Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

a real James Bond -

There is a delightful article in the New Yorker this week on Patrick Leigh Fermor, a man who was "a major in the Special Operatives Executive, a secret outfit established by the British to carry out clandestine sabotage, and to support local resistance movements, behind enemy lines."  The article is written by Anthony Lane, and the last paragraph is a treasure.  I place it here. 

     My abiding memory of Patrick Leigh Fermor comes from Crete, eight years ago.  We had spent time there, and I wanted to know how he would be returning to the mainland: a flight to Athens, presumably, followed by a taxi to the Mani.  On the contrary, he said; he would board the overnight ferry.  I offered at least to book him a cabin, since the night could be cold.  (This to a man who knows as much as anyone alive about sleeping under the stars.)  He smiled, and replied that he would prefer a chair on deck, adding,  '"My dear boy, I have a bottle of red wine and a copy of 'Persuasion.'  What more could I possibly need?"  Within that question like the two competing virtues that have fed his prose and fuelled his inimitable life: a settled wisdom, plus the itch to be elsewhere.  Here he was, at eighty-three, taking ship in the company of Jane Austen, one of his few peers in the art of the imperturbable.  I could well imagine the pair of them at close of day: side by side, exchanging compliments, taking a little wine, and watching the old world slip away.


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