'Yes. Got it here.' Bond pulled the file towards him. He knew what it was about. Station H wanted some limpet mines to put paid to three Communist spy junks that were using Macao to intercept British freighters and search them for refugees from China.

'Must have payment by the tenth.'

That would mean that the junks were leaving, or else that the guards on the junks would be doubled after that date, or some other emergency.

Bond said briefly, 'Wilco.'

'Thanks. 'Bye.'

“Bye.” Bond put down the receiver. He picked up the green receiver and dialled Q Branch and talked to the section duty officer. It would be all right. There was a BOAC Britannia leaving in the morning. Q Branch would see that the crate caught the plane.

Bond sat back. He reached for a cigarette and lit it. He thought of the badly air-conditioned little office on the waterfront in Hongkong, saw the sweat marks on the white shirt of 279,, whom he knew well and who had just called himself Dickson. Now 279 would probably be talking to his number two: 'It's okay. London says can do. Let's just go over this ops. schedule again.' Bond smiled wryly. Better they than he. He'd never liked being up against the Chinese. There were too many of them. Station H might be stirring up a hornets' nest, but M had decided it was time to show the opposition that the Service in Hongkong hadn't quite gone out of business.

When, three days before, M had first told him his name was down for night duty, Bond hadn't taken to the idea. He had argued that he didn't know enough about the routine work of the stations, that it was too responsible a job to give a man who had been in the double-O section for six years and who had forgotten all he had ever known about station work.

'You'll soon pick it up,' M had said unsympathetically. 'If you get in trouble there are the duty section officers or the Chief of Staff - or me, for the matter of that.' (Bond had smiled at the thought of waking M up in the middle of the night because some man in Cairo or Tokyo was in a flap.) 'Anyway, I've decided. I want all senior officers to do their spell of routine.' M had looked frostily across at Bond. 'Matter of fact, 007, I had the Treasury on to me the other day. Their liaison man thinks the double-O section is redundant. Says that kind of thing is out of date. I couldn't bother to argue' - M's voice was mild. 'Just told him he was mistaken.' (Bond could visualize the scene.) 'However, won't do any harm for you to have some extra duties now you're back in London. Keep you from getting stale.'

And Bond wasn't minding it. He was half way through his first week and so far it had just been a question of common sense or passing routine problems on down to the sections. He rather liked the peaceful room and knowing everybody's secrets and being occasionally fed coffee and sandwiches by one of the pretty girls from the canteen.

On the first night the girl had brought him tea. Bond had looked at her severely. 'I don't drink tea. I hate it. It's mud. Moreover it's one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire. Be a good girl and make me some coffee.' The girl had giggled and scurried off to spread Bond's dictum in the canteen. From then on he had got his coffee. The expression 'a cup of mud' was seeping through the building.

A second reason why Bond enjoyed the long vacuum of night duty was that it gave him- time to get on with a project he had been toying with for more than a year - a handbook of all secret methods of unarmed combat. It was to be called Stay Alive! It would contain the best of all that had been written on the subject by the Secret Services of the world. Bond had told no one of the project, but he hoped that, if he could finish it, M would allow it to be added to the short list of Service manuals which contained the tricks and techniques of Secret Intelligence.

Bond had borrowed the original textbooks, or where necessary, translations, from Records. Most of the books had been captured from enemy agents or organizations. Some .had been presented to M by sister Services such as OSS, CIA and the Deuxieme. Now Bond drew towards him a particular prize, a translation of the manual, entitled simply Defence, issued to operatives of SMERSH, the Soviet organization of vengeance and death.

That night he was half way through Chapter Two, whose title, freely translated, was 'Come-along and Restraint Holds'. Now he went back to the book and read for half an hour through the sections dealing with the conventional 'Wrist Come-along', 'Arm Lock Come-along', 'Forearm Lock', 'Head Hold' and 'Use of Neck Pressure Points'.

After half an hour, Bond thrust the typescript away from him. He got up and went across to the window and stood looking out. There was a 'nauseating toughness in the blunt prose the Russians used. It had brought on another of the attacks of revulsion to which Bond had succumbed ten days before at Miami airport. What was wrong with him?

Couldn't he take it any more? Was he going soft, or was he only stale? Bond stood for a while watching the moon riding, careering, through the clouds. Then he shrugged his shoulders and went back to his desk. He decided that he was as fed up with the variations of violent physical behaviour as a psychoanalyst must become with the mental aberrations of his patients.

Bond read again the passage that had revolted him: 'A drunken woman can also usually be handled by using the thumb and forefinger to grab the lower lip. By pinching hard and twisting, as the pull is made, the woman will come along.'

Bond grunted. The obscene delicacy of that'thumb and forefinger'! Bond lit a cigarette and stared into the filament of the desk light, switching his mind to other things, wishing that a signal would come in or the telephone ring. Another five hours to go before the nine o'clock report to the Chief of Staff or to M, if M happened to come in early. There was something nagging at his mind, something he had wanted to check on when he had the time. What was it? What had triggered off the reminder? Yes, that was it, 'forefinger' -Goldfinger. He would see if Records had anything on the man.

Bond picked up the green telephone and dialled Records.

'Doesn't ring a bell, sir. I'll check and call you back.'

Bond put down the receiver.

It had been a wonderful trip up in the train. They had eaten the sandwiches and drunk the champagne and then, to the rhythm of the giant diesels pounding out the miles, they had made long, slow love in the narrow berth. It had been as if the girl was starved of physical love. She had woken him twice more in the night with soft demanding caresses, saying nothing, just reaching for his hard, lean body. The next day she had twice pulled down the roller blinds to shut out the hard light and had taken him by the hand and said, 'Love me, James' as if she was a child asking for a sweet.

Even now Bond could hear the quick silver poem of the level-crossing bells, the wail of the big windhorn out front and the quiet outside clamour at the stations when they lay and waited for the sensual gallop of the wheels to begin again.

Jill Masterton had said that Goldfinger had been relaxed, indifferent over his defeat. He had told the girl to tell Bond that he would be over in England in a week's time and would like to have that game of golf at Sandwich. Nothing else - no threats, no curses. He had said he would expect the girl back by the next train. Jill had told Bond she would go. Bond had argued with her. But she was not frightened of Goldfinger. What could he do to her? And it was a good job.

Bond had decided to give her the ten thousand dollars Mr Du Pont had shuffled into his hand with a stammer of thanks and congratulations. Bond made her take the money. 'I don't want it,' Bond had said. 'Wouldn't know what to do with it. Anyway, keep it as mad money in case you want to get away in a hurry. It ought to be a million. I shall never forget last night and today.'

Bond had taken her to the station and had kissed her once hard on the lips and had gone away. It hadn't been love, but a quotation had come into Bond's mind as his cab moved out of Pennsylvania station: 'Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust.' Neither had had regrets. Had they committed a sin? If so, which one? A sin against chastity? Bond smiled to himself. There was a quotation for that too, and from a saint - Saint Augustine: 'Oh Lord, give me Chastity. But don't give it yet!'

The green telephone rang. 'Three Goldfingers, sir, but two of them are dead. The third's a Russian post office in Geneva. Got a hairdressing business. Slips the messages into the right-hand coat pocket when he brushes the customers down. He lost a leg at Stalingrad. Any good, sir? There's plenty more on him.'

'No thanks. That couldn't be my man.'

'We could put a trace through CID Records in the morning. Got a picture, sir?'

Bond remembered the Leica film. He hadn't even bothered to have it developed. It would be quicker to mock up the man's face on the Identicast. He said, 'Is the Identicast room free?'

'Yes, sir. And I can operate it for you if you like.'

'Thanks. I'll come down.'

Bond told the switchboard to let heads of sections know where he would be and went out and took the lift down to Records on the first floor.

The big building was extraordinarily quiet at night. Be neath the silence there was a soft whisper of machinery and hidden life - the muffled clack of a typewriter as Bond passed a door, a quickly suppressed stammer of radio static as he passed another, the soft background whine of the ventilation system. It gave you the impression of being in a battleship in harbour.

The Records duty officer was already at the controls of the Identicast in the projection room. He said to Bond, 'Could you give me the main lines of the face, sir? That'll help me leave out the slides that are obviously no good.'

Bond did so and sat back and watched the lighted screen.

The Identicast is a machine for building up an approximate picture of a suspect - or of someone who has perhaps only been glimpsed in a street or a train or in a passing car. It works on the magic lantern principle. The operator flashes on the screen various head-shapes and sizes. When one is recognized it stays on the screen. Then various haircuts are shown, and then all the other features follow and are chosen one by one - different shapes of eyes, noses, chins, mouths, eyebrows, cheeks, ears. In the end there is the whole picture of a face, as near as the scanner can remember it, and it is photographed and put on record.

It took some time to put together Goldfinger's extraordinary face, but the final result was an approximate likeness in monochrome. Bond dictated one or two notes about the sunburn, the colour of the hair and the expression of the eyes, and the job was done.

'Wouldn't like to meet that on a dark night,' commented the man from Records. 'I'll put it through to CID when they come on duty. You should get the answer by lunch time.'

Bond went back to the seventh floor. On the other side of the world it was around midnight. Eastern stations were closing down. There was a flurry of signals that had to be dealt with, the night's log to be written up, and then it was eight o'clock. Bond telephoned the canteen for his breakfast. He had just finished it when there came the harsh purr of the red telephone. M! Why the hell had he got in half an hour early?

'Yes, sir.'

'Come up to my office, 007. I want to have a word before you go off duty.'

'Sir.' Bond put the telephone back. He slipped on his coat and ran a hand through his hair, told the switchboard where he would be, took the night log and went up in the lift to the eighth and top floor. Neither the desirable Miss Moneypenny nor the Chief of Staff was on duty. Bond knocked on M's door and went in.

'Sit down, 007.' M was going through the pipe-lighting routine. He looked pink and well scrubbed. The lined sailor's face above the stiff white collar and loosely tied spotted bow tie was damnably brisk and cheerful. Bond was conscious of the black stubble on his own chin and of the all-night look of his skin and clothes. He sharpened his mind.