"Bond had time for these reflections because M. seemed to be having difficulty in coming to the point. Bond had been asked if he had anything on at the moment, and he had replied happily that he hadn't and had waited for Pandora's box to be opened for him. He was mildly intrigued because M. had addressed him as James and not by his number -- 007. This was unusual during duty hours. It sounded as if there might be some personal angle to this assignment -- as if it might be put to him more as a request than as an order. And it seemed to Bond that there was an extra small cleft of worry between the frosty, damnably clear, grey eyes. And three minutes was certainly too long to spend getting a pipe going."
This passes introduces Bond to the reader in the short story, "For Your Eyes Only," in which Bond is sent to Vermont in order to settle a personal score for M. The passage that precedes it shows Bond reflecting upon the grass mowers, the smell of cut grass, and the passing of time and the advancement of technology (all while M. struggles to find his words). Implicit in the passage is the whiff of nostalgia that always seems to occupy Bond, identifying him as a romantic at heart.
Yet, this passage indicates that Bond is not wholly romantic. He is also analytical, capable of cool, dispassionate observation. He reads people without being read himself. Here, he is reading M. And guessing that M. has a unique job for him -- something personal, because, after all, M has called Bond by his first name James instead of by his official name, 007. This personal touch indicates to Bond that this job will be something far different from the official line.
And indeed it is. M wants Bond to avenge the death of a pair of personal friends by protecting their surviving daughter Judy. This is revealed later, but in the passage, James is on the right track when he reads M's body language and assumes that trouble ("Pandora's box") is about to be opened for him.
Again, the reader finds Bond in an attitude of repose and idleness. It is fitting, however, for this man of espionage to be at rest when first approached in the story. He is capable of acting, as the story will show, but for now the reader is happy to find Bond thoughtful, meditative, calm, and reflective. Bond is shown as human, a man with thoughts and memories -- but he is not sentimentalized. Bond remains detached from his surroundings, from the memories that pursue him through recollections, from the odd behavior of M (although it is intriguing). This is the transmedia Bond that fans know so well: among us, yet separate; a participant in life, but also isolated from it by his ability to transcend it, read it, and shape its outcomes.
It is as though the strings of Fate do not touch Bond, an apt image, since this passage alludes to Pandora's box, from classical mythology. Bond is, in a way, like one of the classical pagan god-men. He is a modern-day Hercules, a man who can overcome any obstacle, a man who always wins to return for another adventure, a man so full of stoic cool, confidence, self-possession and ability, that all men across the whole world admire him with awe.
This passage hints at these ideas and allows the reader to once again be impressed by James' powers of observation and his willingness to enter into daring. He does not become nervous or agitated. He sits calmly, waits for the information, observes with interest, and then applies himself wholeheartedly to the task at hand. He is a man for whom danger is not a thing to be feared. He lives on the edge of danger as easily as he sits in M's office chair, idly watching the mowers out the window, reflecting on time and youth, and wondering when M. will come to the point. Like the proto-typical man, James is impatient to get to the point. Like a professional spy, he is able to sit perfectly still and allow the point to come to him in its own…