Casino Royale | Study Guide

Ian Fleming

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Casino Royale | Chapter 13 : "A Whisper of Love, a Whisper of Hate" | Summary



Le Chiffre deals the last hand. James Bond has two queens—a count of zero—and Le Chiffre flips over his cards to reveal a count of three. Le Chiffre gives Bond another card. It is a nine. Le Chiffre sees only that card—the others are still concealed. He assumes Bond has at least a two in his hand, which would give him a low count. Le Chiffre takes another card, a five. Now with eight, he thinks he has won, as does the rest of the table. A collective gasp is heard when Bond's queens are shown. Le Chiffre slumps in his chair "as if slugged above the heart." Bond wins the 32 million francs (approximately $843,548).

Le Chiffre puts down his last 10 million francs (approximately $263,608). Bond realizes "this is the kill"—Le Chiffre is out of money and there's no one to come to his rescue. Bond is dealt a count of nine. With his hand of two kings, Le Chiffre is bankrupt. He leaves the table wordlessly as Bond tips the chef de partie. Bond has made 70 million francs (approximately $1.8 million), so he pays back Felix Leiter and takes a check for the rest.

After Bond's brush with death, Bond asks Leiter and Vesper Lynd if they'd like to celebrate his win. Understanding Bond would like to be alone with Vesper, Leiter declines. Bond arranges to meet a strangely quiet Vesper at the nightclub after he and Leiter deposit his winnings at the hotel.

Finding his room as he left it, Bond and Leiter discuss Le Chiffre's next move. Leiter leaves and Bond "wonder[s] about Vesper's morals" while envisioning "her cold and arrogant body" under his hands. After hiding his winnings, he leaves the hotel.


As indicated in the text, the title of Chapter 13, "A Whisper of Love, a Whisper of Hate," comes from gypsy, or Roma, folklore. The Roma are known for their understanding of the mystic arts, including the interpretation of playing cards. The nine of hearts Bond draws during the 32-million-franc bet is often thought to symbolize success or satisfaction. In northern England where many lived, Roma often use popular rhymes to tell fortunes when drawing a single card from the deck. The nine of hearts's rhyme is "A whisper of love, a whisper of hate; tie a silk thread to the garden gate." Bond interprets the nine as a sign of good luck, but he's overlooking the negative aspect of the rhyme. Something very bad is going to come out of his success at the baccarat table. The rhyme also foreshadows the conclusion of the story where Bond's love for Vesper turns to hate.

Bond has finished the task at hand, and he intends to reward himself by sleeping with Vesper. It appears she does not have any say in the matter. He is going to bend her to his will whether she likes it or not so he can "see tears and desire in her remote blue eyes." It never crosses Bond's mind Vesper might not be attracted to him, nor does he wonder whether she is already in a relationship or concerned about mixing work with pleasure. Driven by the need for an adrenaline release, he views Vesper's body only as an outlet for his desires. At this moment, she means nothing to him beyond sex.

This is an instance where Bond's libido overrules his better judgment. He's so eager to bed Vesper he brushes off Leiter's caution Le Chiffre may be back for revenge and decides hiding the check is enough to keep him and Vesper safe. As in the beginning of the mission, he underestimates his opponent.

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