We will wrap up the novel Casino Royale in this post.
Bond and Vesper are still on their recuperation vacation following the operation in Royale. There is still some disturbing behavior going on from Vesper, but in chapter 24, she seems to get herself together for a little bit. Bond returns to his room to find his things laid out nicely and a bath drawn for him by Vesper. He tells her he wants her, and she wants lobster and tells him to get ready. They go to dinner, an elaborate one probably lasting a couple hours. During the meal they exchange excited looks and touches of their hands and feet. Vesper says that she doesn’t deserve such treatment and Bond thinks she’s going into a vin triste. (alcohol induced melancholy.) They make some jokes about people being islands, and their islands feeling close, and Bond proposes they make a peninsula.
They have their dessert and coffee and Vesper goes to her room. Bond waits a while, smoking and waiting for her light to go out. He finally goes up.
The moonlight shone through the half-closed shutters and lapped at the secret shadows in the snow of her body on the broad bed.
That’s all we get. No detailed description on the night of passion. In fact, Bond awakens in his own room. He again goes down to the beach to reflect and think. He actually sits at the bottom of the ocean for a full minute and then pops up to the surface, hoping Vesper is walking towards the beach so he can startle her. She’s not there. He then lays on the beach as he did the night before. He thinks.
After a while he rose and walked back slowly along the beach to his pyjama-coat.
That day he would ask Vesper to marry him. He was quite certain. It was only a question of choosing the right moment.
Surprised? Fleming decides to play this card and see where it goes. Bond is heading back to the room when he sees Vesper coming from a phone booth. She is startled to see him, and acts suspiciously, giving a flimsy excuse for her needing to make a secretive phone call. Bond presses the issues a little, trying to get her to tell him the truth, but she keeps trying to patch her deceit.
That was the end of the integrity of their love. The succeeding days were a shambles of falseness and hyprocrisy, mingled with her tears and moments of animal passion to which she abandoned herself with a greed made indecent by the hollowness of their days.
Each day it just gets worse. One day during lunch, a man appears, also eating lunch there, and Vesper again acts terrified. She insists it is the same man she thought was following them when they traveled out to the Inn. The man has a black patch over one eye…not taped but screwed in, like a monocle. Vesper cannot stand to be there any longer, despite Bond\’s assurances. She leaves the table under the excuse of a headache. Bond remains, hoping to observe the man and get to the bottom of the situation. He doesn’t really learn much, but gets the number plate and talks to the patron about the man. He appears to be a Swiss banker.
The next couple days are much the same. Vesper actually takes a cab into Royale under the pretense of getting some medicine. When she returns, there’s more drama.
That night she made a special effort to be gay. She drank a lot of and when they went upstairs, she led him into her bedroom and made passionate love to him. Bond’s body responded, but afterwards she cried bitterly into her pillow and Bond went to his room in grim despair.
Bond cannot sleep and hears her again going down to the phone booth. He continues to wonder what is going on. The man with the patch returns on Sunday. Bond has had him checked out by Mathis, and there is nothing really suspicious there. This is not comforting to Vesper, and Bond tells her that she need to either tell him what is going on, or that they need to leave. Bond tells her that he had planned to ask her to marry him. She is moved, and asks for some time alone. She says she’s trying to do what’s best for both of them. That evening, they have dinner and she again tries to be happy. She drinks a lot again and tells Bond to come quickly to her room as she wants him badly tonight. He goes and Bond feels all could be well again, “The barriers of self-consciousness and mistrust seemed to have vanished.” They lay in bed for a while, and then she tells Bond he must leave. Before he goes, she turns to light on because she wants to look at him. Her eyes are full of tears, and she kisses him and turns out the light.
Bond is awakened the next morning by the patron, who has a letter for Bond and tells him there has been a terrible accident. Vesper is dead. She has taken a bottle of sleeping pills. He sits down and opens the letter. After telling Bond she loves him with all her heart, she reveals that she is a double agent, working for the Russians. She was basically forced into it after her lover in the Royal Air Force was captured by them. She explains a lot such as how his arrival at Royale was known ahead of time, how the microphones got into his room, how Le Chiffre’s gunman was able to get so close to him at the casino and how she staged the kidnapping. She explains the phone calls she’s had to keep making this week. She tries to give some helpful information about her contacts and handlers. She ends again telling Bond she loves him.
Bond’s eyes get wet, but only momentarily. He goes to the telephone booth. It’s now behind him. He’s a professional, now only thinking of the mess this has made for his service, all the damage that has been done by her…this spy. He makes up his mind that he is going to hunt down and destroy SMERSH. Before that, he needs to inform headquarters. His exchange his short and these are the last lines of the book. Memorable lines, indeed.
‘This is 007 speaking. This is an open line. It’s an emergency. Can you hear me? Pass this on at once. 3030 was a double, working for Redland.
‘Yes, dammit, I said “was”. The bitch is dead now.’
I remember finding a whole set of Bond books in my great-grandfather’s garage almost 20 years ago. I found Casino Royale, as I knew it was the first book in the James Bond series. I opened the book to the last page and read those lines. I was hooked. What led to this point? I had to read the whole book. Which I did. As well as all the others I could get my hands on. Now I’m doing it again. The next book to be recapped here will be Live and Let Die. I hope you’ll join me in this adventure as well.