Friday, 28 November 2014

"An Inferior Class"

Spare a thought for the plight of Lady Varvara Ayres Bannerji, widow of Hurri Chundra Bannerji, the recently assassinated Imperial resident on Nyanza. Immediately after her husband's violent death, she speaks disparagingly of "Lubbers," then explains:

"'City people. Technicians. Pinkskins. Whatever you want to call them. Like that fat little von Sonderburg.' She was shrill again. 'Do you know what it's like, Captain, to associate with no one but an inferior class? It rubs off on you. Your soul gets greasy.'"
-Poul Anderson, Captain Flandry: Defender Of The Terran Empire (New York, 2010), p. 312.

Good heavens! Those of us with less refined souls do not have such problems. Lady Varvara offers to come to Flandry, even right away, just because he is from Terra. Flandry inwardly promises the deceased Bannerji that he will try to avoid this but it is his duty to be tactful, "For the Empire and the Race!" (ibid.)

They are both saved by the arrival of another visitor who turns out to be a more interesting prospect for Flandry. But later in his career, on Diomedes, the wife of another, still living, resident turns out to be a valuable source of intelligence for the skilled and resourceful Flandry.

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