Monday, 8 December 2014

"Sir!"

I was told of a school pupil who was able to express any meaning or feeling in the single word, "Sir": incomprehension, puzzlement, surprise, polite inquiry, indignation, acceptance of a fact, of an order, of a compliment, of a recrimination.

Dominic Flandry's Shalmuan servant, Chives, is clearly no slouch in this respect. When Flandry begins to imply that, instead of preparing supper, Chives will be required to remain on the bridge of the Hooligan:

"'Sir?' Chives raised the eyebrows that he didn't have." (Sir Dominic Flandry, p. 274)

When Flandry explains that Chives will be required to remain on the bridge and that instead a Chief Petty Officer will cook:

"'Sir!' bleated Chives." (ibid.)

Chives, of course, obeys orders except when it is a matter of deciding which uniform Flandry should wear to dinner or which wine should be served with the meal. There is a clear echo of Wooster and Jeeves but let me also recommend another fictional master-servant team.

5 comments:

  1. Hi, Paul!

    I do see what you mean about how the relationship between Flandry and Chives, which was deeper than simply that of master and servant, reminds you of Wooster and Jeeves, Bruce Wayne/Batman and Alfred. To this list I would suggest adding Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter (from Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mystery stories). Their relationship too was deeper than simply that of employer and employee. In fact, Bunter was at least as strict as was Chives on how and what their employers should dress! (Smiles)

    Sean

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  2. Personally, I believe Jeeves and Wooster to be the stars of this particular genre.

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  3. Hi, Paul!

    Since I've read only one or two of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels, I can't really comment adquately about those stories. I probablthy thought they were too "light" for my taste. NOT that there's any thing wrong with light humor and gentle satire.

    Sean

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  4. Sean,
    Hi. Busy and away from the computer most of the time at present. More to say, of course. We have downloaded Peter's ebook.
    Paul.

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    1. Hi, Paul!

      No problem! You did warn readers in an earlier blog piece you would be busy from early December to New Year's.

      I'm currently rereading WE CLAIM THESE STARS, and like you, I'm noticing small but interesting details. Details easy to overlook but interesting, such as Lady Diana Vinogradoff in Chapter I.

      Merry Christmas! Sean

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