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datatime: 2022-11-30 05:21:35 Author:qdaWMQuL

'All right,' said Bond. 1 think I've got the picture. Now what's your particular problem?' He sat back and lit a cigarette. He was greatly looking forward to hearing about Mr Auric Goldfinger.

The telephone rang. Colonel Smithers impatiently snatched up the receiver. 'Smithers speaking.' He listened, irritation growing on his face. 'I'm sure I sent you a note about the summer fixtures, Miss Philby. The next match is on Saturday against the Discount Houses.' He listened again. "Well, if Mrs Flake won't play goals, I'm afraid she'll have to stand down. It's the only position on the field we've got for her. Everybody can't play centre forward. Yes, please do. Say I'll be greatly obliged if just this once. I'm sure she'll be very good - right figure and all that. Thank you, Miss Philby.'

Colonel Smithers took out a handkerchief and mopped his forehead. 'Sorry about that. Sports and welfare are becoming almost too much of a fetish at the Bank. I've just had the women's hockey team thrown into my lap. As if I hadn't got enough to do with the annual gymkhana coming on. How ever' - Colonel Smithers waved these minor irritations aside - 'as you say, time to get on to the smuggling. Well, to begin with, and taking only England and the sterling area, it's a very big business indeed. We employ three thousand staff at the Bank, Mr Bond, and of those no less than one thousand work in the exchange control department. Of those at least five hundred, including my little outfit, are engaged in controlling the illicit movements of valuta, the attempts to smuggle or to evade the Exchange Control Regulations.'

'Isn't all this only a temporary phase? Why should this shortage of gold go on? They seem to be digging it out of Africa fast enough. Isn't there enough to go round? Isn't it just like any other black market that disappears when the supplies are stepped up, like the penicillin traffic after the war?'

Colonel Smithers paused. The rumble of the City came through the half-open window high up in the wall behind his chair. Bond glanced surreptitiously at his watch. Five o'clock. Colonel Smithers got up from his chair. He placed both hands palm downwards on the desk and leant forward. 'It took me five years, Mr Bond, to find out that Mr Goldfinger, in ready money, is the richest man in England. In Zurich, in Nassau, in Panama, in New York, he has twenty million pounds' worth of gold bars on safe deposit. And those bars, Mr Bond, are not Mint bars. They don't carry any official marks of origin whatsoever. They're bars that Mr Goldfinger has melted himself. I flew to Nassau and had a look at the five million pounds' worth or so he holds there in the vaults of the Royal Bank of Canada. Oddly enough, like all artists, he couldn't refrain from signing his handiwork. It needs a microscope to see it, but somewhere, on each Goldfinger bar, a minute letter Z has been scratched in the metal. And that gold, or most of it, belongs to England. The Bank can do nothing about it, so we are asking you to bring Mr Gold-finger to book, Mr Bond, and get that gold back. You know about the currency crisis and the high bank rate? Of course. Well, England needs that gold, badly - and the quicker the better.'

The lift came and they got in. Bond said, 'I'm not very impressed by the new ones. They look like any other country's money. The old ones were the most beautiful money in the world.'

Colonel Smithers's eyes took on their hard, foxy look. He said, 'There's a man who came over to England in 1937. He was a refugee from Riga. Name of Auric Goldfinger. He was only twenty when he arrived, but he must have been a bright lad because he smelled that the Russians would be swallowing his country pretty soon. He was a jeweller and goldsmith by trade, like his father and grandfather who had refined gold for Faberge. He had a little money and probably one of those belts of gold I was telling you about. Stole it from his father, I daresay. Well, soon after he'd been naturalized - he was a harmless sort of chap and in a useful trade and he had no difficulty in getting his papers - he started buying up small pawn-brokers all over the country. He put in his own men, paid them well and changed the name of the shops to "Goldfinger". Then he turned the shops over to selling cheap jewellery and buying old gold - you know the sort of place: "Best Prices for Old Gold. Nothing too Large, Nothing too Small", and he had his own particular slogan: "Buy Her Engagement Ring With Grannie's Locket." Goldfinger did very well. Always chose good sites, just on the dividing line between the well-to-do streets and the lower-middle. Never touched stolen goods and got a good name everywhere with the police. He lived in London and toured his ?shops once a month and collected all the old gold. He wasn't interested in the jewellery side. He let his managers run that as they liked.' Colonel Smithers looked quizzically at Bond. 'You may think these lockets and gold crosses and things are pretty small beer. So they are, but they mount up if you've got twenty little shops, each one buying perhaps half a dozen bits and pieces every week. Well, the war came and Gold-finger, like all other jewellers, had to declare his stock of gold. I looked up his figure in our old records. It was fifty ounces for the whole chain - just enough of a working stock to keep his shops supplied with ring setting and so forth, what they call jewellers' findings in the trade. Of course, he was allowed to keep it. He tucked himself away in a machine-tool firm in Wales during the war - well out of the firing line - but kept as many of his shops operating as he could. Must have done well out of the GIs who generally travel with a Gold Eagle or a Mexican fifty-dollar piece as a last reserve. Then, when peace broke out, Goldfinger got moving. He bought himself a house, pretentious sort of place, at Reculver, at the mouth of the Thames. He also invested in a wellfound Brixham trawler and an old Silver Ghost Rolls Royce - armoured car, built for some South American president who was killed before he could take delivery. He set up a little factory called "Thanet Alloy Research" in the grounds of his house and staffed it with a German metallurgist, a prisoner of war who didn't want to go back to Germany, and half a dozen Korean stevedores he picked up in Liverpool. They didn't know a word of any civilized language so they weren't any security risk. Then, for ten years, all we know is that he made one trip a year to India in his trawler and a few trips in his car every year to Switzerland. Set up a subsidiary of his alloy company near Geneva. He kept his shops going. Gave up collecting the old gold himself - used one of his Koreans whom he had taught to drive a car. All right, perhaps Mr Goldfinger is not a very honest man, but he behaves himself and keeps in well with the police, and with much more blatant fiddling going on all over the country nobody paid him any attention.'

'You could get a small premium in most countries -Switzerland, for instance-but it wouldn't be worth your while. India's still the place.'

'You could get a small premium in most countries -Switzerland, for instance-but it wouldn't be worth your while. India's still the place.'

Colonel Smithers paused. The rumble of the City came through the half-open window high up in the wall behind his chair. Bond glanced surreptitiously at his watch. Five o'clock. Colonel Smithers got up from his chair. He placed both hands palm downwards on the desk and leant forward. 'It took me five years, Mr Bond, to find out that Mr Goldfinger, in ready money, is the richest man in England. In Zurich, in Nassau, in Panama, in New York, he has twenty million pounds' worth of gold bars on safe deposit. And those bars, Mr Bond, are not Mint bars. They don't carry any official marks of origin whatsoever. They're bars that Mr Goldfinger has melted himself. I flew to Nassau and had a look at the five million pounds' worth or so he holds there in the vaults of the Royal Bank of Canada. Oddly enough, like all artists, he couldn't refrain from signing his handiwork. It needs a microscope to see it, but somewhere, on each Goldfinger bar, a minute letter Z has been scratched in the metal. And that gold, or most of it, belongs to England. The Bank can do nothing about it, so we are asking you to bring Mr Gold-finger to book, Mr Bond, and get that gold back. You know about the currency crisis and the high bank rate? Of course. Well, England needs that gold, badly - and the quicker the better.'

BOND FOLLOWED Colonel Smithers to the lift. While they waited for it, Bond glanced out of the tall window at the end of the passage. He was looking down into the deep well of the back courtyard of the Bank. A trim chocolate-brown lorry with no owner's name had come into the courtyard through the triple steel gates. Square cardboard boxes were being unloaded from it and put on to a short conveyor belt that disappeared into the bowels of the Bank.

The telephone rang. Colonel Smithers impatiently snatched up the receiver. 'Smithers speaking.' He listened, irritation growing on his face. 'I'm sure I sent you a note about the summer fixtures, Miss Philby. The next match is on Saturday against the Discount Houses.' He listened again. "Well, if Mrs Flake won't play goals, I'm afraid she'll have to stand down. It's the only position on the field we've got for her. Everybody can't play centre forward. Yes, please do. Say I'll be greatly obliged if just this once. I'm sure she'll be very good - right figure and all that. Thank you, Miss Philby.'

'I see. Is there anywhere else I can get a good premium for my gold bar?'

'I'm afraid not, Mr Bond. It isn't quite as easy as that. The population of the world is increasing at the rate of five thousand four hundred every hour of the day. A small percentage of those people become gold hoarders, people who are frightened of currencies, who like to bury some sovereigns in the garden or under the bed. Another percentage needs gold fillings for their teeth. Others need gold-rimmed spectacles, jewellery, engagement rings. All these new people will be taking tons of gold off the market every year. New industries need gold wire, gold plating, amalgams of gold. Gold has extraordinary properties which are being put to new uses every day. It is brilliant, malleable, ductile, almost unalterable and more dense than any of the common metals except platinum. There's no end to its uses. But it has two defects. It isn't hard enough. It wears out quickly, leaves itself on the linings of our pockets and in the sweat of our skins. Every year, the world's stock is invisibly reduced by friction. I said that gold has two defects.' Colonel Smithers looked sad. 'The other and by far the major defect is that it is the talisman of fear. Fear, Mr Bond, takes gold out of circulation and hoards it against the evil day. In a period of history when every tomorrow may be the evil day, it is fair enough to say that a fat proportion of the gold that is dug out of one corner of the earth is at once buried again in another corner.'

Colonel Smithers came over. 'Fivers,' he commented. 'Just come up from our printing works at Loughton.'

THOUGHTS IN A DB III

Bond smiled at Colonel Smithers's eloquence. This man lived gold, thought gold, dreamed gold. Well, it was an interesting subject. He might just as well wallow in the stuff. In the days when Bond had been after the diamond smugglers he had had first to educate himself in the fascination, the myth of the stones. He said, 'What else ought I to know before we get down to your immediate problem?'

'What's the size of this traffic?'

'The usual nosey parker in the salvage firm gossiped to one of the Dover Customs men and in due course a report filtered up through the police and the CID to me, together with a copy of the cargo clearance papers for each of Goldfinger's trips to India. These gave all the cargoes as mineral dust base for crop fertilizers - all perfectly credible because these modern fertilizers do use traces of various minerals in their make-up. The whole picture was clear as crystal. Goldfinger had been refining down his old gold, precipitating it into this brown powder and shipping it to India as fertilizer. But could we pin it on him? We could not. Had a quiet look at his bank balance and tax returns. Twenty thousand pounds at Barclays in Ramsgate. Income tax and super tax paid promptly each year. Figures showed the natural progress of a well-run jewellery business. We dressed a couple of the Gold Squad up and sent them down to knock on the door of Mr Goldfinger's factory at Reculver. "Sorry, sir, routine inspection for the Small Engineering Section of the Ministry of Labour. We have to make sure the Factory Acts are being observed for safety and health."

'I'm afraid not, Mr Bond. It isn't quite as easy as that. The population of the world is increasing at the rate of five thousand four hundred every hour of the day. A small percentage of those people become gold hoarders, people who are frightened of currencies, who like to bury some sovereigns in the garden or under the bed. Another percentage needs gold fillings for their teeth. Others need gold-rimmed spectacles, jewellery, engagement rings. All these new people will be taking tons of gold off the market every year. New industries need gold wire, gold plating, amalgams of gold. Gold has extraordinary properties which are being put to new uses every day. It is brilliant, malleable, ductile, almost unalterable and more dense than any of the common metals except platinum. There's no end to its uses. But it has two defects. It isn't hard enough. It wears out quickly, leaves itself on the linings of our pockets and in the sweat of our skins. Every year, the world's stock is invisibly reduced by friction. I said that gold has two defects.' Colonel Smithers looked sad. 'The other and by far the major defect is that it is the talisman of fear. Fear, Mr Bond, takes gold out of circulation and hoards it against the evil day. In a period of history when every tomorrow may be the evil day, it is fair enough to say that a fat proportion of the gold that is dug out of one corner of the earth is at once buried again in another corner.'

Bond, smothered by this cataract of gold history, found no difficulty in looking as grave as Colonel Smithers. He said, 'You certainly make a fascinating story of it. Perhaps the position isn't as bad as you think. They're already mining oil under the sea. Perhaps they'll find a way of mining gold. Now, about this smuggling.'

'Huge. To give an idea, the Indian Intelligence Bureau and their Customs captured forty-three thousand ounces in 1955.1 doubt if that's one per cent of the traffic. Gold's been coming into India from all points of the compass. Latest dodge is to fly it in from Macao and drop it by parachute to a reception committee - a ton at a time - like we used to drop supplies to the Resistance during the war.'

Colonel Smithers took out a handkerchief and mopped his forehead. 'Sorry about that. Sports and welfare are becoming almost too much of a fetish at the Bank. I've just had the women's hockey team thrown into my lap. As if I hadn't got enough to do with the annual gymkhana coming on. How ever' - Colonel Smithers waved these minor irritations aside - 'as you say, time to get on to the smuggling. Well, to begin with, and taking only England and the sterling area, it's a very big business indeed. We employ three thousand staff at the Bank, Mr Bond, and of those no less than one thousand work in the exchange control department. Of those at least five hundred, including my little outfit, are engaged in controlling the illicit movements of valuta, the attempts to smuggle or to evade the Exchange Control Regulations.'

'You could get a small premium in most countries -Switzerland, for instance-but it wouldn't be worth your while. India's still the place.'

The lift came and they got in. Bond said, 'I'm not very impressed by the new ones. They look like any other country's money. The old ones were the most beautiful money in the world.'

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