I spent about five minutes down there, taking my time, desperately trying to think, to plan. These men were gangsters. They worked "for this Mr. Sanguinetti. That seemed certain because they had got my name from him or from the Phanceys. The rest of their story was lies. They had been sent up here, through the storm, for a purpose. What was it? They knew 1 was a Canadian, a foreigner, and that I could easily go to the police the next day and get them into trouble. The man called Sluggsy had been in San Quentin. And the other? Of course! That was why he looked gray and sort of dead! He had probably just come out of prison too. He smelled of it, somehow. So I could get them into real trouble, tell the police that I was a journalist, that I was going to write up what happened to girls alone in the States. But would I be believed? That VACANCY sign! I was alone in the place, yet I had left it on. Wasn't that because I wanted company? Why had I dressed up like that, to kill, if I expected to be alone? 1 dodged away from that line of thought. But, to get back. What did these two men want here? They had an ordinary car. If they had wanted to clean the place out, they would have brought a truck. Perhaps they really had been sent up to guard the place, and they just treated me as they did because that was the way gangsters behaved. But how much worse were they going to get? What was going to happen to me tonight?
Compar'd to which, the Sun's bright Rays are Night.
'I don't myself drink or smoke, Mr Bond. Smoking, I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behaviour and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smouldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils? Pah!' Goldfinger showed a rare trace of emotion. 'It is a/vile practice. As for drinking, I am something of a chemist and I have yet to find a liquor that is free from traces of a number of poisons, some of them deadly, such as fusel oil, acetic acid, ethylacetate, acetal-dehyde and furfurol. A quantity of some of these poisons taken neat would kill you. In the small amounts you find in a bottle of liquor they produce various ill effects most of which are lightly written off as "a hangover".' Goldfinger paused with a forkful of curried shrimp half way to his mouth. 'Since you are a drinker, Mr Bond, I will give you one word of good advice. Never drink so-called Napoleon brandy, particularly when it is described as "aged in the wood". That particular potion contains more of the poisons I have mentioned than any other liquor I have analysed. Old bourbon comes next.' Goldfinger closed his animadversions with a mouthful of shrimp.
'Mr Bond.' Goldfinger's voice held an ounce of urgency. 'Is this really necessary? Just tell me the truth. Who are you? Who sent you here? What do you know? Then it will be so easy. You shall both have a pill. There will be no pain. It will be like taking a sleeping draught. Otherwise it will be so messy - so messy and distressing. And are you being fair to the girl? Is this the behaviour of an English gentleman?'
'A most unaccountable delusion it is!' cried Miss Murdstone.
Bond awoke in his own room at dawn and for a time he lay and stroked his memories.
'Tis Beauty's Passing-Bell; no more are slain;
In my way through Paris, both going and returning, I passed some time in the house of M. Say, the eminent political economist, who was a friend and correspondent of my father, having become acquainted with him on a visit to England a year or two after the peace. He was a man of the later period of the French Revolution, a fine specimen of the best kind of French Republican, one of those who had never bent the knee to Bonaparte though courted by him to do so; a truly upright, brave, and enlightened man. He lived a quiet and studious life, made happy by warm affections, public and private. He was acquitted with many of the chiefs of the Liberal party, and I saw various noteworthy persons while staying at his house; among whom I have pleasure in the recollection of having once seen Saint-Simon, not yet the founder either of a philosophy or a religion, and considered only as a clever original. The chief fruit which I carried away from the society I saw, was a strong and permanent interest in Continental Liberalism, of which I ever afterwards kept myself au courant, as much as of English politics: a thing not at all usual in those days with Englishmen, and which had a very salutary influence on my development, keeping me free from the error always prevalent in England, and from which even my father with all his superiority to prejudice was not exempt, of judging universal questions by a merely English standard. After passing a few weeks at Caen with an old friend of my father's, I returned to England in July 1821; and my education resumed its ordinary course.
'Yes, sir. I remained behind on purpose to see the boat completed.'