Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Goldfinger on Smoking and Drinking

from Goldfinger.

[Bond is over at Auric's for dinner. Goldfinger is speaking:]

‘Please try the Moselle. I hope it will be to your taste. It is a Piesporter Goldtropfchen ’53. Help yourself. These people [the Korean help] are as likely to pour it into your plate as your glass.”

There was a slim bottle in an ice bucket in front of Bond. He poured some of the wine and tasted it. It was nectar and ice cold. Bond congratulated his host. Goldfinger gave a curt nod.

‘I don’t myself drink or smoke, Mr. Bond. Smoking I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behavior and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smouldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils? Pah!’ Goldfinger showed a rare trace of emotion. ‘It is a vile practice. As for drinking, I am something of a chemist and I have yet to find a liquor that is free from traces of a number of poisons, some of them deadly, such as fusel oil, acetic acid, ethylacetate, acetaldehyde and furfurol. A quantity of some of these poisons taken neat would kill you. In the small amounts you find in a bottle of liquor they produce various ill effects most of which are lightly written off as “a hangover”.’ Goldfinger paused with a forkful of curried shrimp half way to his mouth. ‘Since you are a drinker, Mr. Bond, I will give you one word of good advice. Never drink so-called Napoleon brandy, particularly when it is described as “aged in the wood”. That particular potion contains more of the poisons I have mentioned than other liquor I have analysed. Old bourbon comes next,’ Goldfinger closed his animadversions with a mouthful of shrimp.

[Bond] ‘Thank you. I’ll remember. Perhaps for those reasons I have recently taken to vodka. They tell me its filtration through activated charcoal is a help.’

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