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himself appear an interesting challenge, or would Goldfinger's sensitive nose smell a threat? In the latter case there would be
no follow-up by Goldfinger and Bond would have to bow out of the case and leave it to M to devise a new approach. How
soon would he know if the big fish was hooked? This one would take plenty of time sniffing the bait. It would be good to have
just one small bite to tell him he had chosen the right lure.
There was a knock on the door of his bedroom. Bond wrapped the towel round him and walked through. He opened the
door. It was the hall porter. 'Yes?'
'Telephone message from a Mr Goldfinger, sir. His compliments and would you care to come to his house for dinner tonight.
It's the Grange over at Reculver, sir. Six-thirty for drinks beforehand and not to bother to dress.'
'Please thank Mr Goldfinger and say I shall be delighted.' Bond shut the door and walked across to the open window and
stood looking out across the quiet evening sea. 'Well, well! Talk of the devil!' Bond smiled to himself, 'And then go and sup
with him! What was that about a long spoon?'
At six o'clock Bond went down to the bar and had a large vodka and tonic with a slice of lemon peel. The bar was empty
save for a group of American Air Force officers from Mansion. They were drinking whisky and water and talking baseball.
Bond wondered if they had spent the day toting a hydrogen bomb round the skies over Kent, over the four little dots in the
dunes that had been his match with Goldfinger. He thought wryly, Not too much of that whisky, cousins, paid for his drink,
and left.
He motored slowly over to Reculver, savouring the evening and the drink inside him and the quiet bubble of the twin
exhausts. This was going to be an interesting dinner-party. Now was the moment to sell himself to Goldfinger. If he put a foot
wrong he was out, and the pitch would have been badly queered for his successor. He was unarmed - it would be fatal for
Goldfinger to smell that kind of rat. He felt a moment's qualm. But that was going too fast. No state of war had been declared -
the opposite if anything. When they had parted at the golf club, Goldfinger had been cordial in a rather forced, oily fashion. He
had inquired where he should send Bond's winnings and Bond had given him the address of Universal Export. He had asked
where Bond was staying and Bond had told him and added that he would only be at Ramsgate a few days while he made up his
mind about his future. Goldfinger hoped that they would one day have a return match but, alas, he was leaving for France
tomorrow and wasn't certain when he would be back. Flying? Yes, taking the Air Ferry from Lydd. Well, thanks for the match.
And thank you, Mr Bond. The eyes had given Bond one last X-ray treatment, as if fixing him for a last time in Gold-finger's
filing system, and then the big yellow car had sighed away.
Bond had had a good look at the chauffeur. He was a chunky flat-faced Japanese, or more probably Korean, with a wild,
almost mad glare in dramatically slanting eyes that belonged in a Japanese film rather than in a Rolls Royce on a sunny
afternoon in Kent. He had the snout-like upper lip that sometimes goes with a cleft palate, but he said nothing and Bond had no
opportunity of knowing whether his guess was right. In his tight, almost bursting black suit and farcical bowler hat he looked
rather like a Japanese wrestler on his day off. But he was not a figure to make one smile. If one had been inclined to smile, a
touch of the sinister, the unexplained, in the tight shining patent-leather black shoes that were almost dancing pumps, and in
the heavy black leather driving gloves, would have changed one's mind. There was something vaguely familiar to Bond in the
man's silhouette. It was when the car drove away and Bond had a glimpse of the head from the rear that he remembered. Those
were the head and shoulders and bowler hat of the driver of the sky-blue Ford Popular that had so obstinately hugged the
crown of the Herne Bay road at about twelve o'clock that morning. Where had he been coming from? What errand had he been
on? Bond remembered something Colonel Smithers had said. Could this have been the Korean who now travelled the country
collecting the old gold from the chain of Goldfinger jewellery shops? Had the boot of the innocent, scurrying little saloon been
stuffed with the week's takings of presentation watches, signet rings, lockets, gold crosses? As he watched the high, primrose-
yellow silhouette of the Silver
Ghost disappearing towards Sandwich, Bond thought the answer was yes.
Bond turned off the main road into the drive and followed it down between high Victorian evergreens to the gravel sweep in
front of just the sort of house that would be called The Grange - a heavy, ugly, turn-of-the-century mansion with a glass-
enclosed portico and sun parlour whose smell of trapped sunshine, rubber plants and dead flies came to Bond in his
imagination before he had switched off the engine. Bond got slowly out of the car and stood looking at the house. Its blank,
well-washed eyes stared back at him. The house had a background noise, a heavy rhythmic pant like a huge animal with a
rather quick pulse. Bond assumed it came from the factory whose plumed chimney reared up like a giant cautionary finger
from the high conifers to the right where the stabling and garages would normally be. The quiet watchful facade of the house
seemed to be waiting for Bond to do something, make some offensive move to which there would be a quick reply. Bond
shrugged his shoulders to lighten his thoughts and went up the steps to the opaque glass-panelled door and pressed the bell. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]