On my journey back to Ireland, in the railway carriage, I wrote the first few pages of that story. I had got into my head an idea of what I meant to write — a morsel of the biography of an English clergyman who should not be a bad man, but one led into temptation by his own youth and by the unclerical accidents of the life of those around him. The love of his sister for the young lord was an adjunct necessary, because there must be love in a novel. And then by placing Framley Parsonage near Barchester, I was able to fall back upon my old friends Mrs. Proudie and the archdeacon. Out of these slight elements I fabricated a hodge-podge in which the real plot consisted at last simply of a girl refusing to marry the man she loved till the man’s friends agreed to accept her lovingly. Nothing could be less efficient or artistic. But the characters were so well handled, that the work from the first to the last was popular — and was received as it went on with still increasing favour by both editor and proprietor of the magazine. The story was thoroughly English. There was a little fox-hunting and a little tuft-hunting, some Christian virtue and some Christian cant. There was no heroism and no villainy. There was much Church, but more love-making. And it was downright honest love — in which there was no pretence on the part of the lady that she was too ethereal to be fond of a man, no half-and-half inclination on the part of the man to pay a certain price and no more for a pretty toy. Each of them longed for the other, and they were not ashamed to say so. Consequently they in England who were living, or had lived, the same sort of life, liked Framley Parsonage. I think myself that Lucy Robarts is perhaps the most natural English girl that I ever drew — the most natural, at any rate, of those who have been good girls. She was not as dear to me as Kate Woodward in The Three Clerks, but I think she is more like real human life. Indeed I doubt whether such a character could be made more lifelike than Lucy Robarts.
The ground shook violently under Bond's skis and the swelling rumble came down to him like the noise of express trains roaring through a hundred tunnels. God Almighty, now he really had had it! What was the rule? Point the skis straight downhill! Try and race it! Bond pointed his skis down towards the tree line, got down in his ugly crouch and shot, his skis screaming, into white space.
However, as I knew how tender-hearted my dear Dora was, and how sensitive she would be to any slight upon her favourite, I hinted no objection. For similar reasons I made no allusion to the skirmishing plates upon the floor; or to the disreputable appearance of the castors, which were all at sixes and sevens, and looked drunk; or to the further blockade of Traddles by wandering vegetable dishes and jugs. I could not help wondering in my own mind, as I contemplated the boiled leg of mutton before me, previous to carving it, how it came to pass that our joints of meat were of such extraordinary shapes - and whether our butcher contracted for all the deformed sheep that came into the world; but I kept my reflections to myself.
I did as I was told. I went round behind the thin man and pressed the gun into his back. Then I reached up with my left hand and felt under his right arm. A nasty, dead kind of smell came from him, and I was suddenly disgusted at being so close to him and touching him so intimately.
The beginning had been as this fellow Bond had described. He had gone to Oberhauser's chalet at four in the morning, had arrested him, and had told his weeping, protesting family that Smythe was taking him to an interrogation camp in Munich. If the guide's record was clean he would be back home within a week. If the family kicked up a fuss it would only make trouble for Oberhauser. Smythe had refused to give his name and had had the forethought to shroud the numbers on his jeep. In twenty-four hours, "A" Force would be on its way, and by the time military government got to Kitzbьhel, the incident would already be buried under the morass of the Occupation tangle.
I couldn't help saying anxiously, "Oh, but you shouldn't have taken the risk. Supposing they'd changed the plan. Supposing they'd decided to do it as you walked down the street, or with a time bomb or something!"
Of my walking so proudly and lovingly down the aisle with my sweet wife upon my arm, through a mist of half-seen people, pulpits, monuments, pews, fonts, organs, and church windows, in which there flutter faint airs of association with my childish church at home, so long ago.
Drax said "What?" in a startled voice and hastily ran through his cards again for reassurance.
I had, however, the further intentions of writing a book about the entire group of Australasian Colonies; and in order that I might be enabled to do that with sufficient information, I visited them all. Making my headquarters at Melbourne, I went to Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, then to the very little known territory of Western Australia, and then, last of all, to New Zealand. I was absent in all eighteen months, and think that I did succeed in learning much of the political, social, and material condition of these countries. I wrote my book as I was travelling and brought it back with me to England all but completed in December, 1872.
"Now," the Commissioner spoke weightily. 'The facts as ascertained are as follows. Recently there took place at the Thunderbird Hotel in the Parish of Westmoreland a meeting of what can only be described as foreign gangsters of outstanding notoriety, including representatives of the Soviet secret service, the Mafia, and the Cuban secret police. The objects of this meeting were, inter alia, sabotage of Jamaican installations in the cane industry, stimulation of illicit ganja-growing in the island and purchase of the crop for export, the bribery of a high Jamaican official with the object of installing gangster-run gambling in the island, and sundry other malfeasances deleterious to law and order in Jamaica and to her international standing. Am I correct, Commander?"
The man was lifting his loud-hailer. The voice roared. "Okay, folks! Just so as you'll know this thing isn't for show." He lifted his thumb. The machine gunner trained his gun into the tops of the mangroves behind the beach. There came the swift rattling roar Bond had last heard coming from the German lines in the Ardennes. The bullets made the same old sound of frightened pigeons whistling overhead. Then there was silence.
鈥楩eb. 5, 1881.鈥擨 went to a wedding yesterday, one of the silly child-marrying affairs, with which the Hindus delight to ruin themselves and run into debt. Poor 鈥斺€ quite agreed with me that it is very foolish; but he and his relatives cannot resist dastur, so both my kahars receive next to nothing for five months, to work out their debt to me. I had to do rather a difficult thing for an old lady, in order to get to the wedding-party, climb a real ladder鈥攏ot very good鈥攐f eight rounds. I am not as agile as I used to be, and had to go up and up, and then down and down, very slowly and cautiously. To parody Byron鈥檚 lines鈥
On the 30th of August 1893 she wrote to Mr. Bateman in a strain as cheery as ever, despite the weight of years and worries:鈥擖/p>
'I feel very guilty,' she said sitting down beside him. 'But I've been bathing every day while you've been lying here. The doctor said I was to and Head of S said I was to, so, well, I just thought it wouldn't help you for me to be moping away all day long in my room. I've found a wonderful stretch of sand down the coast and I take my lunch and go there every day with a book and I don't come back till the evening. There's a bus that takes me there and back with only a short walk over the dunes, and I've managed to get over the fact that it's on the way down that road to the villa.'
Bond looked across into the flushed, golden face. The eyes were bright and soft in the candlelight, but with the same imperious glint they had held when he had first seen her on the beach and she had thought he had come to steal her shells. The full red lips were open with excitement and impatience. With him she had no inhibitions. They were two loving animals. It was natural. She had no shame. She could ask him anything and would expect him to answer. It was as if they were already in bed together, lovers. Through the tight cotton bodice the points of her breasts showed, hard and roused.
‘Yes, a young man,’ Meidanov chimed in in confirmation.
There was a burst of clapping in the room and the auctioneer beamed and rapped on the table. "Ladies and gentlemen," he said triumphantly. "This is really splendid. Three hundred pounds I am bid by the charming lady in the beautiful pink evening dress. (Heads turned and craned and Bond could see the mouths saying 'who is she?') And now, Sir," he turned .towards the fat man's table, "May I say ?525?"
On the 19th of November, 1863, comes the Gettysburg address, so eloquent in its simplicity. It is probable that no speaker in recorded history ever succeeded in putting into so few words so much feeling, such suggestive thought, and such high idealism. The speech is one that children can understand and that the greatest minds must admire.