'Schade! That is a pity.' But the eyes registered satisfaction. 'These installations bring good income for the Count. That is important. It helps to support his life's work, the Institut.'
Bond motored across the beautiful Pont du Mont Blanc and along the brightly lit quai to the Bavaria, a modest Alsatian brasserie that had been the rendezvous of the great in the days of the League of Nations. He sat by the window and drank Enzian washed down with pale Lowenbrau. He thought first about Goldfinger. There was now no doubt what he was up to. He financed a spy network, probably SMERSH, and he made fortunes smuggling gold to India, the country where he could get the biggest premium. After the loss of his Brixham trawler, he had thought out this new way. He first made it known that he had an armoured car. That would only be considered eccentric. Many English bodybuilders exported them. They used to go to Indian rajahs; now they went to oil sheiks and South American presidents. Goldfinger had chosen a Silver Ghost because, with his modifications, the chassis was strong enough, the riveting was already a feature of the bodywork, and there was the largest possible area of metal sheeting. Perhaps Gold-finger had run it abroad once or twice to get Ferryfield used to it. Then, on the next trip, he took off the armour plating in his works at Reculver. He substituted eighteen-carat white gold. Its alloy of nickel and silver would be strong enough. The colour of the metal would not betray him if he got in a smash or if the bodywork were scratched. Then off to Switzerland and to the little factory. The workmen would have been as carefully picked as the ones at Reculver. They would take off the plates and mould them into aircraft seats which would then be upholstered and installed in Mecca Airlines - run presumably by some stooge of Goldfinger's who got a cut on each 'gold run'. On these runs -once, twice, three times a year? - the plane would accept only light freight and a few passengers. At Bombay or Calcutta the plane would need an overhaul, be re-equipped. It would go to the Mecca hangar and have new seats fitted. The old ones, the gold ones, would go to the bullion brokers. Goldfinger would get his sterling credit in Nassau or wherever he chose. He would have made his hundred, or two hundred, per cent profit and could start the cycle all over again, from the 'We Buy Old Gold' shops in Britain to Reculver - Geneva -Bombay.
It took them an hour and a. half to cover the two miles and, by the time he collapsed in the dirt beside the cement highway, Bond was delirious. It was the girl who had got him there. But for her he would never have kept a straight course. He would have stumbled about amongst the cactus and rock and mica until his strength was exhausted and the broiling sun came to finish the job.
Bond flicked the lighter. The piece of paper flared and he flung it away from him amongst the petrol cans. The whoosh of flame almost caught him as he threw himself backwards on to the little platform of the car. But then the girl let in the clutch and the handcar started down the line.
"… survived is quite extraordinary. I do think, sir, that we should show our gratitude to Commander Bond and to his Service by accepting his recommendations. It does seem, sir, that he has done at least three-quarters of the job. Surely the least we can do is look after the other quarter."
Before this, however, the state of public affairs had become extremely critical, by the commencement of the American civil war. My strongest feelings were engaged in this struggle, which, I felt from the beginning, was destined to be a turning point, for good or evil, of the course of human affairs for an indefinite duration. Having been a deeply interested observer of the Slavery quarrel in America, during the many years that preceded the open breach, I knew that it was in all its stages an aggressive enterprise of the slave-owners to extend the territory of slavery; under the combined influences of pecuniary interest, domineering temper, and the fanaticism of a class for its class privileges, influences so fully and powerfully depicted in the admirable work of my friend Professor Cairnes, "The Slave Power." Their success, if they succeeded, would be a victory of the powers of evil which would give courage to the enemies of progress and damp the spirits of its friends all over the civilized world, while it would create a formidable military power, grounded on the worst and most anti-social form of the tyranny of men over men, and, by destroying for a long time the prestige of the great democratic republic, would give to all the privileged classes of Europe a false confidence, probably only to be extinguished in blood. On the other hand, if the spirit of the North was sufficiently roused to carry the war to a successful termination, and if that termination did not come too soon and too easily, I foresaw, from the laws of human nature, and the experience of revolutions, that when it did come it would in all probability be thorough: that the bulk of the Northern population, whose conscience had as yet been awakened only to the point of resisting the further extension of slavery, but whose fidelity to the Constitution of the United States made them disapprove of any attempt by the Federal Government to interfere with slavery in the States where it already existed, would acquire feelings of another kind when the Constitution had been shaken off by armed rebellion, would determine to have done for ever with the accursed thing, and would join their banner with that of the noble body of Abolitionists, of whom Garrison was the courageous and single-minded apostle, Wendell Phillips the eloquent orator, and John Brown the voluntary martyr.8 Then, too, the whole mind of the United States would be let loose from its bonds, no longer corrupted by the supposed necessity of apologizing to foreigners for the most flagrant of all possible violations of the free principles of their Constitution; while the tendency of a fixed state of society to stereotype a set of national opinions would be at least temporarily checked, and the national mind would become more open to the recognition of whatever was bad in either the institutions or the customs of the people. These hopes, so far as related to Slavery, have been completely, and in other respects are in course of being progressively realized. Foreseeing from the first this double set of consequences from the success or failure of the rebellion, it may be imagined with what feelings I contemplated the rush of nearly the whole upper and middle classes of my own country even those who passed for Liberals, into a furious pro-Southern partisanship : the working classes, and some of the literary and scientific men, being almost the sole exceptions to the general frenzy. I never before felt so keenly how little permanent improvement had reached the minds of our influential classes, and of what small value were the liberal opinions they had got into the habit of professing. None of the Continental Liberals committed the same frightful mistake. But the generation which had extorted negro emancipation from our West India planters had passed away; another had succeeded which had not learnt by many years of discussion and exposure to feel strongly the enormities of slavery; and the inattention habitual with Englishmen to whatever is going on in the world outside their own island, made them profoundly ignorant of all the antecedents of the struggle, insomuch that it was not generally believed in England, for the first year or two of the war, that the quarrel was one of slavery. There were men of high principle and unquestionable liberality of opinion, who thought it a dispute about tariffs, or assimilated it to the cases in which they were accustomed to sympathize, of a people struggling for independence.
An opportune double knock at the door, which I knew well from old experience in Windsor Terrace, and which nobody but Mr. Micawber could ever have knocked at that door, resolved any doubt in my mind as to their being my old friends. I begged Traddles to ask his landlord to walk up. Traddles accordingly did so, over the banister; and Mr. Micawber, not a bit changed - his tights, his stick, his shirt-collar, and his eye-glass, all the same as ever - came into the room with a genteel and youthful air.
James Bond was where I had left him, and, to keep him there, Sluggsy now kept up a steady stream of single shots that flicked every few seconds at the angle of the wall toward which the thin man was worming his way. Perhaps James Bond guessed the significance of this steady fire. He may have known that it was meant to pin him down, because now he began moving along to the left, toward the burning half of the building. And now he was running, bent low, out across the browned grass and through the billowing smoke and sparks toward the charred, flickering ruins of the left-hand line of cabins. I caught a brief glimpse of him diving through one of the carports at around Number 15, and then he was gone, presumably into the trees at the back to work his way up and take Sluggsy in the rear.
At the Swissair desk inside the door, a woman was standing beside the reception counter. As soon as Bond appeared in the entrance she came forward. 'Sair Hilary Bray?'