Harry Paget Flashman

Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE (5th May 1822-1915) is a bullying, debauched fictional character originally created by the author Thomas Hughes in Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857), and used as the basis of a series of historical novels by the 20th-century author George MacDonald Fraser.

    • It’s a great thing, prayer. Nobody answers, but at least it stops you from thinking.
    • Blustering hadn't helped me, and a look at Rudi's mocking face told me that whining wouldn't either. Robbed of the two cards which I normally play in a crisis, I was momentarily lost.
    • But strangely enough, I became a little closer to de Gautet, for I discovered that he shared one of my chief interests, which is horseflesh. He was an authority, of the true kind who never pretends more than he knows, and in the saddle he was nearly as good as I was myself, which is to say he would have been topnotch among any horsemen in the world — even the Cheyennes of the American plains, who are the best I know.
    • "D—n your lousy eyes!" cries he [Captain Spring], "Take that infernal Dago duster out of my sight — would you bury an Englishman under that?" And he knocked Looney sprawling and then kicked him into the scuppers. He cursed him something fearful, the scar on his head bright crimson, until one of the hands brought a Union Jack, and then we got on with the service. Spring rattled through it, the shotted corpse went over with a splash, Mrs Spring struck up, we all sang "Rock of Ages", and the "amen" hadn't died away before Spring had strode to the unfortunate Looney and kicked his backside again so hard that he went clean down the booby hatch to the main deck. I've often thought how instructive it would have been for our divinity students to see how the offices for the dead were conducted aboard the Balliol College.
    • I took up with Speed and the greenhorn, who was now waxing voluble in the grip of booze, and off we went. [W]e stopped off for punch on the way, and the little snirp got so fuddled he couldn't even walk. We helped him along, but he was maudlin, so we took off his trousers in an alley off Regent Street, painted his arse with blacking which we bought for a penny on the way, and then shouted, "Come on, peelers! Here's the scourge of A Division waiting to set about you! Come on and be damned to you!" And as soon as the bobbies hove in sight we cut, and left them to find our little friend, nose down in the gutter with his black bum sticking up in the air.
    • Well, if I was in disgrace, I was also in good health, and that's what matters. ... The Russian wounded lay in piles by the hundred round our bivouacs, crying and moaning all through the night — I can hear their sobbing "Pajalsta! pajalsta!" [Please! please!] still. The camp ground was littered with spent shot and rubbish and broken gear among the pools of congealed blood — my stars, wouldn't I just like to take one of our Ministers, or street-corner orators, or blood-lusting, breakfast-scoffing papas, over such a place as the Alma hills — not to let him see, because he'd just tut-tut and look anguished and have a good pray and not care a damn — but to shoot him in the belly with a soft-nosed bullet and let him die screaming where he belonged. That's all they deserve.
    • He (Scud East) hadn't got Valla to refresh him, either, which might have had a calming effect. I thought of suggesting that he take a steam-bath with Aunt Sara, to settle his nerves, but he might have enjoyed it too much, and then gone mad repenting.
    • His (Cardigan's) voice pursued me, cracking with rage.
    • "Colonel Fwashman!" he cried. "You are a viper!"
    • I turned at that, making myself go red in the face in righteous wrath, but I knew what I was about; he was getting no blow or challenge from me — he shot too damned straight for that.
    • "Indeed, my lord," says I. "Yet I don't wriggle and turn." And I left him gargling, well

pleased with myself.

    • "And a cutlass, of course," says he, "you'll feel naked without that."
    • He little knew that I could feel naked in a suit of armour in the bowels of a Dreadnought being attacked by an angry bum-boat-woman.
    • I see it (the cricket field) in the late evening sun, the players in their white top-hats trooping in from the field, with the ripple of applause running round the ropes, and the urchins streaming across to worship, while the old buffers outside the pavilion clap and cry "Played, well played!" and raise their tankards, and the Captain tosses the ball to some round-eyed small boy who'll guard it as a relic for life, and the scorer climbs stiffly down from his eyrie and the shadows lengthen across the idyllic scene, the very picture of merry, sporting old England, with the umpires bundling up the stumps, the birds calling in the tall trees, the gentle evenfall stealing over the ground and the pavilion, and the empty benches, and the willow wood-pile behind the sheep pen where Flashy is plunging away on top of the landlord's daughter in the long grass. Aye, cricket was cricket then.
    • "Didn't I see you with my own eyes? Coupling with that slut in my own library—"
    • "Drawing-room—"
    • "—that harlot Lade? Isn't your name a byword in London for debauchery and vice, for every kind of lewdness and depravity?"
    • "Not every kind! I never— ... [D]on't hit me! I'm wounded!"
    • Well, even from above and through a muslin screen there was no doubt that she (Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar) was female, and no need for stays to make the best of it, either; she stood like an ebony statue as the two wenches began to bathe her from bowls of water. Some vulgar lout grunted lasciviously, and realizing who it was I shrank back a trifle in sudden anxiety that I'd been overheard.
    • ...the fellow Will was on the floor but had a hold on Spring's ankle, which I thought was uncommon game of him, while my other captor had Spring around the neck. Even as I looked, Spring sent him flying and turned to stamp on Will's face — those days in the Oriel combination room weren't wasted, thinks I...
    • You may ask if a month in the wilds with that great scout taught me much of woodcraft and mountain lore; I can reply with confidence that by the time we reached Fort Laramie, I could deduce by the sight of a broken twig that someone had stepped on it, and when I saw a great pile of dung on the prairie I knew at once that a buffalo had let drive.
    • It's a remarkable thing (and I've traded on it all my life) that a single redeeming quality in a black sheep wins greater esteem than all the virtues in honest men — especially if the quality is courage. I'm lucky, because while I don't have it, I look as though I do, and worthy souls like Carson and Wootton never suspect that I'm running around with my bowels squirting, ready to decamp, squeal, or betray as occasion demands.
    • "When all other trusts fail, turn to Flashman." — Abraham Lincoln. (Quote appears on back cover, not in novel.)
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Last modified on 22 March 2014, at 01:51