Back on Track…
OK, it’s been a couple of weeks since the last update…it’s been a busy time here.
We now move into chapter 14. Bond has defeated Le Chiffre and it’s time to enjoy the spoils of victory. Bond and Vesper head to the Roi Galant night-club, the entrance of which is actually a seven foot golden picture frame. A detail I had missed in earlier readings. Bond is still energized from his victory, and resists an urge to play the maximums at the nearest table. He reflects that this would be a brash and cheap gesture pour epater la bourgeoisie. (To impress the middle-class)
Fleming’s use of French phrases here and there is sometimes curious. I wonder if he just liked how certain things sounded in a different tongue, or if he’s trying to impress the reader with exotic sounding words. I don’t think a casual reader would be familiar with the phrase from the paragraph above. In the next paragraph, he refers to the “chairs and banquettes” in the night-club. The latter phrase simply refers to the benches, or wall seats. There is seduction in the air, and the couple is given a corner table. In such a glamorous and sophisticated setting, Bond gives what might seem a curious order to the waiter. Champagne and scrambled eggs and bacon.
Scrambled eggs were a favorite of Fleming, he was known to eat them with great appetite. They had to be cooked a certain way, just as the drinks were to be prepared a certain way. After placing the order Bond tries to warm things up with Vesper. Remember, he had been cold to her earlier when she had tried to suggest that it would be nice for the two of them to have been there without the job. But now the job is finished, and Bond wants to have that intimacy. Vesper though, is distant.
Between the thumb and first two fingers of her right hand, she held one of Bond’s cigarettes, as an artist holds a crayon, and though she smoked with composure, she tapped the cigarette occasionally into an ash-tray when the cigarette had no ash.
Bond is initially patient with her, but grows frustrated. Suddenly Vesper is called away from the table, to get a message for Bond from Mathis. She goes to collect it, and while she is gone, Bond becomes suspicious. He gets up and goes out to the hallway to find Vesper gone. She’s been snatched. Bond finds her handbag and the note inside it which led her out to the hallway.
Next, the REAL action of the novel begins…