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"Come to make a fourth at gin?"Brian and his wife Victoria have two children. Mimi, his daughter from a previous marriage, is a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. Between acting assignments, says Keith with affection, he spends most of his time "raising the damn kids. It's a 24-hour job. We do a lot of outdoor stuff, because in Hawaii you can, all year round. We go on the beach and camp out and all that crap." The girl slumped sideways off her chair. The earphones slipped off her golden hair on to the floor. For perhaps a second the tiny chirrup of London sounded out into the room. Then it stopped. The buzzer at the Controller's desk in Radio Security had signalled that something was wrong on WXN. On my journey back to Ireland, in the railway carriage, I wrote the first few pages of that story. I had got into my head an idea of what I meant to write — a morsel of the biography of an English clergyman who should not be a bad man, but one led into temptation by his own youth and by the unclerical accidents of the life of those around him. The love of his sister for the young lord was an adjunct necessary, because there must be love in a novel. And then by placing Framley Parsonage near Barchester, I was able to fall back upon my old friends Mrs. Proudie and the archdeacon. Out of these slight elements I fabricated a hodge-podge in which the real plot consisted at last simply of a girl refusing to marry the man she loved till the man’s friends agreed to accept her lovingly. Nothing could be less efficient or artistic. But the characters were so well handled, that the work from the first to the last was popular — and was received as it went on with still increasing favour by both editor and proprietor of the magazine. The story was thoroughly English. There was a little fox-hunting and a little tuft-hunting, some Christian virtue and some Christian cant. There was no heroism and no villainy. There was much Church, but more love-making. And it was downright honest love — in which there was no pretence on the part of the lady that she was too ethereal to be fond of a man, no half-and-half inclination on the part of the man to pay a certain price and no more for a pretty toy. Each of them longed for the other, and they were not ashamed to say so. Consequently they in England who were living, or had lived, the same sort of life, liked Framley Parsonage. I think myself that Lucy Robarts is perhaps the most natural English girl that I ever drew — the most natural, at any rate, of those who have been good girls. She was not as dear to me as Kate Woodward in The Three Clerks, but I think she is more like real human life. Indeed I doubt whether such a character could be made more lifelike than Lucy Robarts.

But the main gist of the matter as regarded Charlotte herself lies outside all these questions. It is found in the simple fact that she determinately stamped down her own personal ambitions, and bent her powers with a most single heart to this task of ‘doing good’; that she resolutely yielded herself and her gifts to the Service of her Heavenly Father, desiring only that His Name might be honoured in what she undertook. Whether she always carried out this aim in the wisest manner is a secondary consideration. From the literary and artistic point of view, one may say that she undoubtedly did make some mistakes. From the standpoint of a simple desire to do good, one may question whether she could not have done yet more good by a different style of writing. But with regard to the purity and earnestness of her desire, with regard to the putting aside of personal ambitions, with regard to the single-heartedness of her aims, there can be no two opinions. And He who looks on the heart, He who gauges our actions not by results but by the motives which prompt them,—He, we may well believe, honoured His servant for her faithful work in His Service.

The leading man came to the narrow break that Bond had found. He grasped a dog by the collar and swung it into the channel. The dog snorted eagerly and paddled forward. The man's eyes squinted at the mangrove roots on either side of the channel to see if they were scratched.

It's none of these things. It's Joanne, one of the tellers.

'Wait and see.' She went back indoors and brought out the balsa wood tub and a great coil of fine quarter-inch rope. She handed the rope to Bond and hoisted the tub on her hip, leading the way along a small path away from the village. The path descended slowly to a small cove in which one rowing-boat, covered with dried reeds to protect it from the sun, was drawn high up on the flat black pebbles. Bond stripped off the reeds and laid them aside and hauled the simple, locally-made craft down to the sea. It was constructed of some heavy wood and lay low but stable in the deeply shelving, totally transparent water. He loaded in the rope and the wooden tub. Kissy had gone to the other side of the little bay and had undone a string from one of the rocks. She began winding it in slowly and at the same time uttering a low, cooing whistle. To Bond's astonishment, there was a flurry in the water of the bay and a big black cormorant shot like a bullet through the shallows and waddled up the beach to Kissy's feet, craning its neck up and down and hissing, apparently in anger. But Kissy bent down and stroked the creature on its plumed head and down the outstretched neck, at the same time talking to it gaily. She came towards the boat, winding up the long line, and the cormorant followed clumsily. It paid no attention to Bond, but jumped untidily over the side of the boat and scrambled on to the small thwart in the bows where it squatted majestically and proceeded to preen itself, running its long bill down and through its breast feathers and occasionally opening its wings to the full extent of their five-foot span and flapping them with gentle grace. Then, with a final shimmy through all its length, it settled down and gazed out to sea with its neck coiled backwards as if to strike and its turquoise eyes questing the horizon imperiously.