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"I sketch all the time," he says. "A sketch is not necessarily a study to me. It's a record — something to consult with. I sketch an awful lot in public. Because when I go someplace and I get bored, I sketch. Everybody forgives me for it. They think I have an uncontrollable desire to draw."

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'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.'

"Excellently." He puffed at the cigar to get it going. "Everything is ready now. The guards are out. An hour or two clearing up down there in the morning and then the site will be closed. By the way," he added. "I shall be taking Miss Brand up to London in the car tomorrow afternoon. I shall need a secretary as well as Krebs. Have you got any plans?"She unbent an inch. 'Thank you. Scrambled eggs and coffee, please. And toast and marmalade.' The rumble of the train died away. Bond felt the gun press deeper into his shoulder. He strained his eyes into the target of shadow. In the centre of it, a deeper square of blackness showed. I do not hesitate to name Thackeray the first. His knowledge of human nature was supreme, and his characters stand out as human beings, with a force and a truth which has not, I think, been within the reach of any other English novelist in any period. I know no character in fiction, unless it be Don Quixote, with whom the reader becomes so intimately acquainted as with Colonel Newcombe. How great a thing it is to be a gentleman at all parts! How we admire the man of whom so much may be said with truth! Is there any one of whom we feel more sure in this respect than of Colonel Newcombe? It is not because Colonel Newcombe is a perfect gentleman that we think Thackeray’s work to have been so excellent, but because he has had the power to describe him as such, and to force us to love him, a weak and silly old man, on account of this grace of character. It is evident from all Thackeray’s best work that he lived with the characters he was creating. He had always a story to tell until quite late in life; and he shows us that this was so, not by the interest which be had in his own plots — for I doubt whether his plots did occupy much of his mind — but by convincing us that his characters were alive to himself. With Becky Sharpe, with Lady Castlewood and her daughter, and with Esmond, with Warrington, Pendennis, and the Major, with Colonel Newcombe, and with Barry Lynon, he must have lived in perpetual intercourse. Therefore he has made these personages real to us. It's none of these things. It's Joanne, one of the tellers.

James Bond said casually, "Does the name of Hannes Oberhauser ring a bell?"

'Mad!' said Steerforth.

The little convoy kept on, still following the wide black sheen of N7 that runs like a thick, dangerous nerve down through the heart of France. But at Moulins Bond nearly lost the scent. He had to double back quickly and get on to N73. Goldfinger had turned at right angles and was now making for Lyons and Italy, or for Macon and Geneva. Bond had to do some fast motoring, and then was only just in time to avoid running into trouble. He had not worried much about the pitch of the Homer. He had counted on a sight of the Triumph to slow him down. Suddenly he realized that the drone was becoming a howl. If he hadn't braked hard down from the ninety he was doing, he would have been on top of. the Rolls. As it was, he was barely creeping along when he came over a rise and saw the big yellow car stopped by the wayside a mile ahead. There was a blessed cart-track. Bond swerved into it and stopped under cover of a low hedge. He took a small pair of binoculars out of the glove compartment, got out of the car and walked back. Yes, damn it! Goldfinger was sitting below a small bridge on the bank of a stream. He was wearing a white dust coat and white linen driving helmet in the style of German tourists. He was eating, having a picnic. The sight made Bond hungry. What about his own lunch? He examined the Rolls. Through the rear window he could see part of the Korean's black shape in the front seat. There was no sign of the Triumph. If the girl had still been on Goldfinger's tail she would have had no warning. She would have just kept her head down and stepped on the gas. Now she would be somewhere ahead, waiting in ambush for the Rolls to come by. Or would she? Perhaps Bond's imagination had run away with him. She was probably on her way to the Italian lakes to join an aunt, some friends, a lover.