Friday, 23 March 2012

Carnal intent, hurrah!

      The discovery that you've been sold a pup is always disconcerting, but your reaction depends on age and experience. In infancy you burst into tears and smash something; in adolescence you may be bewildered (as I was when Lady Geraldine lured me into the long grass on flase pretence and then set about me with carnal intent, hurrah!); in riper manhood common sense usually tells you to bolt, which was my instinct on the Pearl River when I learned that my lorcha was carrying not opium, as I'd supposed, but guns for the Taiping rebels. But at sixty-one your brain works faster than your legs, so you reflect, and as often as not reach the right answer by intuition as well as reason.

Flashman and the Tiger, p.134, Harper Collins, paperback edition 2000.

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