There was a double knock on the door. Bond got up and unlocked it. It was Quarrel, his left cheek decorated with a piratical cross of sticking-plaster. “Mornin”, cap'n. Yo said eight-tirty."
“Yes, come on in, Quarrel. We've got a busy day. Had some breakfast?”
“Yes, tank you, cap'n. Salt fish an' ackee an' a tot of rum.”
“Good God,” said Bond. “That's tough stuff to start the day on.”
“Mos” refreshin'," said Quarrel stolidly.
They sat down outside on the balcony. Bond offered Quarrel a cigarette and lit one himself. “Now then,” he said. “I'll be spending most of the day at King's House and perhaps at the Jamaica Institute. I shan't need you till tomorrow morning, but there are some things for you to do downtown. All right?”
“Okay, cap'n. Jes' yo say.”
“First of all, that car of ours is hot. We've got to get rid of it. Go down to Motta's or one of the other hire people and pick up the newest and best little self-drive car you can find, the one with the least mileage. Saloon. Take it for a month. Right? Then hunt around the waterfront and find two men who look as near as possible like us. One must be able to drive a car. Buy them both clothes, at least for their top halves, that look like ours. And the sort of hats we might wear. Say we want a car taken over to Montego tomorrow morning-by the Spanish Town, Ocho Rios road. To be left at Levy's garage there. Ring up Levy and tell him to expect it and keep it for us. Right?”
Quarrel grinned. “Yo want fox someone?”
“That's right. They'll get ten pounds each. Say I'm a rich American and I want my car to arrive in Montego Bay driven by a respectable couple of men. Make me out a bit mad. They must be here at six o'clock tomorrow morning. You'll be here with the other car. See they look the part and send them off in the Sunbeam with the roof down. Right?”
“What's happened to that house we had on the North Shore last time-Beau Desert at Morgan's Harbour? Do you know if it's let?”
“Couldn't say, cap'n. Hit's well away from de tourist places and dey askin' a big rent for it.”
“Well, go to Graham Associates and see if you can rent it for a month, or another bungalow near by. I don't mind what you pay. Say it's for a rich American, Mr James. Get the keys and pay the rent and say I'll write and confirm. I can telephone them if they want more details.” Bond reached into his hip pocket and brought out a thick wad of notes. He handed half of it to Quarrel. “Here's two hundred pounds. That should cover all this. Get in touch if you want some more. You know where I'll be.”
“Tanks, cap'n,” said Quarrel, awestruck by the big sum. He stowed it away inside his blue shirt and buttoned the shirt up to his neck. “Anyting helse?”
“No, but take a lot of trouble about not being followed. Leave the car somewhere downtown and walk to these places. And watch out particularly for any Chinese near you.” Bond got up and they went to the door. “See you tomorrow morning ajt six-fifteen and we'll get over to the North Coast. As far as I can see that's going to be our base for a while.”
Quarrel nodded. His face was enigmatic. He said “Okay, cap'n” and went off down the corridor.
Half an hour later Bond went downstairs and took a taxi to King's House. He didn't sign the Governor's book in the cool hall. He was put in a waiting room for the quarter of an hour necessary to show him that he was unimportant. Then the ADC came for him and took him up to the Governor's study on the first floor.
It was a large cool room smelling of cigar smoke. The Acting Governor, in a cream tussore suit and an inappropriate wing collar and spotted bow tie, was sitting at a broad mahogany desk on which there was nothing but the Daily Gleaner, the Times Weekly and a bowl of hibiscus blossoms. His hands lay flat on the desk in front of him. He was sixtyish with a red, rather petulant face and bright, bitter blue eyes. He didn't smile or get up. He said, “Good morning, Mr-er-Bond. Please sit down.”
Bond took the chair across the desk from the Governor and sat down. He said, “Good morning, sir,” and waited. A friend at the Colonial Office had told him his reception would be frigid. 'He's nearly at retiring age. Only an interim appointment. We had to find an Acting Governor to take over at short notice when Sir Hugh Foot was promoted. Foot was a great success. This man's not even trying to compete. He knows he's only got the job for a few months while we find someone to replace Foot. This man's been passed over for the Governor Generalship of Rhodesia. Now all he wants is to retire and get some directorships in the City. Last thing he wants is any trouble in Jamaica. He keeps on trying to close this Strangways case of yours. Won't like you ferreting about.'
The Governor cleared his throat. He recognized that Bond wasn't one of the servile ones. “You wanted to see me?”
“Just to make my number, sir,” said Bond equably. “I'm here on the Strangways case. I think you had a signal front the Secretary of State.” This was a reminder that the people behind Bond were powerful people. Bond didn't like attempts to squash him or his Service.
“I recall the signal. And what can I do for you? So far as we're concerned here the case is closed.”
“In what way 'closed', sir?”
The Governor said roughly, “Strangways obviously did a bunk with the girl. Unbalanced sort of fellow at the best of times. Some of your-er-colleagues don't seem to be able to leave women alone.” The Governor clearly included Bond. “Had to bail the chap out of various scandals before now. Doesn't do the Colony any good, Mr-er-Bond. Hope your people will be sending us a rather better type of man to take his place. That is,” he added coldly, “if a Regional Control man is really needed here. Personally I have every confidence in our police.”
Bond smiled sympathetically. “I'll report your views, sir. I expect my Chief will like to discuss them with the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State. Naturally, if you would like to-take over these extra duties it will be a saving in manpower so far as my Service is concerned. I'm sure the Jamaican Constabulary is most efficient.”
The Governor looked at Bond suspiciously. Perhaps he had better handle this man a bit more carefully. “This is an in-formal discussion, Mr Bond. When I have decided on my views I will communicate them myself to the Secretary of State. In the meantime, is there anyone you wish to see on my staff?” .
“I'd like to have a word with the Colonial Secretary, sir.”
“Really? And why, pray?”
“There's been some trouble on Crab Key. Something about a bird sanctuary. The case was passed to us by the Colonial Office. My Chief asked me to look into it while I'm here.”
The Governor looked relieved. “Certainly, certainly. I'll see that Mr Pleydell-Smith receives you straight away. So you feel we can leave the Strangways case to sort itself out? They'll turn up before long, never fear.” He reached over and rang a bell. The ADC came in. “This gentleman would like to see the Colonial Secretary, ADC. Take him along, would you? I'll call Mr Pleydell-Smith myself and ask him to make himself available.” He got up and came round the desk. He held out his hand. “Goodbye, then Mr Bond. And I'm so glad we see eye to eye. Crab Key, eh? Never been there myself, but I'm sure it would repay a visit.”
Bond shook hands. “That was what I was thinking. Goodbye, sir.”
“Goodbye, goodbye.” The Governor watched Bond's back retreating out of the door and himself returned well satisfied to his desk. “Young whippersnapper,” he said to the empty room. He sat down and said a few peremptory words down the telephone to the Colonial Secretary. Then he picked up the Times Weekly and turned to the Stock Exchange prices.
The Colonial Secretary was a youngish shaggy-haired man with bright, boyish eyes. He was one of those nervous pipe smokers who are constantly patting their pockets for matches, shaking the box to see how many are left in it, or knocking the dottle out of their pipes. After he had gone through this routine two or three times in his first ten minutes with Bond, Bond wondered if he ever got any smoke into his lungs at all.
After pumping energetically at Bond's hand and waving vaguely at a chair, Pleydell-Smith walked up and down the room scratching his temple with the stem of his pipe. “Bond. Bond. Bond! Rings a bell. Now let me see. Yes, by jove! You werejthe chap who was mixed up in that treasure business here. By jove, yes! Four, five years ago. Found the file lying around only the other day. Splendid show. What a lark! I say, wish you'd start another bonfire like that here. Stir the place up a bit. All they think of nowadays is Federation and their bloody self-importance. Self-determination indeed! They can't even run a bus service. And the colour problem! My dear chap, there's far more colour problem between the straight-haired and the crinkly-haired Jamaicans than there is between me and my black cook. However-”Pleydell-Smith came to rest beside his desk. He sat down opposite Bond and draped one leg over the arm of his chair. Reaching for a tobacco jar with the arms of King's College, Cambridge, on it, he dug into it and started filling his pipe-“I mean to say I don't want to bore you with all that. You go ahead and bore me. What's your problem? Glad to help. I bet it's more interesting than this muck,” he waved at the pile of papers in his In tray.
Bond grinned at him. This was more like it. He had found an ally, and an intelligent one at that. “Well,” he said seriously, “I'm here on the Strangways case. But first of all I want to ask you a question that may sound odd. Exactly how did you come to be looking at that other case of mine? You say you found the file lying about. How was that? Had someone asked for it? I don't want to be indiscreet, so don't answer if you don't want to. I'm just inquisitive.”
Pleydell-Smith cocked an eye at him. “I suppose that's yoUr job.” He reflected, gazing at the ceiling. “Well, now I come to think of it I saw it on my secretary's desk. She's a new girl. Said she was trying to get up to date with the files. Mark you,” the Colonial Secretary hastened to exonerate his girl, “there were plenty of other files on her desk. It was just this one that caught my eye.”
“Oh, I see,” said Bond. “It was like that.” He smiled apologetically. “Sorry, but various people seem to be rather interested in me being here. What I really wanted to talk to you about was Crab Key. Anything you know about the place. And about this Chinaman, Doctor No, who bought it. And anything you can tell me about his guano business. Rather a tall order, I'm afraid, but any scraps will help.”
Pleydell-Smith laughed shortly through the stem of his pipe. He jerked the pipe out of his mouth and talked while he tamped down the burning tobacco with his matchbox. “Bitten off a bit more than you can chew on guano. Talk to you for hours about it. Started in the Consular before I transferred to the Colonial Office. First job was in Peru. Had a lot to do with their people who administer the whole trade-Compania Aministradora del Guano. Nice people.” The pipe was going now and Pleydell-Smith threw his matchbox down on the table. “As for the rest, it's just a question of getting the file.” He rang a bell. In a minute the door opened behind Bond. “Miss Taro, the file on Crab Key, please. The one on the sale of the place and the other one on that warden fellow who turned up before Christmas. Miss Longfellow will know where to find them.”
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