In this same month of February, into which were crowded some of the most noteworthy of the closing events of the War, Charleston was evacuated as Sherman's army on its sweep northward passed back of the city. I am not sure whether the fiercer of the old Charlestonians were not more annoyed at the lack of attention paid by Sherman to the fire-eating little city in which four years back had been fired the gun that opened the War, than they would have been by an immediate and strenuous occupation. Sherman had more important matters on hand than the business of looking after the original fire-eaters. He was hurrying northward, close on the heels of Johnston, to prevent if possible the combination of Johnston's troops with Lee's army which was supposed to be retreating from Virginia.
M. said, thoughtfully, "Perhaps you've got something there." He swiveled his chair round and gazed out of the big window towards the jagged skyline of London. Finally he said, over his shoulder, "All right, 007. Go and see the Chief of Staff and set the machinery up. I'll square things with Five. It's their territory, but it's our bird. There won't be any trouble. But don't go and get carried away and bid for this bit of rubbish yourself. I haven't got the money to spare."
Bond sat down at the breakfast table. There was a large tumbler of pineapple juice in a silver-plated bowl of crushed ice. He swallowed it down and lifted the cover oil his individual hot-plate. Scrambled eggs on toast, four rashers of bacon, a grilled kidney and what looked like an English pork sausage. There were also two kinds of hot toast, rolls inside a napkin, marmalade, honey and strawberry jam. The coffee was boiling hot in a large Thermos decanter. The cream smelled fresh.
'Yes, yes, it is,' cried Mrs. Gummidge. 'I know what I am. I know that I am a lone lorn creetur', and not only that everythink goes contrary with me, but that I go contrary with everybody. Yes, yes. I feel more than other people do, and I show it more. It's my misfortun'.'
In truth, she has little time for sitting around: her acting talents are too much in demand, in dinner theatres and in college auditoriums around the country. Recently she returned from a three-month working trip. In February she'll be opening in Dallas. "I haven't decided on the play yet," she says.
Bond had no compunction. Goldfinger had cheated him twice and got away with it. But for his cheats at the Virgin and the seventeenth, not to mention his improved lie at the third and the various times he had tried to put Bond off, Goldfinger would have been beaten by now. If it needed one cheat by Bond to rectify the score-sheet that was only poetic justice. And besides, there was more to this than a game of golf. It was Bond's duty to win. By his reading of Goldfinger he had to win. If he was beaten, the score between the two men would have been equalized. If he won the match, as he now had, he would be two up on Goldfinger - an intolerable state of affairs, Bond guessed, to a man who saw himself as all powerful. This man Bond, Goldfinger would say to himself, has something. He has qualities I can use. He is a tough adventurer with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. This is the sort of man I need for - for what? Bond didn't know. Perhaps there would be nothing for him. Perhaps his reading of Gold-finger was wrong, but there was certainly no other way of creeping up on the man.