to accept the two-million-franc bet.
With the hint of a shrug, Le Chiffre slowly faced his own two cards and flicked them away with his finger- nail. They were two valueless knaves.
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: The woman on his left, the American Mrs.
Du Pont, turned to him with a wry smile. Du Pont leant forward from the other side of his wife: He soon saw Le Chiffre's two gunmen.
They stood behind and to either side of the banker. They looked respect- able enough, but not sufficiently a part of the game to be unobtrusive, 1 The one more or less behind Le Chiffre's right arm was tall and funereal in his dinner-jacket.
His face was wooden and grey, but his eyes flickered and gleamed like a conjurer's. His whole long body was restless, and his hands shifted often on the brass rail.
Bond guessed that he would kill without interest or concern for what he killed, and that he would prefer strangling. He had something of Lennie in Of Mice and Men, but his inhumanity would not come from infantilism but from drugs.
The other man looked like a Corsican shopkeeper. He was short and very dark with a flat head covered with thickly greased hair. He seemed to be a cripple.
A chunky Malacca cane with a rubber tip hung on a rail beside him. He must have had permission to bring the cane into the Casino with him, reflected Bond, who knew that neither sticks nor any other objects were allowed in the rooms as a precaution against acts of violence.
He looked sleek and well fed. His mouth hung vacantly half open and revealed very bad teeth. He wore a heavy black moustache, and the backs of his hands on the rail were matted with black hair.
Bond guessed that hair covered most of his squat body. The game continued uneventfully, but with a slight bias against the bank. 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.
It was like that now. 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.
In fact, Le Chiffre had lost heavily all that afternoon. At this moment he only had ten million left. Bond, on the other hand, by one o'clock in the morn- ing, had; won four million, bringing his resources up to twenty-eight million.
Bond was cautiously pleased. Le Chiffre showed no trace of emotion. He continued to play like an automaton, never speaking except when he gave in- structions in a low aside to the croupier at the opening of each new bank.
Outside the pool of silence round the high table, there was the constant hum of the other tables, chemin-de- - fer, roulette, and trente-et-quarante, interspersed with the clear calls of the croupiers and occasional bursts of laughter or gasps of excitement from different corners of the huge salle.
In the background there thudded always the hidden metronome of the Casino, ticking up its little treasure of one-per-cents with each spin of a wheel and each turn of a card — a pulsing fat-cat with a zero for a heart.
The Greek at Number 1 was still having a bad time. He had lost the first coup of half a million francs and the second.
He passed the third time, leaving a bank of two millions. Carmel Delane at Number 2 refused it. So did Lady Danvers at Number 3.
The Du Ponts looked at each other. Du Pont, and promptly lost to the banker's natural eight. Again he fixed Le Chiffre with his eye.
Again he gave only a cursory look at his two cards. He held a marginal five. The position was dangerous. Le Chiffre turned up a knave and a four. He gave the shoe another slap.
He drew a three. He raked over Bond's money, extracted four million francs and returned the remainder to Bond. And lost again, to a natural nine.
In two coups he had lost twelve million francs. By scrapping the barrel, he had just sixteen million francs left,' exactly the amount of the next banco.
Suddenly Bond felt the sweat on his palms. Like snow in sunshine his capital had melted. With the covetous deliberation of the winning gambler, Le Chiffre was tapping a light tattoo on the table with his right hand.
Bond looked across into the eyes of murky basalt. They held an ironical question. There was no hint in his movements that this would be his last stake.
His mouth felt suddenly as dry as flock wall-paper. He looked up and saw Vesper and Felix Leiter standing where the gunman with the stick had stood.
He did not know how long they had been standing there. Leiter looked faintly worried, but Vesper smiled en- ' couragement at him..
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.
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.
Then he looked again. It was nearly as bad as it could have been — the king of hearts and an ace, the ace of spades. It squinted up at him like a black widow spider.
Le Chiffre faced his own two cards. He had a queen and a black five. He looked at Bond and pressed out another card with a wide forefinger.
The table was ab- solutely silent. He faced it and flicked it away. The croupier lifted it delicately with his spatula and slipped it over to Bond.
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. It was, unnecessarily, the best, a four, giving the bank a count of nine.
He had won, almost slowing up. Bond was beaten and cleaned out. He opened his wide black case and took out a cigarette.
He snapped open the tiny jaws of the Ronson and lit the cigarette and put the lighter back on the table.
He took a deep lungful of smoke and expelled it between his teeth with a faint hiss. Back to the hotel and bed, avoiding the commiserating eyes of Mathis and Leiter and Vesper: Back to the telephone call to London, and then tomorrow the plane home, the taxi up to Regent's Park, the walk up the.
He looked round the table and up at the spectators. Few were looking at him. They were waiting while the croupier counted the money and piled up the chips in a neat stack in front of the banker, waiting to see if anyone would conceivably challenge this huge bank of 78 THE DEADLY TUBE 79 thirty-two million francs, this wonderful run of banker's luck.
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 en- couragement.
But then, Bond reflected, she knew nothing of the game. Had no notion, probably, of the bitterness of his defeat.
The huissier was coming towards Bond inside the rail. He stopped beside him. Placed a squat envelope beside Bond on the table. It was as thick as a dictionary.
Said something about the caisse. He took the heavy anonymous envelope below the level of the table and slit it open with his thumbnail, noticing that the gum was still wet on the flap.
Unbelieving and yet knowing it was true, he felt the broad wads of notes. He slipped them into his pockets, retaining the half-sheet of notepaper which was pinned to the topmost of them.
He glanced at it in the shadow below the table. There was one line of writing in ink: With the compliments of the U.
He looked over towards Vesper. Felix Leiter was again standing beside her. He grinned slightly, and Bond smiled back and raised his hand from the table in a small gesture of benediction.
Then he set his mind to sweeping away all traces of the sense of complete defeat which had swamped him a few minutes before. This was a reprieve, but only a reprieve.
There could be no more miracles. This time he had to win— if Le Chif fre had not already made his fifty million — if he was going to go on! The croupier had completed his task of computing the cagnotte, changing Bond's notes into plaques, and making a pile of the giant stake in the middle of the table.
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.
He showed no signs of moving, and Bond guessed with relief that somehow he must have overestimated Le Chiffre' s resources. Then the only hope, thought Bond, was to stamp on him how.
Not to share the bank with the table, or to take some minor r part of it, but to go the whole hog.
This would really jolt Le Chiffre. He would hate to see more than ten or fifteen million of the stake covered, and he could not possibly expect anyone to banco the entire thirty-two millions.
He might not know that Bond had been cleaned out, but he must imagine that Bond had by now only small reserves. He could not know of the contents of the envelope.
If he did, he would probably withdraw the bank and start all over again on the wearisome journey up from the five hundred franc opening bet. The analysis was right.
Le Chiffre needed another eight million. At last he nodded. A silence built itself up round the table. Besides, this was won- derful publicity.
He spends what he earns. He knows that statistically he will have at least 10, probably 20, and as many as 30 very tough assignments before the mandatory 00 retirement age of He knows the odds of his surviving the coming ten years are slim to none.
And that depresses him. How do I know? Ian Fleming tells us so in Chapter One of "Moonraker" third book in the series.
That's the Bond that Ian Fleming created. Much more interesting and gritty and real and human. It's the Bond Daniel Craig resurrected until the new crop of Hollywood fools screwed it up again with November 's Spectre.
I'll stick with the books, thank you very much! Fleming's writing style, while perhaps not rising to the expectations of modern pedantic poseur literary critics, is easy to read and follow.
As would be expected from a successful journalist writing for educated U. I didn't find that aspect disruptive at all to the flow of the narrative.
If you want entertaining glitz, stick with the movies; if want something more, read the books! I've enjoyed them all immensely in the context of the time period in which they take place.
Bond fans may want to check out flemingsbond. Annotations and Chronologies" by John Griswald. Possible spoilers below- This kickstarter to the James Bond novels is written very well.
From the start, Fleming creates a bond no pun intended between the reader and the cold, calculating spy that is James Bond. The atmosphere of the novel is indeed tense, and the expressions on the characters' faces are easily imagined.
I was particularly impressed with the Le Chiffre character, who is written in a clear and convincing way.
Fleming describes his facial expressions and mannerisms in a way that you feel almost familiar with him, and it's somewhat terrifying.
There is a torture scene that is quite difficult to read, but its aftermath is what makes the novel. Despite all his coldness, James Bond's humanity is revealed in his romance with Vesper Lynd.
You can feel his happiness at possibly having found a soul mate, his frustration when the relationship sours, and most of all, his bitterness and deep hurt when Vesper denies both of them happiness by committing suicide and revealing herself to him in a suicide note.
In the end this is an enjoyable novel, though it feels a tad rushed, and is not really a "spy novel" per se. Only about half the book contains the "meat"- the poker battle with Le Chiffre and the later confrontation that sees Bond brutally tortured.
The rest is more of a love story, but still provides valuable insight into the Bond character. The physical book is well put together, I might add.
I prefer the modernized look and design to the rather suggestive covers normally used on Bond novels in the past. The burgeoning legend of James Bond begins here.
From such humble origins With all the feel of a pulp novel you might find on the shelf of a bookseller and then tell your friends about for decades with no expectation they will have heard of the work, some secret gem you cherish nonetheless, that draws you back time and again, Ian Fleming's premiere James Bond novel sneaks up on you.
Fleming allows you to feel without forcing. Inviting you into Bond's world, and Bond's life, Bond's mind and most secret heart.
James Bond is a flawed man. A very real man. He has one superpower - that he has never had to admit the possibility of failure.
Fleming provides texture to the world. But writes with a sparsity that focuses the reader to follow the threads of plot through the characters. His work can be taken together as one whole, or Casino Royale may be taken alone as one singly important work perfectly capable of standing on its own.
Either way, it's easy to envision Fleming's work uncovered in some future circumstance to stand as our generation's Gilgamesh or Beowulf.
The work is fulfilling. The feeling at conclusion that this was a ride worth taking. There are two versions of this book for kindle, a 63 page version and a page version.
The 63 page version does not say that it is abridged. It claims to be just "Casino Royale" by Ian Fleming. The 63 page version is also a bad scan job riddled with typos.
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