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'Yes.'

'Well, Mr Bond,' Goldfinger gave the rich man's thin smile. 'The safest way to double your money is fold it twice and put it in your pocket.'

Bond, the bank clerk barkening to the bank manager, smiled dutifully but made no comment. This just wasn't good enough. He was getting nowhere. But instinct told him not to put his foot down on the accelerator.

They went back into the hall. Bond held out his hand. 'Well, many thanks for the excellent dinner. Time I went and got some sleep. Perhaps we shall run into each other again some day.'

Goldfinger pressed Bond's hand briefly and pushed it away from him. It was another mannerism of the millionaire subconsciously afraid of'the touch'. He looked hard at Bond. He said enigmatically, 'I shouldn't be at all surprised, Mr Bond.'

On his way across the Isle of Thanet in the moonlight, Bond turned the phrase over and over in his mind. He undressed and got into bed thinking of it, unable to guess its significance. It could mean that Goldfinger intended to get in touch with Bond, or it could mean that Bond must try and keep in touch with Goldfinger. Heads the former, tails the latter. Bond got out of bed and took a coin from the dressing-table and tossed it. It came down tails. So it was up to him to keep close to Goldfinger!

So be it. But his cover would have to be pretty darn good the next time they 'ran into' each other. Bond got back into bed and was instantly asleep.

CHAPTER TWELVE

LONG TAIL ON A GHOST

PUNCTUALLY AT nine the next morning Bond got on to the Chief of Staff: 'James here. I've had a look at the property. Been all over it. Had dinner last night with the owner. I can say pretty well for certain that the managing director's view is right. Something definitely wrong about the property. Not enough facts to send you a surveyor's report.

Owner's going abroad tomorrow, flying from Ferryfield. Wish I knew his departure time. Like to have another sight of his Rolls. Thought I'd make him a present of a portable wireless set. I'll be going over a bit later in the day. Could you get Miss Ponsonby to book me? Destination unknown for the present. I'll be keeping in touch. Anything your end?'

'How did the game of golf go?'

'I won.'

There was a chuckle at the other end. 'Thought you had. Pretty big stakes, weren't they?'

'How did you know?'

'Had Mr Scotland on last night. Said he'd had a tip on the telephone that someone of your name was in possession of a large amount of undeclared dollars. Had we got such a person and was it true? Chap wasn't very senior and didn't know about Universal. Told him to have a word with the Commissioner and we got an apology this morning about the same time as your secretary found an envelope containing ten thousand dollars in your mail! Pretty sly of your man, wasn't it?'

Bond smiled. Typical of Goldfinger to have thought of a way of getting him into trouble over the dollars. Probably made the call to Scotland Yard directly after the game. He had wanted to show Bond that if you gave Goldfinger a knock you'd get at least a thorn in your hand. But the Universal Export cover seemed to have stuck. Bond said, 'That's pretty hot! The twister! You might tell the managing director that this time it goes to the White Cross. Can you fix the other things?'

'Of course. Call you back in a few minutes. But watch your step abroad and call us at once if you get bored and need company. So long.'

"Bye.' Bond put down the receiver. He got up and set about packing his bag. He could see the scene in the Chief of Staff's office as the conversation was played back off the tape while the Chief of Staff translated the call to Miss Money-penny. 'Says he agrees that Goldfinger is up to something big but he can't make out what. G. is flying this morning with his Rolls from Ferryfield. 007 wants to follow. (Let's say two hours later to let G. get well away on the other side. Fix the reservation, would you?) He wants us to have a word with Customs so that he can take a good look at the Rolls and plant a Homer in the boot. (Fix that too, please.) He'll keep in touch through stations in case he needs help...'

And so forth. It was an efficient machine. Bond finished packing and, when the London call came giving him his various clearances, he went downstairs, paid his bill and got quickly out of Ramsgate on to the Canterbury road.

London had said that Goldfinger was booked on a special flight leaving at twelve. Bond got to Ferryfield by eleven, made himself known to the Chief Passport Control and the Customs officers who were expecting him, had his car taken out of sight into an empty hangar and sat and smoked and talked minor shop with the passport men. They thought he was from Scotland Yard. He let them go on thinking it. No, he said, Goldfinger was all right. It was possible that one of his servants was trying to smuggle something out of the country. Rather confidential. If Bond could just be left alone with the car for ten minutes? He wanted to have a look at the tool kit. Would the Customs give the rest of the Rolls their Grade A going over for hidden compartments? They'd be glad to do so.

At eleven-forty-five one of the Customs men put his head round the door. He winked at Bond. 'Coming in now. Chauffeur on board. Going to ask both to board the plane before the car. Tell them it's something to do with the weight distribution. Not so phoney as it sounds. We know this old crate. She's armour-plated. Weighs about three tons. Call you when we're ready.'

'Thanks.' The room emptied. Bond took the fragile little parcel out of his pocket. It contained a dry-cell battery wired to a small vacuum tube. He ran his eye over the wiring and put the apparatus back in his coat pocket and waited.

At eleven-fifty-five the door opened. The officer beckoned. 'No trouble. They're on the plane.'

The huge gleaming Silver Ghost stood in the Customs bay out of sight of the plane. The only other car was a dove-grey Triumph TR3 convertible with its hood down. Bond went to the back of the Rolls. The Customs men had unscrewed the plate of the spare tool compartment. Bond pulled out the tray of tools and made a show of minutely examining them and the tray. He knelt down. Under cover of rummaging at the sides of the compartment, he slipped the battery and tube into the back of it. He replaced the tool tray. It fitted all right. He stood up and brushed his hands together. 'Negative,' he said to the Customs officer.

The officer fitted the plate on and screwed it down with the square key. He stood up. 'Nothing funny about the chassis or the bodywork. Plenty of room in the frame and upholstery but we couldn't get at them without doing a major job. All right to go?'

'Yes, and thanks.' Bond walked back into the office. He heard the quick solid whine of the old self-starter. A minute later, the car came out of the bay and idled superbly over to the loading ramp. Bond stood at the back of the office and watched it being eased up the ramp. The big jaws of the Bristol Freighter clanged shut. The chocks were jerked away and the dispatcher raised a thumb. The two engines coughed heavily and fired and the great silver dragonfly trundled off towards the runway.

When the plane was on the runway, Bond walked round to his car and climbed into the driver's seat. He pressed a switch under the dash. There was a moment's silence, then a loud harsh howl came from the hidden loud-speaker. Bond turned a knob. The howl diminished to a deep drone. Bond waited until he heard the Bristol take off. As the plane rose and made for the coast the drone diminished. In five minutes it had gone. Bond tuned the set and picked it up again. He followed it for five minutes as the plane made off across the Channel and then switched the set off. He motored round to the Customs bay, told the AA that he would be back at one-thirty for the two o'clock flight, and drove slowly off towards a pub he knew in Rye. From now on, so long as he kept within about a hundred miles of the Rolls, the Homer, the rough radio transmitter he had slipped into its tool compartment, would keep contact with Bond's receiver. All he had to do was watch the decibels and not allow the noise to fade. It was a simple form of direction finding which allowed one car to put a 'long tail' on another and keep in touch without any danger of being spotted. On the other side of the Channel, Bond would have to discover the road Goldfinger had taken out of Le Touquet, get well within range and close up near big towns or wherever there was a major fork or crossroads. Sometimes Bond would make a wrong decision and have to do some fast motoring to catch up again. The DB III would look after that. It was going to be fun playing hare and hounds across Europe. The sun was shining out of a clear sky. Bond felt a moment's sharp thrill down his spine. He smiled to himself, a hard, cold, cruel smile. Goldfinger, he thought, for the first time in your life you're in trouble - bad trouble.

There is always an agent cycliste at the dangerous crossroads where Le Touquet's quiet N38 meets the oily turbulence of the major Nl. Yes, certainly he had seen the Rolls. One could not fail to remark it. A real aristocrat of a car. To the right, monsieur, towards Abbeville. He will be an hour ahead, but with that bolide of yours...!

As soon as Bond had cleared his papers at the airport, the Homer had picked up the drone of the Rolls. But it was impossible to tell if Goldfinger was heading north - for the Low Countries or Austria or Germany - or if he was off to the south. For that sort of fix you needed two radio cars to get a bearing. Bond raised a hand to the agent and gave his engine the gun. He would have to close up fast. Goldfinger would be through Abbeville and would already have taken the major fork on to Nl for Paris or N28 for Rouen. A lot of time and distance would be wasted if Bond made the wrong guess.

Bond swept along the badly cambered road. He took no chances but covered the forty-three kilometres to Abbeville in a quarter of an hour. The drone of the Homer was loud. Goldfinger couldn't be more than twenty miles ahead. But which way at the fork? On a guess Bond took the Paris road. He beat the car along. For a time there was little change in the voice of the Homer. Bond could be right or wrong. Then, imperceptibly, the drone began to fade. Blast! Turn back or press on fast and take one of the secondary roads across to Rouen and catch up with him there? Bond hated turning back. Ten kilometres short of Beauvais he turned right. For a time it was bad going but then he was on to the fast N30 and could afford to drift into Rouen, led on by the beckoning voice of his pick-up. He stopped on the outskirts of the town and listened with one ear while consulting his Michelin. By the waxing drone he could tell that he had got ahead of Goldfinger. But now there was another vital fork, not quite so easy to retrieve if Bond guessed wrong again. Either Goldfinger would take the Alengon-Le Mans-Tours route to the south, or he meant to move south-east, missing Paris, by way of Evreux, Chartres and Orleans. Bond couldn't afford to get closer to the centre of Rouen and perhaps catch a glimpse of the Rolls and of the way it would take. He would have to wait until the Homer went on the wane and then make his own guess.

It was a quarter of an hour later before Bond could be sure that the Rolls was well past. This time he again took the left leg of the fork. He thrust the pedal into the floor and hurried. Yes. This time the drone was merging into a howl. Bond was on the track. He slowed to forty, tuned down his receiver to a whisper and idled along, wondering where Goldfinger was heading for.

Five o'clock, six, seven. The sun set in Bond's driving mirror and still the Rolls sped on. They were through Dreux and Chartres and on to the long straight fifty-mile stretch into Orleans. If that was to be the night stop the Rolls ' wouldn't have done badly at all - over two hundred and fifty miles in something over six hours. Goldfinger was certainly no slouch when it came to motoring. He must be keeping the old Silver Ghost at maximum outside the towns. Bond began to close up.

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