The Count was off-hand. 'They suffer from allergies, Sir Hilary. Crippling allergies. In the agricultural field. They are country girls and their disabilities affect the possibility of their employment. I have devised a cure for such symptoms. I am glad to say that the signs are propitious. We are making much progress together.' The telephone by his side buzzed. 'Excuse me.' The Count picked up the receiver and listened. 'Ja. Machen Sie die Verbindung.' He paused. Bond politely studied the papers he had brought along. 'Zdies de Bleuville... Da... Da... Kharascho!' He put the receiver back. 'Forgive me. That was one of my research workers. He has been purchasing some materials for the laboratories. The cable railway is closed, but they are making a special trip up for him. Brave man. He will probably be very sick, poor fellow.' The green contact lenses hid any sympathy he may have felt. The fixed smile showed none. 'And now, my dear Sir Hilary, let us get on with our work.'

Bond laid out his big sheets on the desk and proudly ran his finger down through the generations. There was excitement and satisfaction in the Count's comments and questions. 'But this is tremendous, really tremendous, my dear fellow. And you say there is mention of a broken spear or a broken sword in the arms? Now when was that granted?'

Bond rattled off a lot of stuff about the Norman Conquest. The broken sword had probably been awarded as a result of some battle. More research in London would be needed to pin the occasion down. Finally Bond rolled up the sheets and got out his notebook. 'And now we must start working back from the other end, Count.' Bond became inquisitorial, authoritative. 'We have your birth date in Gdynia, May 28th, 1908. Yes?'

'Correct.'

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'Your parents' names?'

'Ernst George Blofeld and Maria Stavro Michelopoulos.'

'Also born in Gdynia?'

'Yes.'

'Now your grandparents?'

'Ernst Stefan Blofeld and Elizabeth Lubomirskaya.'

'Hm, so the Ernst is something of a family Christian name?'

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'It would seem so. My great-grandfather, he was also Ernst.'

'That is most important. You see. Count, among the Blofelds of Augsburg there are no less than two Ernsts!'

The Count's hands had been lying on the green blotting-pad on his desk, relaxed. Now, impulsively, they joined together and briefly writhed, showing white knuckles.

My God, you've got it bad! thought Bond.

'And that is important?'

'Very. Christian names run through families. We regard them as most significant clues. Now, can you remember any farther back? You have done well. We have covered three generations. With the dates I shall later ask you for, we have already got back to around 1850. Only another fifty years to go and we shall have arrived at Augsburg.'

'No.' It was almost a cry of pain. 'My great-great-grandfather. Of him I know nothing.' The hands writhed on the blotting-paper. 'Perhaps, perhaps. If it is a question of money. People, witnesses could be found.' The hands parted, held themselves out expansively. 'My dear Sir Hilary, you and I are men of the world. We understand each other. Extracts from archives, registry offices, the churches - these things, do they have to be completely authentic?'

Got you, you old fox! Bond said affably, with a hint of conspiracy, 'I don't quite understand what you mean, Count/

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The hands were now flat on the desk again, happy hands. Blofeld had recognized one of his kind. 'You are a hardworking man, Sir Hilary. You live modestly in this remote region of Scotland. Life could perhaps be made easier for you. There are perhaps material benefits you desire - motorcars, a yacht, a pension. You have only to say the word, name a figure.' The dark-green orbs bored into Bond's modestly evasive eyes, holding them. 'Just a little co-operation. A visit here and there in Poland and Germany and France. Of course your expenses would be heavy. Let us say five hundred pounds a week. The technical matters, the documents, and so forth. Those I can arrange. It would only require your supporting evidence. Yes? The Ministry of Justice in Paris, for them the word of the College of Arms is the word of God. Is that not so?'

It was too good to be true! But how to play it? Diffidently, Bond said, 'What you are suggesting, Count, is - er - not without interest. Of course' - Bond's smile was sufficiently expansive, sufficiently bland - 'if the documents were convincing, so to speak solid, very solid, then it would be quite reasonable for me to authenticate them.' Bond put spaniel into his eyes, asking to be patted, to be told that everything would be all right, that he would be completely protected. 'You see what I mean?'

The Count began, with force, sincerity, 'You need have absolutely no...' when there was the noise of an approaching hubbub down the passage. The door burst open. A man, propelled from behind, lurched into the room and fell, writhing, to the floor.

Two of the guards came stiffly to attention behind him. They looked first at the Count and then, sideways, towards Bond, surprised to see him there.

The Count said sharply, 'Was ist derm los?'

Bond knew the answer and, momentarily, he died. Behind the snow and the blood on the face of the man on the floor, Bond recognized the face of a man he knew.

The blond hair, the nose broken boxing for the Navy, belonged to a friend of his in the Service. It was, unmistakably, Number 2 from Station Z in Zurich!

15

The Heat Increases

YES, IT was Shaun Campbell all right! Christ Almighty, what a mess! Station Z had especially been told nothing about Bond's mission. Campbell must have been following a lead of his own, probably trailing this Russian who had been 'buying supplies'. Typical of the son of balls-up that over-security can produce!

The leading guard was talking in rapid, faulty German with a Slav accent. 'He was found in the open ski compartment at the back of the gondola. Much frozen, but he put up a strong resistance. He had to be subdued. He was no doubt following Captain Boris.' The man caught himself up. 'I mean, your guest from the valley, Herr Graf. He says he is an English tourist from Zurich. That he had got no money for the fare. He wanted to pay a visit up here. He was searched. He carried five hundred Swiss francs. No identity papers.' The man shrugged. 'He says his name is Campbell.'

At the sound of his name, the man on the ground stirred. He lifted his head and looked wildly round the room. He had been badly battered about the face and head with a pistol or a cosh. His control was shot to pieces. When his eyes lit on the familiar face of Bond, he looked astonished, then, as if a lifebuoy had been thrown to him, he said hoarsely, "Thank God, James. Tell 'em it's me! Tell 'em I'm from Universal Export. In Zurich. You know! For God's sake, James! Tell 'em I'm O.K.' His head fell forward on the carpet.

The Count's head slowly turned towards Bond. The opaque green eyes caught the pale light from the window and glinted whitely. The tight, face-lifted smile was grotesquely horrible. 'You know this man, Sir Hilary?'

Bond shook his head sorrowfully. He knew he was pronouncing the death sentence on Campbell. 'Never seen him before in my life. Poor chap. He sounds a bit daft to me. Concussed, probably. Why not ship him down to a hospital in the valley? He looks in a pretty bad way.'

'And Universal Export?' The voice was silky. 'I seem to have heard that name before.'

'Well, I haven't,' said Bond indifferently. 'Never heard of it.' He reached in his pocket for his cigarettes, lit one with a dead steady hand.

The Count turned back to the guards. He said softly, 'Zur Befragungszelle.' He nodded his dismissal. The two guards bent down and hauled Campbell up by his armpits. The hanging head raised itself, gave one last terrible look of appeal a{ Bond. Then the man who was Bond's colleague was hustled out of the room and the door was closed softly behind his dragging feet.

To the interrogation cell! That could mean only one thing, under modern methods, total confession! How long would Campbell hold out for? How many hours had Bond got left?

'I have told them to take him to the sick-room. He will be well looked after.' The Count looked from the papers on his desk to Bond. 'I am afraid this unhappy intrusion has interfered with my train of thought, Sir Hilary. So .perhaps you will forgive me for this morning?'

'Of course, of course. And, regarding your proposition, that we should work a little more closely together on your interests, I can assure you, Count, that I find it most interesting.' Bond smiled conspiratorially. 'I'm sure we could come to some satisfactory arrangement.'

'Yes? That is good.' The Count linked his hands behind his head and gazed for a moment at the ceiling and then, reflectively, back at Bond. He said casually, 'I suppose you would not be connected in any way with the British Secret Service, Sir Hilary?'

Bond laughed out loud. The laugh was a reflex, forced out of him by tension.' Good God, no! Didn't even know we had one. Didn't all that sort of thing go out with the end of the war?' Bond chuckled to himself, fatuously amused. 'Can't quite see myself running about behind a false moustache. Not my line of country at all. Can't bear moustaches.'

The Count's unwavering smile did not seem to share Bond's amusement. He said coldly, 'Then please forget my question, Sir Hilary. The intrusion by this man has made me over-suspicious. I value my privacy up here, Sir Hilary. Scientific research can only be pursued in an atmosphere of peace.'

'I couldn't agree more.' Bond was effusive. He got to his feet and gathered up his papers from the desk. 'And now I must get on with my own research work. Just getting into the fourteenth century. I think I shall have some interesting data to show you tomorrow, Count.'

The Count got politely to his feet and Bond went out of the door and along the passage.

He loitered, listening for any sound. There was none, but half-way down the corridor one of the doors was ajar. A crack of blood-red light showed. Bond thought, I've probably had it anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound! He pushed the door open and stuck his head into the room. It was a long, low laboratory with a plastic-covered work-bench extending its whole length beneath the windows, which were shuttered. Dark red light, as in a film-developing chamber, came from neon strips above the cornice. The bench was littered with retorts and test-tubes, and there were line upon line of test-tubes and phials containing a cloudy liquid in racks against the far wall. Three men in white, with gauze pads over the bottoms of their faces and white surgical caps over their hair, were at work, absorbed. Bond took in the scene, a scene from a theatrical hell, withdrew his head, and walked on down the corridor and out into what was now a driving snowstorm. He pulled the top of his sweater over his head and forced his way along the path to the blessed warmth of the club-house. Then he walked quickly to his room, closed the door, and went into the bathroom and sat down on his usual throne of reflection and wondered what in God's name to do.

Could he have saved Campbell? Well, he could have had a desperate shot at it. 'Oh, yes. I know this man. Perfectly respectable chap. We used to work for the same export firm, Universal, in London. You look in pretty bad shape, old boy. What the devil happened?' But it was just as well he hadn't tried. As cover, solid cover, Universal was 'brule' with the pros. It had been in use too long. All the secret services in the world had penetrated it by now. Obviously Blofeld knew all about it. Any effort to save Campbell would simply have tied Bond in with him. There had been no alternative except to throw him to the wolves. If Campbell had a chance to get his wits back before they really started on him, he would know that Bond was there for some purpose, that his disavowal by Bond was desperately important to Bond, to the Service. How long would he have the strength to cover for Bond, retrieve his recognition of Bond? At most a few hours. But how many hours? That was the vital question. That and how long the storm would last. Bond couldn't possibly get away in this stuff. If it stopped, there might be a chance, a damned slim one, but better than the alternatives, of which, if and when Campbell talked, there was only one - death, probably a screaming death.

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