M. said, stiffly, “Dr. Fanshawe, I don’t think you’ve met Commander Bond of my Research Department.”
Bond was used to these euphemisms.
He got up and held out his hand. Dr. Fanshawe rose, briefly touched Bond’s hand and sat quickly down as if he had touched paws with a Gila monster.
If he looked at Bond, inspected him and took him in as anything more than an anatomical silhouette, Bond thought that Dr. Fanshawe’s eyes must be fitted with a thousandth of a second shutter. So this was obviously some kind of an expert-a man whose interests lay in facts, things, theories-not in human beings. Bond wished that M. had given him some kind of a brief, hadn’t got this puckish, rather childishly malign desire to surprise-to spring the jack-in-a-box on his staff. But Bond, remembering 杭州油压按摩多少钱 his own boredom of ten minutes ago, and putting himself in M.’s place, had the intuition to realize that M. himself might have been subject to the same June heat, the same oppressive vacuum in
his duties, and, faced by the unexpected relief of an emergency, a small one perhaps, had decided to extract the maximum effect, the maximum drama, out of it to relieve his own tedium.
The stranger was middle-aged, rosy, well-fed, and clothed rather foppishly in the neo-Edwardian fashion-turned-up cuffs to his dark blue, four-buttoned coat, a pearl pin in a heavy silk cravat, spotless wing collar, cufflinks formed of what appeared to be antique coins, pince-nez on a thick black ribbon. Bond summed him up as something literary, a critic perhaps, a bachelor-possibly with homosexual tendencies.
M. said, “Dr. Fanshawe is a noted authority on antique jewelry. He is also, though this is confidential, adviser to H.M. Customs and to the C.I.D. on such things. He has La fact been referred to me by our friends at M.I.5. It is in connection
with our Miss Freudenstein.”
Bond raised his eyebrows. Maria Freudenstein was a secret agent working for the Soviet KGB in the heart of the Secret Service. She was in the Communications Department, but in a watertight compartment of it that had been created especially for her, and her duties were confined to operating the Purple Cipher-a cipher which had also been created especially for her. Six times a day she was responsible for encoding and dispatching lengthy SITREPS in this cipher to the C.I.A. in Washington. These messages were the output of Section 100 which was responsible for running double agents. They were an ingenious mixture of true fact, harmless disclosures and an occasional nugget of the grossest misinformation. Maria Freudenstein, who had been known to be a Soviet agent when she was taken into the Service, had been allowed to steal the key to the Purple Cipher with the intention that the Russians should have complete access to these SITREPS-be able to intercept and decipher them-and thus, when appropriate, be fed false information. It was a highly secret operation which needed to be handled with extreme delicacy, but it had now been running smoothly for three years and, if Maria Freudenstein also picked up a certain amount of canteen gossip at Headquarters, that was a necessary risk, and she was not attractive enough to form liaisons which could be a security risk.
M. turned to Dr. Fanshawe. “Perhaps, Doctor, you would care to tell Commander Bond what it is all about.”
“Certainly, certainly.” Dr. Fanshawe looked quickly at Bond and then away again. He addressed his boots. “You see, it’s like this, er, Commander. You’ve heard of a man called Fabergй, no doubt. Famous Russian jeweler.”
“Made fabulous Easter eggs for the Czar and Czarina before the revolution.”
“That was indeed one of his specialties. He made many other exquisite pieces of what we may broadly describe as objects of vertu. Today, in the sale rooms, the best examples fetch truly fabulous prices-?50,000 and more. And recently there entered this country the most amazing specimen of all-the so-called Emerald Sphere, a work of supreme art hitherto known only from a sketch by the great man himself. This treasure arrived by registered post from Paris and it was addressed to this woman of whom you know, Miss Maria Freudenstein.”
“Nice little present. Might I ask how you learned of it, Doctor?”
“I am, as your Chief has told you, an adviser to H.M. Customs and Excise in matters concerning antique jewelry and similar works of art. The declared value of the package was ?100,000. This was unusual. There are methods of opening such packages clandestinely. The package was opened-under a Home Office Warrant, of course-and I was called in to examine the contents and give a valuation. I immediately recognized the Emerald Sphere from the account and sketch of it given in Mr. Kenneth Snowman’s definitive work on Fabergй. I said that the declared price might well be on the low side. But what I found of particular interest was the accompanying document which gave, in Russian and French, the provenance of this priceless object.” Dr. Fanshawe gestured towards a photostat of what appeared to be a brief family tree that lay on the desk in front of M. “That is a copy I had made. Briefly, it states that the Sphere was commissioned by Miss Freudenstein’s grandfather directly from Fabergй in 1917-no doubt as a means of turning some of his rubles into something portable and of great value. On his death in 1918 it passed to his brother and thence, in 1950, to Miss Freudenstein’s mother. She, it appears, left Russia as a child and lived in White Russian йmigrй circles in Paris. She never married, but gave birth to this girl, Maria, illegitimately. It seems that she died last year and that some friend or executor, the paper is not signed, has now forwarded the Sphere to its rightful owner, Miss Maria Freudenstein. I had no reason to question this girl, although as you can imagine my interest was most lively, until last month Sotheby’s announced that they would auction the piece, described as ‘the property of a lady’ in a week from today. On behalf of the British Museum and, er, other interested parties, I then made discreet inquiries and met the lady, who, with perfect composure, confirmed the rather unlikely story contained in the provenance. It was then that I learned that she worked for the Ministry of Defense and it crossed my rather suspicious mind that it was, to say the least of it, odd that a junior clerk, engaged presumably on sensitive duties, should suddenly receive a gift to the value of ?100,000 or more from abroad. I spoke to a senior official in M.I.5 with whom I have some contact through my work for H.M. Customs and I was in due course referred to this, er, department.” Dr. Fanshawe spread his hands and gave Bond a brief glance. “And that, Commander, is all I have to tell you.”
M. broke in, “Thank you, Doctor. Just one or two final questions and I won’t detain you any further. You have examined this emerald ball thing and you pronounce it genuine?”
Dr. Fanshawe ceased gazing at his boots. He looked up and spoke to a point somewhere above M.’s left shoulder. “Certainly. So does Mr. Snowman of Wart-ski’s, the greatest Fabergй experts and dealers in the world. It is undoubtedly the missing masterpiece of which hitherto Carl Fabergй’s sketch was the only record.”
“What about the provenance? What do the experts say about that?”
“It stands up adequately. The greatest Fabergй pieces were nearly always privately commissioned. Miss Freudenstein says that her grandfather was a vastly rich man before the revolution-a porcelain manufacturer. Ninety-nine percent of all Fabergй’s output has found its way abroad. There are only a few pieces left in the Kremlin-described simply as ‘pre-revolutionary examples of Russian jewelry.’ The official Soviet view has always been that they are merely capitalist baubles. Officially they despise them as they officially despise their superb collection of French Impressionists.”
“So the Soviet still retain some examples of the work of this man Fabergй. Is it possible that this emerald affair could have lain secreted somewhere in the Kremlin through all these years?”
“Certainly. The Kremlin treasure is vast. No one knows what they keep hidden. They have only recently put on display what they have wanted to put on display.”
M. drew on his pipe. His eyes through the smoke were bland, scarcely interested. “So that, in theory, there is no reason why this emerald ball should not have been unearthed from the Kremlin, furnished with a faked history to establish ownership, and transferred abroad as a reward to some friend of Russia for services rendered?”
“None at all. It would be an ingenious method of greatly rewarding the beneficiary without the danger of paying large sums into his, or her, bank account.”
“But the final monetary reward would of course depend on the amount realized by the sale of the object-the auction price for instance?”
“And what do you expect this object to fetch at Sotheby’s?”
“Impossible to say. Wartski’s will certainly bid very high. But of course they wouldn’t be prepared to tell anyone just how high-either on their own account for stock, so to speak, or acting on behalf of a customer. Much would depend on how high they are forced up by an underbidder. Anyway, not less than ?100,000 I’d say.”
“Hm.” M.’s mouth turned down at the corners. “Expensive hunk of jewelry.”
Dr. Fanshawe 杭州spa按摩 was aghast at this barefaced revelation of M.’s philistinism. He actually looked M. straight in the face. “My dear sir,” he expostulated, “do you consider the stolen Goya, sold at Sotheby’s for ?140,000, that went to the National Gallery, just an expensive hunk, as you put it, of canvas and paint?”
M. said placatingly, “Forgive me, Dr. Fanshawe. I expressed myself clumsily. I have never had the leisure to interest myself in works of art nor, on a naval officer’s pay, the money to acquire any. I was just registering my dismay at the runaway prices being fetched at auction these days.”
“You are entitled to your views, sir,” said Dr. Fanshawe stuffily.
Bond thought it was time to rescue M. He also wanted to get Dr. Fanshawe out of the room so that they could get down to the professional aspects of this odd business. He got 杭州水会最好的是哪家 to his feet. He said to M., “Well, sir, I don’t think there is anything else I need to know. No doubt this will turn out to be perfectly straightforward (like hell it would!) and just a matter of one of your staff turning out to be a very lucky woman. But it’s very kind of Dr. Fanshawe to have gone to so much trouble.” He turned to Dr. Fanshawe. “Would you care to have a staff car to take you wherever you’re going?”
“No thank you, thank you very much. It will be pleasant to walk across the park.”
Hands were shaken, good-byes said and Bond showed the doctor out. Bond came back into the room. M. had taken a bulky file, stamped with the top secret red star, out of a drawer and was already immersed in it. Bond took his seat again and waited. The room was silent save for the riffling of paper. This also stopped as M. extracted a 杭州按摩你懂的 foolscap sheet of blue cardboard used for Confidential Staff Records and carefully read through the forest of close type on both sides.
Finally he slipped it back in the file and looked up. “Yes,” he said and the blue eyes were bright with interest. “It fits all right. The girl was born in Paris in 1935. Mother very active in the Resistance during the war. Helped run the Tulip Escape Route and got away with it. After the war, the girl went to the Sorbonne and then got a job in the Embassy, in the Naval Attachй’s office, as an interpreter. You know the rest. She was compromised-some unattractive sexual business-by some of her mother’s old Resistance friends who by then were working for the NKVD, and from then on she has been working under Control. She applied, no doubt on instruction, for British citizenship. Her clearance from 杭州洗浴一条龙 the Embassy and her mother’s Resistance record helped her to get that by 1959, and she was then recommended to us by the FO. But it was there that she made her big mistake. She asked for a year’s leave before coming to us and was next reported by the Hutchinson network in the Leningrad espionage school. There she presumably received the usual training and we had to decide what to do about her. Section 100 thought up the Purple Cipher operation and you know the rest. She’s been working for three years inside headquarters for the KGB and now she’s getting her reward-this emerald ball thing worth ?100,000. And that’s interesting on two counts. First it means that the KGB is totally hooked on the Purple Cipher or they wouldn’t be making this fantastic payment. That’s good news. It means that we can hot up the material we’re passing 杭州不正规的洗浴中心 over-put across some Grade 3 deception material and perhaps even move up to Grade 2. Secondly, it explains something we’ve never been able to understand-that this girl hasn’t hitherto received a single payment for her services. We were worried by that. She had an account at Glyn, Mills that only registered her monthly paycheck of around ?50. And she’s consistently lived within it. Now she’s getting her payoff in one large lump sum via this bauble we’ve been learning about. All very satisfactory.”
M. reached for the ashtray made out of a twelve-inch shell base and rapped out his pipe with the air of a man who has done a good afternoon’s work.
Bond shifted in his chair. He badly needed a cigarette, but he wouldn’t have dreamed of lighting one. He wanted one to help him focus his thoughts. He felt that there were some ragged 杭州按摩哪里好 edges to this problem-one particularly. He said, mildly, “Have we ever caught up with her local Control, sir? How does she get her instructions?”
“Doesn’t need to,” said M. impatiently, busying himself with his pipe. “Once she’d got hold of the Purple Cipher all she needed to do was hold down her job. Damn it man, she’s pouring the stuff into their lap six times a day. What sort of instructions would they need to give her? I doubt if the KGB men in London even know of her existence-perhaps the Resident Director does, but as you know we don’t even know who he is. Give my eyes to find out.”
Bond suddenly had a flash of intuition. It was as if a camera had started grinding in his skull, grinding out a length of clear film. He said quietly, “It might be that this business at Sotheby’s could show him to us-show us who he is.”
“What 杭州桑拿哪好 the devil are you talking about, 007? Explain yourself.”