12 June 2011

Flashman weighs his options

In George Macdonald Fraser's 1990 novel Flashman and the Mountain of Light, the eponymous anti-hero and unabashed cad finds himself in a bit of a pickle during his secret mission to the Court of the Punjab in 1845. He sits down to tabulate the pros and cons of his present perilous situation, in his own inimitable style:

EVIL: I am cut off in a savage land which will be at war with my own country presently 
GOOD: I enjoy diplomatic immunity, for what it's worth, and am in good health, but ruined.
EVIL: An attempt has been made to assassinate me. These buggers would sooner murder people than eat their dinners.
GOOD: It failed, and I am under the protection of the queen bee, who rides like a rabbit. Also, [the American adventurer and agent Alexander] Gardner will look out for me.
EVIL: My orderly turns out to be the greatest villain since Dick Turpin, and is an American to boot.
GOOD: [Major] Broadfoot chose him, and since I see no reason why he should be hostile to me, I shall watch him like a hawk.
EVIL: Damn Broadfoot for landing me in this stew, when I could have been safe at home rogering Elspeth [Flashman's wife].
GOOD: Rations and quarters are A1, and Mangla sober is a capital mount, though she don't compare to Jeendan drunk.
EVIL: If I were a praying man, the Almighty would hear from me in no uncertain terms, and much good it would do me.
GOOD: Being a pagan (attached C of E) with no divine resources, I shall tread uncommon wary and keep my pepperbox [pistol] handy.

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