Deep Thoughts…by James Bond

Bond and Vesper have arrived at their reward…a getaway for a week together at a lonely seaside inn. Bond is eager to start his “fun” with Vesper, embracing and kissing her passionately as soon as they walk into their room. At first, she responds, but then ends up pushing him away, and Bond apologizes, and they sit on the bed, staring at each other hungrily.

She leant over and kissed him on the corner of the mouth, then she brushed the black comma of hair back from his damp forehead.
‘My darling.’ she said. Give me a cigarette. I don’t know where my bag is.’
She looked vaguely around the room.
Bond lit one for her and put it between her lips. She took a deep lungful of smoke and let it pour out through her mouth with a slow sigh.
Bond put his arm round her, but she got up and walked over to the window.
She stood there with her back to him.

Bond makes another effort to get close to her, and she tells him “not now”. He believes she is crying, but isn’t sure. He takes the hint and goes out to the beach for a swim. On the way we learn another tidbit about his personal habits. He had always slept nude until the end of the war when he came across “the perfect compromise” – a pyjama-coat. This article of clothing will be mentioned again in future adventures. While he is walking to the beach, he passes under their window, and doesn’t look up to see if she is still standing there. Given her strange behavior just a few minutes ago, as well as earlier this afternoon, while they were driving out, (from the previous chapter), you would figure Bond might catch on that something was up. He doesn’t seem to. At this point, Fleming clearly doesn’t know what to do with Bond. Did he envision a series of Bond adventures? Was he thinking that this was a one book character? Should he marry off Bond, which would essentially end his secret agent career, or should he keep him free?

Bond takes a long swim about a mile down the beach, and then dries off by lying in the sun. He’s thinking about Vesper. He admits to himself that he is confused about his feelings, and doesn’t like it. At the beginning, he figured he could just have this week with her, maybe see her a couple times back in England, and then have the “inevitable disengagement”. But he realizes that she has snuck up on him, and he has deeper feelings for her. He enjoys her “easy and unexacting” companionship. He does recognize that there is a part of her from which is, and always will be, shut out. He also reflects on what she’d be like in bed. Keep in mind, he has not slept with her yet. (What, we’re almost at the end of the book, and Bond hasn’t slept with a woman yet? This isn’t the movies…) While he’s thinking about her in bed, there are some rather disturbing thoughts coming across this mind.

If you’re offended easily, you might wish to skip this passage. It’s not politically correct, not now or then.

And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape. Loving her physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without the anticlimax of arrival. She would surrender herself avidly, he thought, and greedily enjoy all the intimacies of the bed without over allowing herself to be possessed.

Wow. “sweet tang of rape”? What type of statement is that? It’s very offensive now, but consider it in the context of 1953. I’m surprised it made it past the editor. The roles of men and women then were obviously different then they were now. Men were more dominant. It doesn’t explain the passage, but I’m sure there is an explanation other than the fact that Fleming was a sexist pig. That’s putting it mildly.

After thinking about all of this, Bond heads back to the hotel. However, the chapter ends with an intriguing line:

“At that moment his mind was mind up.”

Tender Loving Care

The day after the talk with Mathis, Bond decides that he wants to finally see Vesper. He had been putting it off, even though she had been persistently inquiring of him, even sending him flowers, which Bond asked the nurse to take to other patients. He doesn’t want the sympathy, the insinuation of weakness that come with flowers in the hospital. He is also worried about having to question Vesper about her actions in the case, he knows she could be in danger of losing her job. Most of all, Bond is worried about his injuries and their affect on his “abilities”.

The Doctor has assured him that no permanent damage was done, that Bond will recover fully, but he holds of on seeing Vesper, just in case. He finally agrees to let her in, and she looks terrific. She’s described as wearing a “cream tussore frock with a black belt.” That’s a fairly tight fitted dress with a square cut front cleavage. Bond expected her to “look pale and even ill”, but she has instead been bathing at the beach each day and is bronzed and beautiful. After she tells him about her days, Bond makes a cold remark about his injuries, a remark which causes Vesper to cry and blame herself…the type of scene that Bond despises. However, the tears have an affect on him.

Bond looked at her tenderly. Like all harsh, cold men, he was easily tipped over into sentiment. She was very beautiful and he felt warm towards her. He decided to make his questions as easy as possible.

Bond is going to let her off the hook for her performance on the job. They go over the events of the night of their capture, how she was lured outside and kidnapped, how she was not touched or messed about while being held captive. Back at the villa, she was simply tied in a chair, passed out. She does recall a horrible scream, and Bond says it must’ve have been him. She cries again. Again, Bond responds kindly, comforting her, telling her “anyone could have fallen for that note” when he knows better, and trying to cheer her up. It again causes a reaction. She says she’ll try to make it up to him somehow.

Somehow? Thought Bond to himself. He looked at her. She was smiling at him. He smiled back.
‘You’d better look out,’ he said. ‘I may hold you to that.’
She looked into his eyes and said nothing, but the enigmatic challenge was back. She pressed his hand and rose. ‘A promise is a promise,’ she said.
This time they both knew what the promise was.

The chapter ends with that expectation of more.

Bond makes a rapid recovery. He makes out his report, making the kidnapping of Vesper “sound much more Machiavellian than it had been.” (Machiavellian has a meaning of cunning, deceptive, deceitful) It appears he is developing serious feelings for Vesper. He runs through the usual pattern of relationships in his life, which inevitably seem to end with a “final angry farewell on some doorstep in the rain.” He shuns these mise en scene (setting in scene) for each of these acts in the play. This isn’t going to happen with Vesper. He observes that “In their talk there was nothing but companionship with a distant undertone of passion.” As the days go by, Bond is given more and more freedom from the hospital until the day comes when the Doctor releases him.

It’s been three weeks to the day since his brutal beating, and it is now July. Bond and Vesper head out for a week together at a surprise destination that she has picked out. On the way they check out the location at which Bond’s car crashed on the shore road, and then continue on. But then,”Their drive was spoiled by a curious incident”. Vesper suddenly fears they are being followed. There is a car behind them, but Bond doesn’t take the idea all that seriously. However, he does agree to allow them to pull the car over and let the other driver past. They pull behind a hedge, over which is a brightly painted sign that says “L’Auberge de Fruit Defendu, crustaces, fritures”. (The Inn of the Forbidden Fruit, seafood, fried fish” The sign appears to catch the eye of the drive, but Vesper is convinced that he was looking directly at them. Finally Bond calms her down, and they head on to their destination. They meet the proprietor and his wife, who promise to take the best possible care of them. They would be having broiled lobsters with melted butter for dinner. Bond is looking forward to spending a week by the seaside in this inn with Vesper. It seems happy times are ahead.

Villains and Heroes

While James Bond’s body recovers from his brutal torture, his mind is sharp and at work in the next chapter of Casino Royale. Mathis is in his room, and they’re talking about Bond’s rescuer, and how he managed to cross the iron curtain and get into France. Then they discuss the mark that the killer left on Bond. It has the appearance of “a square M with a tail to the top”. Bond explains:

Well, I only got a glimpse before I passed out, but I’ve seen the cuts several times while they were being dressed and I’m pretty certain they are the Russian letter for SH. It’s rather like an inverted M with a tail. That would make sense; SMERSH is short for SMYERT SHPIONAM – Death to Spies – and he thinks he’s labelled me as a SHPION.

Bond next drops a bombshell. He declares that he intends to resign once he gets back to London. He explains that he likes being alive, and Le Chiffre’s phrase about “playing Red Indians” has stuck in his head. He says that as you get older, it’s more difficult to pick out the villains and heroes. He outlines the two times that he has had to kill in the line of duty to this point of his career. The first time took place on the 40th floor of the RCA building in Rockefeller Center. (pictured to the right) Bond was part of a two man team that killed a Japanese cipher expert. They got a room across the street from the building, and the first man shot a hole in the thick glass of the RCA building, and Bond shot through that hole, killing the cipher expert. The second time wasn’t so clean, Bond killed a Norwegian double agent with a knife, and adds that the man “didn’t die very quickly”. These are glimpses into Bond that help us define the character. Because of these missions, he is awarded a Double O number by the Secret Service.

Bond starts talking about how the villains and heroes are mixed up. Is Bond a hero or a villain? What about Le Chiffre? He goes on a bit of a modern sounding rant.

‘Of course,’ he added, as Mathis started to expostulate, ‘patriotism comes along and makes it seem fairly all right, but this country-right-or-wrong business is getting a little out-of-date. Today we are fighting Communism. Okay. If I’d been alive fifty years ago, the brand of Conservatism we have today would have been damn near called Communism and we should have been told to go and fight that. History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.’

As I said, this is very modern from Ian Fleming. A full 15 years before Vietnam, and Bond, or more accurately, Fleming is saying that this “country-right-or-wrong business is getting a little out-of-date”. He’s got Bond questioning his country before even the hippies were challenging Vietnam in the late 1960’s. After this Mathis jokingly wonders if Le Chiffre had been battering his “head instead of” his …’

After a few minutes Mathis has a reply of his own, noting that “Englishmen are so odd.” He compares them to a nest of Chinese boxes. He indulges Bond and asks him to continue, joking that “There may be something I can use to my own chief the next time I want to get out of an unpleasant job.” Bond goes on further to show sympathy for the Devil in relation to God. He says he likes to be on the side of the underdog, which he paints the Devil as, noting there is no book of evil, no ten commandments of evil, “no team of authors to write his biography.” He then connects Le Chiffre to the situation by asserting that the Russian served the noble purpose of “creating a norm of badness by which, and by which alone, an opposite norm of goodness could exist.”

The conversation goes back and forth for the rest of the chapter, with Mathis mostly laughing at Bond, knowing that he will not actually resign. He knows that Bond will continue to hunt the evil men of the world, to protect himself and he people he loves. He tells Bond:

‘Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James. They are easier to fight for than principles.’
He laughed. ‘But don\’t let me down and become human yourself. We would lose such a wonderful machine’

And with that, before Bond can reply, he is out the door.

Note: This report indicates that the upcoming movie Casino Royale will be an “updated but faithful” adaptation of the Ian Fleming novel that is being reviewed on this very site.

Recovery Begins

You are about to awake when you dream that you are dreaming.

This is a phrase that has been stuck in my head for many years. Now, re-reading Casino Royale, I am reminded once again that this is where I came across that theory. I wonder if it is true, or what cause Fleming to make this observation.

Bond is unconscious as the chapter begins, and has been so for about two days. He finally comes to, and the first sight he sees, is of course a beautiful woman. A nurse who, along with another has been brought in from England to look after him.

Soon thereafter, the Doctor and Mathis make an appearance in the room. The Doctor explains what happened, and Fleming uses this vehicle to fill us in on exactly what happened to bring about Bond\’s rescue from the torture. The Doctor asks Bond how long he was maltreated.

‘About an hour,’ said Bond
‘Then it is remarkable that you are alive and a congratulate you. Few men could have supported what you have been through. Perhaps that is some consolation. As Monsieur Mathis can tell you, I have had in my time to treat a number of patients who have suffered similar handling and not one has come through it as you have done.’

The Doctor leaves the room, and Mathis reveals that M has called him personally to relay to Bond that he is “much impressed”. This warms Bond, as he knows it is very unlike M to make a communication of this sort, as most people do not even know that M exists. The message is also given that Vesper’s boss, the Head of S has given her strict instructions to look after Bond.

Mathis then conducts a mini de-briefing of Bond, attempting to find out a few things, like who killed Le Chiffre. He also wishes to know where Bond hid the cheque in his room. They’ve searched the room, and it isn’t there.

‘It is.’ he said, ‘more or less. On the door of each room there is a small square of black plastic with the number of the room on it. One the corridor side, of course. When Leiter left me that night, I simply opened the door and unscrewed my number plate and put the folded cheque underneath it and screwed the plate back. It’ll still be there.’ He smiled. ‘I’m glad there’s something the stupid English can teach the clever French.’

Soon after this, Bond is exhausted and Mathis is hustled out of the room. Bond falls into a “troubled” sleep thinking of Vesper.


We last left poor James in the brutally capable hands of Le Chiffre, where apparently he was apparently about to find himself castrated. Bond has been reminded that there is no one to rescue him, no way for him to escape from his present predicament.

With Bond on the edge of consciousness, there suddenly is a dramatic change in circumstances. He hears a third voice in the room. The voice uses a modicum of words. “Shtop” it says quietly. Then “Dhrop it”. The knife falls from Le Chiffre’s grip, and he knows exactly who is speaking to him.


The word came almost with a sigh. It came with a downward cadence as if nothing else had to be said. It was the final explanation. The last word of all.

Yes, Le Chiffre’s employers have caught up with him at last. Bond struggles to remain conscious, he cannot see the third voice, only the bulging, sweating face of his torturer. After an abrupt trial — “Do you plead guilty” — “Yes”, there is a “sharp phut” and Le Chiffre is dead.

The hooded assassin steps behind Bond and speaks:

‘You are fortunate,’ said the voice. ‘I have no orders to kill you. Your life has been saved twice in one day. But you can tell your organization that SMERSH is only merciful by chance or by mistake. In your case you were saved first by chance and now by mistake, for I should have had orders to kill any foreign spies who were hanging round this traitor like flies round a dog’s mess.

Instead of killing Bond, the killer instead brands the back of Bond’s hand with an inverted ‘M’ – to mark him as a spy should he happen to be at a card table with a member of SMERSH in the future. The pain pushes Bond into unconsciousness, and he is out…presumably for the rest of the day. The chapter ends with Fleming’s description of the silent room for the remainder of the day. It’s a chilling scene, and one that might require a couple reads to fully grasp what Fleming is describing.

In the silence, the cheerful small sounds of the summer’s day crept through the closed window. High on the left-hand wall hung two small patches of pink light. They were reflections cast upwards from the floor by the zebra stripes of June sunshine, cast upwards from two separate pools of blood a few feet apart.

As the day progressed the pink patches marched slowly along the wall. And slowly they grew larger.

Re-read that. How does Fleming come up with that description? You have terms like “cheerful”, “reflections”, “June sunshine”, and “pink”…terms that most people would associate in a warm, positive tone, yet the scene is decidedly anything but. It’s chilling. I haven’t read any author that has the descriptive skills of Ian Fleming. It’s an experience, even if you already read the book a dozen times.

Say good-bye to it, Bond.

So here we are. Bond has been captured by Le Chiffre and his henchmen. He is taken to the villa. Fleming paints the word picture of the room in which Bond is taken, describing it as “sparsely furnished in cheap French art nouveau style. It’s clearly Fleming and not Bond making these observations, as Bond has other things on his mind. Such as what the villains have in mind for him.

He doesn’t have long to wait. He is told to strip naked, and after a brief, puny show of resistance, he does as he is told. Le Chiffre orders the round cane seat cut out of a chair in the room and Bond is securely strapped to the chair. Le Chiffre is seated opposite him, sipping coffee, but holding a carpet beater in his hand.

He looked Bond carefully, almost caressingly, in the eyes. Then his wrists sprang suddenly upwards on his knee.

The result was startling.

Bond’s whole body arched in an involuntary spasm. His face contracted in a soundless scream and his lips drew right away from his teeth. At the same time his head flew back with a jerk showing the taut sinews of his neck. For an instant, muscles stood out in knots all over his body and his toes and fingers clenched until they were quite white. Then his body sagged and perspiration started to bead all over his body. He uttered a deep groan.

How do you feel reading that? Again, this is not the James Bond of the Roger Moore movies that perhaps you grew up watching. This is the kind of stuff that had critics accusing Fleming of sadism. I rather doubt this scene will appear in the upcoming movie Casino Royale, but who knows? (Edit: It did.)

Once Bond’s body has calmed somewhat and his eyes open, Le Chiffre begins the interrogation to find out where Bond has stashed the cashier’s cheque from the casino. The game seems ages ago. He addresses Bond as “My dear boy” in a very condescending tone. He tells him the game of “Red Indians” is over, and that

You are not equipped my dear boy, to play games with adults and it was very foolish of your nanny in London to have sent you out here with your spade and bucket.

This taunt may only serve to steel Bond’s determination, which is perhaps what Le Chiffre wants, as he appears to be enjoying this moment very much. He asks Bond directly where the money is and Bond glares at him. Le Chiffre employs the carpet beater again and again, informing Bond that “There is no one to stage a last-minute rescue”. Bond focuses on what he knows about torture, that the beginning is the worst, and hoping to black out. He remembers something.

He had been told by colleagues who had survived torture by the Germans and the Japanese that towards the end there came a wonderful period of warmth and languor leading into a sort of sexual twilight where pain turned to the pleasure and where hatred and fear of the torturers turned to a masochistic infatuation.

Sadism, anyone? Bond doesn’t get to that point however, because Le Chiffre knows enough to pause and allow for Bond to slightly recover before the next assault. Bond is informed that his room has been searched and though they find many interesting things in “childish hiding places”, they did not find the cheque. So the torture goes on. Finally Bond asks for a drink so he can speak and has coffee poured into him. He weakly attempts to dissuade Le Chiffre by saying the money will be traced to him. Le Chiffre cheerfully explains how they have that all covered, and the beating continues. He even suggests that he is curious to see how long a man can stand this treatment. Finally he angrily beats at Bond until he passes out. Time goes by. When Bond comes to, Le Chiffre says that the beating is over. Bond has not given him the information he requires. He reaches toward the knife on the table, and the chapter ends with chilling words.

“Say good-bye to it, Bond.”

The crawling of the skin…

We’re now into chapter 15. Bond’s worst fears have come true. Vesper has fallen into a trap, gotten herself captured and jeopardized the operation. Bond leaps into his car, and heads along the shore road in the direction in which he thinks that the captors (Le Chiffre & Company) must’ve taken here. While driving, Bond is boiling at Vesper.

These blithering women who thought they could do a man’s work. Why the hell couldn’t they stay at home and mind their pots and pans and stick to their frocks and gossip and leave men’s work to the men.

We are in 1953 after all. Bond knows what the situation is. Vesper is being held ransom for the cheque for 40 million francs. Bond is determined not to pay. He’ll chase them down, shoot it out, but will never give. He rapidly gains ground on the car, a Citroen.

(pictured) However, it appears this is part of the plan. The Citroen, driving by Le Chiffre, sudden drops out of its trunk “a small carpet of glinting steel spikes”. Bond’s tires are chewed up instantly and he loses control of the car. He crashes into a ditch alongside the road and loses consciousness. Le Chiffre’s men come and cut him out of the car and bind him securely. They toss him onto floor of the backseat of the Citroen. Bond realizes that he’s in trouble. He muses that while the wreck of his car will likely be found quickly, that it will take hours to trace it back to him. Again, a reminder that we’re in the 1950’s here. Today a car can almost be traced right when it is found with the technology and equipment in use.

Bond is not alone in the back seat of the car. Vesper is there, though it might be tough to recognize her under the circumstances.

His first reaction was that of scorn. Damn fool girl getting herself trussed up like a chicken, having her skirt pulled over her head as if the whole of this business was some kind of dormitory rag. But then he felt sorry for her. Her naked legs looked so childlike and defenceless.

Bond tries to softly call to her, but is backhanded over the heart by the thin man, and is doubled over in pain. He realizes he is utterly under their control. The car moves along and Bond encounters a new sensation — fear. When they arrive at their destination…Le Chiffre’s villa, Bond attempts to weakly strike back at his captors and is easily rebuffed. He again realizes how “utterly and absolutely in their power” he is.

Casino Royale for Bond 21?

OK, I need to start posting in here again.

I’ll start with a simple entry.

Search on for Next Bond to Star in ‘Casino Royale’

New Bond Gets ‘Royale’ Treatment

The latter article says:

The 21st James Bond film has a title: “Casino Royale,” which also was the title of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, published in 1953.

The novel was adapted into a 1954 television show and Columbia Pictures’ unofficial 1967 spy spoof “Casino Royale,” which starred Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and David Niven. In 1999, MGM acquired the title and rights in a settlement with Columbia’s Sony Pictures parent. MGM is now in the process of being acquired by a Sony-led investor group.

Martin Campbell, who directed the 1995 Bond film “GoldenEye,” is on board to return to the helm. No decision has been made yet regarding casting for the role of James Bond, which has been played since “GoldenEye” by Pierce Brosnan.

If the movie is even somewhat faithful to the story we’ve been analyzing here, it will be a great movie! Of course, they will be adding plenty of gratuitous machine gun sequences, but hopefully the overall plot of the novel will be preserved.

I hope to have another installment of the Casino Royale novel on here soon…

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…

The Deadly Tube

Chapter twelve is entitled “The deadly tube”. An interesting title for a chapter, and the reader is left wondering what it could possibly refer to. Bond has just lost all of his funds on two bets. He mentally starts preparing to face first Felix and Vesper, and later on, M. Suddenly, Bond is handed an envelope, the contents? 32 Million francs…enough for the next bet. It’s from Leiter, courtesy of his government, the USA. Bond is suddenly revitalized. He doesn’t know how much more, if any Le Chiffre needs to make. But at last, Le Chiffre nods, and the game resumes. We’re told (again, Bond doesn’t know this) that the Russian needs another eight million francs. The bank for this round is the 32 million francs, but Le Chiffre is certainly confident that no one is going to be able to match that entire amount. He hopes to get 10 or 15 million at most, make what he needs and get out of there. As the attendant announces the amount of the next bank, Bond says quietly “Suivi” and accepts the bet.

The officials around the table need to ensure that Bond has the money to cover the bet. After they do so, Bond notices Le Chiffre make eye contact with a man behind Bond. Then he feels something press into the base of his spine, and a voice says:

This is a gun, monsieur. It is absolutely silent. It can blow the base of your spine off without a sound. You will appear to have fainted. I shall be gone. Withdraw your bet before I count ten. If you call for help, I shall fire.

It is a walking stick that Bond noticed a man using in the casino earlier in the evening. Bond noted at the time that the man must’ve obtained a special permit to carry it into the casino.

As the man begins counting to ten, Bond looks around. No one is paying attention to him, least of all Leiter, Vesper, nor the men belonging to Mathis. Bond is furious. He has to figure this out himself.

As the count continues, Bond suddenly grips the edge of the table and throws himself back, knocking over the chair, and landing on top of the walking stick. The man is gone. Bond pretends that he has involuntarily fainted from the excitement of the moment, is giving attention, and arranges for the stick…or tube…to be given to Leiter.

A new chair was brought, and he sat down. He looked across at Le Chiffre. Through his relief at being alive, he felt a moment of triumph at what he saw – some fear in the fat, pale face.

Play continues in the next chapter, with Bond feeling a rush at having escaped his situation and his heart soars at the prospect of the the next round. It is now two o’clock in the morning. The hand is dealt. Bond’s initial two cards are terrible…they total zero…as bad as can be. Le Chiffre’s aren’t much better. He gets a three. The object is to get to nine. Bond gets another card…a nine! But he holds his emotions in check, keeping his “poker face” intact. (Or would it be a baccarat face?) Le Chiffre gets a total of eight, and he and the rest of the table believe he is the winner. Fleming lets them all sweat it out until Bond tips his nine…stunning all.

In the buzz, “a half a bottle of clicquot and a glass had materialized” next to Bond, who drinks down a glass quickly . Clicquot is very fine French Champagne, something I had always wondered about. There is one last hand to be played…for the last of Le Chiffre’s fund, and it is an anticlimactic moment, as Bond wins easily. 70 Million francs in all. He returns 32 million of it to Leiter, and is congratulated by the staff and by Leiter. The two of them talk for a few moments and Bond secretly hopes he can be alone with Vesper. He makes arrangements to meet her in a few moments, and goes with Leiter back to his room. It’s safe. Leiter then leaves. Bond turns his mind elsewhere.

He gazed for a moment into the mirror and wondered about Vesper’s morals. He wanted her cold and arrogant body. He wanted to see tears and desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of her black hair in his hands and bend her long body back under his. Bond’s eyes narrowed and his face in the mirror looked back at him with hunger.

A pretty cold customer this James Bond character created by Fleming is, isn’t he? Not exactly Roger Moore, is it?

We’re told that Bond uses a screwdriver to put the folded up cheque of his winnings safely away somewhere. We’re not told exactly where. That will be important later.