Miss Moneypenny picked up the inter-office telephone and passed on the message in a thrilled voice. She said, 'I do think he's all right again, Mary. It's all there again like it used to be. Heaven knows what M.'s been saying to him. He had lunch with Sir James Molony today. Don't tell James that. But it may have something to do with it. He's with the Chief of Staff now. And Bill said he wasn't to be disturbed. Sounds like some kind of a job. Bill was very mysterious.'
She looked up at him from the door. "Don't be frightened. The cane's high and they're most of them out."
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'No, my dear Master Copperfield,' said she, 'far be it from my thoughts! But you have a discretion beyond your years, and can render me another kind of service, if you will; and a service I will thankfully accept of.'
Having issued this mandate with as much potentiality as if she had been a recognized authority in the house ever since it had been a house, and having looked out to confront the amazed Peggotty coming along the passage with a candle at the sound of a strange voice, Miss Betsey shut the door again, and sat down as before: with her feet on the fender, the skirt of her dress tucked up, and her hands folded on one knee.
'Have been,' Tiger corrected him. 'The Society was officially disbanded before the war. But in its heyday it was the most feared and powerful secret society in Japan. It consisted originally of the dregs of the soshi - the unemployed samurai who were left high and dry after the Meiji Restoration of about a hundred years ago - but it later recruited terrorists, gangsters, Fascist politicos, cashiered officers from the navy and army, secret agents, soldiers of fortune and other riff-raff, but also big men in industry and finance, and even the occasional Cabinet Minister who found Black Dragon support of much practical value when dirty work had to be done. And the odd thing is, though it does not seem so odd to me today, that the doctor should have chosen his site, leaving out its practical amenities, in just that corner of Japan that used to be the headquarters of the Black Dragons and has always been a hotbed of extremists. Toyama Mitsuru, the former head of the Black Dragons, came from Fukuoka; so did the anarchist Hirota, and Nakano, leader of the former Tohokai, or Fascist group, in the Diet. It has always been a nest of scoundrels, this district, and it remains so today. These extreme sects never die out completely, as you have recently, my dear Bondo-san, found in the resurgence of the Black Shirts in England, and this Doctor Shatterhand found no difficulty in collecting some twenty extremely tough and dangerous characters around him, all most correctly clothed as servants and gardeners and, no doubt, perfectly good at their ostensible jobs. On one occasion the Prefect of Police thought it his duty to make a courtesy call and give his distinguished inhabitant a word of caution. But the doctor dismissed the matter on the grounds that competent guards would be necessary to maintain his privacy and keep trespassers away from his valuable collection of plants. This seemed reasonable enough, and anyway the doctor appeared to be under high patronage in Tokyo. The Prefect bowed himself out, much impressed with the lavish display of wealth in evidence in the heart of his poor province.' . Tiger Tanaka paused and poured more sake for Bond and more Suntory for himself. Bond took the opportunity to ask just how dangerous this Black Dragon Society had really been. Was it the equivalent of the Chinese tongs?