2016年07月


I could not but admire, even at such a moment, the way in which a dominant spirit asserted itself. In all our hunting parties and adventures in different parts of the world, Quincey Morris had always been the one to arrange the plan of action, and Arthur and I had been accustomed to obey him implicitly. Now, the old habit seemed to be renewed instinctively. With a swift glance around the room, he at once laid out our plan of attack, and, without speaking a word, with a gesture, placed us each in position. Van Helsing, Harker, and I were just behind the door , so that when it was opened the Professor could guard it whilst we two stepped between the incomer and the door. Godalming behind and Quincey in front stood just out of sight ready to move in front of the window. We waited in a suspense that made the seconds pass with nightmare slowness. The slow, careful steps came along the hall; the Count was evidently prepared for some surprise—at least he feared it.

Suddenly with a single bound he leaped into the room, winning a way past us before any of us could raise a hand to stay him. -like in the movement—something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming. The first to act was Harker, who, with a quick movement, threw himself before the door leading into the room in the front of the house. As the Count saw us, a horrible sort of snarl passed over his face, showing the eye-teeth long and pointed; but the evil smile as quickly passed into a cold stare of lion-like disdain. His expression again changed as, with a single impulse, we all advanced upon him. It was a pity that we had not some better organised plan of attack, for even at the moment I wondered what we were to do. I did not myself know whether our lethal weapons would avail us anything . Harker evidently meant to try the matter, for he had ready his great Kukri knife and made a fierce and sudden cut at him. The blow was a powerful one; only the diabolical quickness of the Count’s leap back saved him.

A second less and the trenchant blade had shorne through his heart. As it was, the point just cut the cloth of his coat, making a wide gap whence a bundle of bank-notes and a stream of gold fell out. The expression of the Count’s face was so hellish, that for a moment I feared for Harker, though I saw him throw the terrible knife aloft again for another stroke. Instinctively I moved forward with a protective impulse, holding the Crucifix and Wafer in my left hand. I felt a mighty power fly along my arm; and it was without surprise that I saw the monster cower back before a similar movement made spontaneously by each one of us. It would be impossible to describe the expression of hate and baffled malignity—of anger and hellish rage—which came over the Count’s face.

His waxen hue became greenish-yellow by the contrast of his burning eyes, and the red scar on the forehead showed on the pallid skin like a palpitating wound. The next instant, with a sinuous dive he swept under Harker’s arm, ere his blow could fall, and, grasping a handful of the money from the floor, dashed across the room, threw himself at the window. Amid the crash and glitter of the falling glass, he tumbled into the flagged area below. Through the sound of the shivering glass I could hear the “ting” of the gold, as some of the sovereigns fell on the flagging .


Kono stopped talking. The clock uttered a deep iron tick.
It ticked nine times more. Bond looked up at the black-and-white clockwork face. It said 11.14. A deep, angry grumble sounded from deep down beneath him. It was followed by a hard buffet of very hot breath. Bond got to his feet and walked slowly away from the stinking stone vent until he reached the area of the floor that was not wet with mud. . The grumble had become a far-away roar. The roar became a deep howl that swelled up into the room like an express train coming out of a tunnel. Then there was a mighty explosion and a solid jet of grey mud shot like a gleaming grey piston out of the hole Bond had just left and exactly penetrated the wide aperture in the ceiling.
The jet continued, absolutely solid, for perhaps half a second, and searing heat filled the room so that Bond had to wipe the sweat from his forehead. Then the grey pillar collapsed back into the hole and mud pattered on to the roof of the place and splashed down into the room in great steaming gobbets. A deep bubbling and burping came up the pipe and the room steamed. The stench of sulphur was sickening. In the total silence that followed, the tick of the clock to 11.16 was as loud as a gong-stroke.

Bond turned and faced the couple under the clock. He said cheerfully, 'Well, Blofeld, you mad bastard Neo skin lab Derma 21. I'll admit that your effects man down below knows his stuff. Now bting on the twelve she-devils and if they're all as beautiful as Fraulein Bunt, we'll get Noel Coward to put it to music and have it on Broadway by Christmas. How about it?'

Blofeld turned to Irma Bunt. 'My dear girl, you were right! It is indeed the same Britischer. Remind me to buy you another string of the excellent Mr Mikimoto's grey pearls. And now let us be finished with this man once and for all. It is beyond our bedtime.'

'Yes indeed, lieber Ernst. But first he must speak.'
'Of course, Irmchen. But that can be quickly done. We have already broken his first reserves. The second line of defence will be routine. Come!'

Back up the stone passage! Back into the library! Irma Bunt back to her petit point, Blofeld back to his stance by the mantelpiece, his hand resting lightly on the boss of his great sword. It was just as if they had returned after taking part in some gracious after-dinner entertainment: a game of billiards, a look at the stamp albums, a dull quarter of an hour with the home movies. Bond decided: to hell with the Fukuoka miner !

↑このページのトップヘ