Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Before the light fades

You can always tell when something is coming to an end. You know, by the way events are shaping, that it can’t last much longer, but you think there are still a few days or weeks to go . . . and that’s the moment when it finishes with a sudden bang that you didn’t expect. Come to think of it, that’s probably true of life, or so it strikes me at the age of ninety — but I don’t expect it to happen before tea. Yet one of these days the muffins will grow cold and the tea-cakes congeal as they summon the lads from belowstairs to cart the old cadaver up to the best bedroom. And if I’ve a moment before the light fades, I’ll be able to cry, “Sold, Starnberg and Ignatieff and Iron Eyes and Gul Shah and Charity Spring and all the rest of you bastards who tried to do for old Flashy, ’cos he’s going out on his own, and be damned to you!”

Flashman on the March, p.257, Harper Collins, paperback edition 2005.

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