James Bond Anthology

James Bond Anthology by Ian Fleming

Book: James Bond Anthology by Ian Fleming Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ian Fleming
the effusive thanks and asked the croupier to have his winnings carried to the caisse. The other players were leaving their seats. With no banker, there could be no game, and by now it was half past two. He exchanged some pleasant words with his neighbours to right and left and then ducked under the rail to where Vesper and Felix Leiter were waiting for him.
    Together they walked over to the caisse. Bond was invited to come into the private office of the Casino directors. On the desk lay his huge pile of chips. He added the contents of his pockets to it.
    In all there was over seventy million francs.
    Bond took Felix Leiter’s money in notes and took a cheque to cash on the Crédit Lyonnais for the remaining forty-odd million. He was congratulated warmly on his winnings. The directors hoped that he would be playing again that evening.
    Bond gave an evasive reply. He walked over to the bar and handed Leiter’s money to him. For a few minutes they discussed the game over a bottle of champagne. Leiter took a .45 bullet out of his pocket and placed it on the table.
    ‘I gave the gun to Mathis,’ he said. ‘He’s taken it away. He was as puzzled as we were by the spill you took. He was standing at the back of the crowd with one of his men when it happened. The gunman got away without difficulty. You can imagine how they kicked themselves when they saw the gun. Mathis gave me this bullet to show you what you escaped. The nose has been cut with a dum-dum cross. You’d have been in a terrible mess. But they can’t tie it on to Le Chiffre. The man came in alone. They’ve got the form he filled up to get his entrance card. Of course, it’ll all be phony. He got permission to bring the stick in with him. He had a certificate for a war-wound pension. These people certainly get themselves well organized. They’ve got his prints and they’re on the Belinograph to Paris, so we may hear more about him in the morning.’ Felix Leiter tapped out another cigarette. ‘Anyway, all’s well that ends well. You certainly took Le Chiffre for a ride at the end, though we had some bad moments. I expect you did too.’
    Bond smiled. ‘That envelope was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. I thought I was really finished. It wasn’t at all a pleasant feeling. Talk about a friend in need. One day I’ll try and return the compliment.’
    He rose. ‘I’ll just go over to the hotel and put this away,’ he said, tapping his pocket. ‘I don’t like wandering around with Le Chiffre’s death warrant on me. He might get ideas. Then I’d like to celebrate a bit. What do you think?’
    He turned to Vesper. She had hardly said a word since the end of the game.
    ‘Shall we have a glass of champagne in the night club before we go to bed? It’s called the Roi Galant. You get to it through the public rooms. It looks quite cheerful.’
    ‘I think I’d love to,’ said Vesper. ‘I’ll tidy up while you put your winnings away. I’ll meet you in the entrance hall.’
    ‘What about you, Felix?’ Bond hoped he could be alone with Vesper.
    Leiter looked at him and read his mind.
    ‘I’d rather take a little rest before breakfast,’ he said. ‘It’s been quite a day and I expect Paris will want me to do a bit of mopping-up tomorrow. There are several loose ends you won’t have to worry about. I shall. I’ll walk over to the hotel with you. Might as well convoy the treasure ship right into port.’
    They strolled over through the shadows cast by the full moon. Both had their hands on their guns. It was three o’clock in the morning, but there were several people about and the courtyard of the Casino was still lined with motor-cars.
    The short walk was uneventful.
    At the hotel, Leiter insisted on accompanying Bond to his room. It was as Bond had left it six hours before.
    ‘No reception committee,’ observed Leiter, ‘but I wouldn’t put it past them to try a last throw. Do you think I ought to stay up and keep you two

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