The whole picture seemed to say, ‘Now then, you handsome bastard, don’t think you can “little woman” me. You’ve got me into this mess and, by God, you’re going to get me out! You may be attractive, but I’ve got my life to run, and I know where I’m going.’
Bond weighed her request. How much of a nuisance would she be? How soon could he get rid of her and get on with his business? Was there any security risk? Against the disadvantages, there was his curiosity about her and what she was up to, the memory of the fable he had spun round her and which had now taken its first step towards realization, and, finally, the damsel-in-distress
business – any woman’s appeal for help.
Bond said curtly, ‘I’ll be glad to take you to Geneva. Now then,’ he opened up the back of the Aston Martin, ‘let’s get your things in. While I fix up about the garage here’s some money. Please buy us lunch – anything you like for yourself. For me, six inches of Lyon sausage, a loaf of bread, butter, and half a litre of Macon with the cork pulled.’
Their eyes met and exchanged a flurry 杭州spa吧 of masculine/feminine master/slave signals. The girl took the money. ‘Thank you. I’ll get the same things for myself.’ She went to the boot of the Triumph and unlocked it. ‘No, don’t bother. I can manage these.’ She hauled out a bag of golf clubs with a cover zipped shut and a small, expensive looking suitcase. She brought them over to the Aston Martin and, rejecting Bond’s offer of help, fitted them in alongside Bond’s suitcase. She watched him lock the back of the car and went back to the Triumph. She took out a wide, black-stitched leather shoulder bag.
Bond said, ‘What name and address shall I give?’
Bond repeated his question, wondering if she would lie about the name or the address, or both.
She said, ‘I shall be moving about. Better say the Bergues at Geneva. The name’s Soames. Miss Tilly Soames.’ There was no 杭州水疗spa会所排名 hesitation. She went into the butcher’s shop.
A quarter of an hour later they were on their way.
The girl sat upright and kept her eyes on the road. The drone on the Homer was faint. The Rolls must have gained fifty miles. Bond hurried. They flashed through Bourg and over the river at Pont d’Ain. Now they were in the foothills of the Jura and there were the S-bends of N84. Bond went at them as if he was competing in the Alpine Trials. After the girl had swayed against him twice she kept her hand on the handle on the dash and rode with the car as if she were his spare driver. Once, after a particularly sharp dry skid that almost took them over the side, Bond glanced at her profile. Her lips were parted and her nostrils slightly flared. The eyes were alight. She was enjoying herself.
They came to the top of the pass and there was 杭州水疗会所是做什么 the run down towards the Swiss frontier. Now the Homer was sending out a steady howl. Bond thought, I must take it easy or we shall be running into them at the Customs. He put his hand under the dash and tuned the noise down. He pulled in to the side of the road. They sat in the car and ate a polite but almost silent picnic, neither making any attempt at conversation, both, it seemed, with other things on their minds. After ten minutes, Bond got going again. He sat relaxed, motoring easily down the curving road through the young whispering pines.
The girl said, ‘What’s that noise?’
‘Magneto whine. Gets worse when I hurry. Started at Orleans. Have to get it fixed tonight.’
She seemed satisfied with this mumbo-jumbo. She said diffidently, ‘Where are you heading for? I hope I haven’t taken you very far out of your way.’
Bond said 杭州419群 in a friendly voice, ‘Not at all. As a matter of fact, I’m going to Geneva too. But I may not stop there tonight. May have to get on. Depends on my meeting. How long will you be there?’
‘I don’t know. I’m playing golf. There’s the Swiss Women’s Open Championship at Divonne. I’m not really that class, but I thought it would be good for me to try. Then I was going to play on some of the other courses.’
Fair enough. No reason why it shouldn’t be true. But Bond was certain it wasn’t the whole truth. He said, ‘Do you play a lot of golf? What’s your home course?’
‘Quite a lot. Temple.’
It had been an obvious question. Was the answer true, or just the first golf course she had thought of? ‘Do you live near there?’
‘I’ve got an aunt who lives at Henley. What are you doing in Switzerland. Holiday?’
‘Business. Import and Export.’
Bond smiled to himself. It was a stage conversation. The voices were polite stage voices. He could see the scene, beloved of the English theatre – the drawing-room, sunshine on hollyhocks outside french windows, the couple sitting on the sofa, on the edge of it, she pouring out the tea. ‘Do you take sugar?”
They came out into the foothills. There was a long straight stretch of road and in the distance the small group of buildings of the French Customs.
The girl gave him no chance to get a glimpse of her passport. As soon as the car stopped she said something about tidying up and disappeared into the ‘Dames’. Bond had gone through the Controle and was dealing with the triptyque when she reappeared, her passport stamped. At the Swiss Customs she chose the excuse of getting something out of her suitcase. Bond hadn’t got time to hang about and call her bluff.
Bond hurried on into Geneva and pulled up at the imposing entrance of the Bergues. The baggagiste took her suitcase and golf clubs. They stood together on the steps. She held out her hand. ‘Goodbye.’ There was no melting of the candid blue eyes. ‘And thank you. You drive beautifully.’ Her mouth smiled. ‘I’m surprised you got into the wrong gear at Macon.’
Bond shrugged. ‘It doesn’t often happen. I’m glad I did. If I can get my business finished, perhaps we could meet again.’
‘That would be nice.’ The tone of voice said it wouldn’t be. The girl turned and went in through the swingdoors.
Bond ran down to his car. To hell with her! Now to pick up Goldfinger. Then to the little office on the Quai Wilson. He tuned the Homer and waited a couple of minutes. Gold-finger was close, but moving away. He could either be following the right or the left bank of the lake. From the pitch of the Homer, he was at least a mile outside the town. Which way? To the left towards Lausanne? To the right towards Evian? The DB III was already on the left-hand road. Bond decided to follow its nose. He got moving.
Bond caught up with the high yellow silhouette just before
Coppet, the tiny lakeside hamlet made famous by Madame de Stael. He hid behind a lorry. At his next reconnaissance the Rolls had disappeared. Bond motored on, watching to the left. At the entrance to the village, big solid iron gates were closing in a high wall. Dust hung in the air. Above the wall was a modest placard. It said, in faded yellow on blue, ENTREPRISES AURIC A.G. The fox had gone to earth!
Bond went on until he found a turning to the left. He followed this until there was a lane which led back through the vineyards to the woods behind Coppet and to the chateau of Madame de Stael. Bond stopped among the trees. Now he should be directly above the Entreprises Auric. He took his binoculars, got out and followed a foot-path down towards the village. Soon, on his right, was a spiked iron railing. There was rolled barbed wire along its top. A hundred yards lower down the hill the railing merged into a high stone wall. Bond walked slowly back up the path looking for the secret entrance the children of Coppet would have made to get at the chestnut trees. He found it – two bars of the railing widened to allow a small body through. Bond stood on the lower railing with all his weight, widened the gap by another couple of inches and wormed his way through.
Bond walked warily through the trees, watching each step for dead branches. The trees thinned. There were glimpses of a huddle of low buildings behind a small manoir. Bond picked the thick trunk of a fir tree and got behind it. Now he was looking down on the buildings. The nearest was about a hundred yards away. There was an open courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard stood the dusty Silver Ghost.
Bond took out the binoculars and examined everything minutely.
The house was a well-proportioned square block of old red brick with a slate roof. It consisted of two storeys and an attic floor. It would probably contain four bedrooms and two principal rooms. The walls were partly covered by a very old wistaria in full bloom. It was an attractive house. In his mind’s eye Bond could see the white-painted panelling inside. He smelled the sweet musty sunshiny smell of the rooms. The back door gave on to the wide paved courtyard in which stood the Rolls. The courtyard was open on Bond’s side but closed on the other two sides by single-storey corrugated iron workshops. A tall zinc chimney rose from the angle of the two workshops. The chimney was topped by a zinc cowl. On top of the zinc cowl was the revolving square mouth of what looked to Bond like a Decca radar scanner you see on the bridges of most ships. The apparatus whirled steadily round. Bond couldn’t imagine what purpose it served on the roof of this little factory among the trees.
Suddenly the silence and immobility of the peaceful scene were broken. It was as if Bond had put a penny in the slot of a diorama on Brighton pier. Somewhere a tinny clock struck five. At the signal, the back door of the house opened and Goldfinger came out, still dressed in his white linen motoring coat, but without the helmet. He was followed by a nondescript, obsequious little man with a toothbrush moustache and horn-rimmed spectacles. Goldfinger looked pleased. He went up to the Rolls and patted its bonnet. The other man laughed politely. He took a whistle out of his waistcoat pocket and blew it. A door in the right-hand workshop opened and four workmen in blue overalls filed out and walked over to the car. From the open door they had left there came a whirring noise and a heavy engine started up and settled into the rhythmic pant Bond remembered from Reculver.
The four men disposed themselves round the car. At a word from the little man, who was presumably the foreman, they began to take the car to pieces.
By the time they had lifted the four doors off their hinges, removed the bonnet cover from the engine and had set about the rivets on one of the mudguards, it was clear that they were methodically stripping the car of its armour plating.
Almost as soon as Bond had come to this conclusion, the black, bowler-hatted figure of Oddjob appeared at the back door of the house and made some sort of a noise at Gold-finger. With a word to the foreman, Goldfinger went indoors and left the workmen to it.
It was time for Bond to get going. He took a last careful look round to fix the geography in his mind and edged back among the trees.
‘I am from Universal Export.’
‘Oh yes?’ Behind the desk there was a reproduction of the Annigoni portrait of the Queen. On the other walls were advertisements for Ferguson tractors and other agricultural machinery. From outside the wide window came the hum of traffic along the Quai Wilson. A steamer hooted. Bond glanced out of the window and watched it ride across the middle distance. It left an enchanted wake across the flawless evening mirror of the lake. Bond looked back into the politely inquiring eyes in the bland, neutral, businessman’s face.
‘We were hoping to do business with you.”
‘What sort of business?’
The man’s face broke into a smile. He said cheerfully, ‘It’s 007, isn’t it? Thought I recognized you. Well now, what can I do for you?’ The voice became cautious. ‘Only one thing, better make it quick and get along. There’s been the hell of a heat on since the Dumont business. They’ve got me taped -the locals and Redland. All very peaceful of course, but you won’t want them sniffing round you.’
‘I thought it might be like that. It’s only routine. Here.’ Bond unbuttoned his shirt and took out the heavy chunk of gold. ‘Get that back, would you? And transmit this when you have a chance.’ The man pulled a pad towards him and wrote in shorthand to Bond’s dictation.