Sunday, 1 April 2018

Chives: His Exits And His Entrances

Dominic Flandry's servant, Chives, first appeared in print in 1954:

"An apologetic cough brought [Flandry's] head round. His valet, the only other being in the lodge, had emerged from it. This was a native of Shalmu, remarkably humanoid, short, slender, with hairless green skin, prehensile tail, and impeccable manners. Flandry had dubbed him Chives and taught him things which made him valuable in more matters than laying out a dress suit.
"'Pardon me, sir,' he said. His Anglic was as nearly perfect as vocal organs allowed. 'Admiral Fenross is calling from the city.'"
-Poul Anderson, "The Warriors from Nowhere" IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 303-337 AT pp. 306-307.

This brief introduction tells us in essence all that we need to know about Chives. As for the "...more matters..." in which he is valuable, Chives ends this short story by saying:

"'...the Duke was personally directing the assault on you. I fear I took the liberty of disintegrating his Grace. Does her Highness take sugar or lemon in her tea?'"
-op. cit., p. 337.

However, in chronological order of fictitious events, Chives' earliest appearance is in "A Handful of Stars"/"Hunters of the Sky Cave," first published in 1959:

"Chives, valet cum pilot cum private gunman, slipped the yacht smoothly into berth at the Crystal Moon."
-Poul Anderson, "Hunters of the Sky Cave" IN Sir Dominic Flandry..., pp. 149-337 AT I, p. 154.

This story goes on to describe Chives more fully later.

After that, Flandry's Shalmuan servant appears in only two more works. In A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows (1974), Chives, whose legal status was initially that of Flandry's slave, tells Kossara Vymezal how he had come into Flandry's possession. Thus, Chives has an "origin story." In The Rebel Worlds (1969), Anderson had backtracked further: Flandry witnesses Terran injustice, including crucifixion and enslavement, on Shalmu.

How do we last see Chives? He is possibly going to die in space:

"'Chives,' [Flandry] mumbled, 'wake up. Please.'
"Though would that be any mercy?"
-Poul Anderson, A Stone In Heaven IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 1-188 AT XIII, p. 177.

However, neither of them dies on that occasion. Our last sight of Chives is this:

"Chives took a fishing rod in another direction, promising trout meuniere for dinner."
-op. cit., XIV, p. 184.


From the fact that Chives is not mentioned in The Game Of Empire, we infer that he had died by then and thus that he had not survived for the extra decade for which Flandry had hoped. But we remember Chives with his fishing rod.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I would have added that Chives had accepted Flandry's offer of manumission by the time of the events recorded in A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS. Yes, I too think Chives had died sometime during the period between A STONE IN HEAVEN and THE GAME OF EMPIRE. I thought it surprising Anderson had not mentioned his death in the latter book.

And besides being a space ship pilot and valet, Chives was also an expert at using weapons and a chef. The impression I got of many Shalmuans is that many, because of Aaron Snelund's bad governorship, they tended to sign up as space hands, enter personal service a la Chives, or even setting themselves up on Terra itself running businesses like high end restaurants.