Friday, 11 August 2017
Marius Of Marseilles
Marius is important in history and in Poul Anderson's fiction. What I had not known was that "Marius" is also apparently a typical French name. Ian Fleming deploys that fact to comic effect:
"There was a stage-type Marseilles taxi-driver to meet Bond, the archetype of all Mariuses, with the face of a pirate and the razor-sharp badinage of the lower French music-halls."
-Ian Fleming, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (London, 1965), Chapter 23, p. 202.
"...his name turned out in fact to be Marius..." (ibid.) (!)
Another comical encounter with another taxi-driver highlights a point about former enemies (see here and here):
"Bond hired a taxi, and he and the taxi-man, who had been a Luftwaffe pilot during the war and was proud of it, tore round the town together..." (Chapter 26, p. 231)
Bond looks for and buys an engagement ring. Then:
"...the two men went off to celebrate at the Franziskaner Keller, where they ate mounds of Weisswurst and drank four steins of beer each and swore they wouldn't ever fight each other again." (ibid.)
More seriously, an observation about former enemies had been made earlier:
"...the memories of ancient enemies, the French, the Dutch, the Spaniards, even the Americans. All gone, all friends now with one another." (Chapter 20, p. 181)
But, of course, Bond goes on to think about "...the enemies of today..." (ibid.) and the world has changed again since Bond's "today." So I hope that Earth will be one in a science fictional future and not just to fight Merseians!