Farewall, Flash Harry

Of all my fictional lovers, Sir Harry Paget Flashman was the most romantic. Through the flames of a Mongol campfire, where I was masquerading as a mercenary youth in this Gaultier spring/summer 08 emsemble (what a collection), I saw a man of military bearing (what a man) lift his face from an earthenware bowl, thick moustache dripping with sweetened kumiz into which he had slugged a considerable volume of gin, and raise a single eyebrow in the direction of my suspiciously slender ankle.

Now of all my fictional lovers, Peter Claire was the most sensual; Titus Groan the most inventive; Niccolo de Fleury the greatest of them all. But I'll never forget the words the Brigadier-General whispered in my trembling ear: 'Now quiet down you devious dollymop, all yer nonsense talk don't signify. Old Flashy has raked and ridden harder than most, and he knows a she-cat when he sees one. Buckle down. There's work to be done.'

Courage and shuffle the cards, George, off to the great Baccarat game in the sky. We salute you.