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- One of them took out a long knife and cut some of the fabric away from the side of the convertible hood and took hold of Bond’s shoulders.
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He had heard the exhaust penetrate beyond the town, and a little dust still hung on the bends. He hoped soon to see the distant shaft of its headlights. Only out at sea there must be a light summer mist for at intervals he could hear the fog-horns lowing like iron cattle down the coast. Bond waved him aside and started down the steps, his eyes staring into the shadows, the night air cold on his sweating temples. He got to the entrance and looked along the steps to left and right down and amongst the few remaining cars. He hurried through the gaming-room and looked carefully up and down the long entrance hall. There were only one or two officials and two or three men and women in evening clothes getting their things at the vestiaire. He hastily paid the bill, not waiting for the change. He pushed back his table and walked quickly through the entrance without acknowledging the good-nights of the maître d’hôtel and the doorman. 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. At four o’clock Bond was about to call for the bill when the maître d’hôtel appeared at their table and inquired for Miss Lynd. He handed her a note which she took and read hastily. He turned away and took out his pocket the cheque for forty million francs. Then he opened the door and looked up and down the corridor. He left the door wide open and with his ears cocked for footsteps or the sound of the lift, he set to work with a small screwdriver. At the hotel, Leiter insisted on accompanying Bond to his room. They strolled over through the shadows cast by the full moon. It was three o’clock in the morning, but there were several people about and the courtyard of the Casino was still lined with motorcars. As the huge stack of plaques was shunted across the table to Bond the banker reached into an inner pocket of his jacket and threw a wad of notes on to the table. The big man fell back in his chair as if slugged above the heart.
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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. 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. The Greek, after taking a third card, could achieve no better than a four to the bank’s seven.
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