01 October 2007

Those Who Knew Them: Miss Moneypenny

Bond lit his first cigarette, one of the Balkan and Turkish "Morlands' Specials" they blended for him in Grosvenor Street. There were three gold bands on the filter, signifying his rank of Commander. They were the only gold bands Bond wanted in his life. He raised the long white tube to his lips. He had no need for women. They were for recreation. Bond needed action and he needed it with men. With a woman there was too much emotion, fogging everything with love and hurt feelings. If Bond had to have anyone under him he wanted it to be a man. He wanted someone as hard and strong as he was. And yet ...

He sipped at his coffee - strong, black, the way he liked it - as he looked out across the plage towards the little boats that bobbed in the sea. He thought about her. Moneypenny. She was different to all the rest. He could rely on her.

They had been together for more than 23 years. Bond still held a precise mental picture of her appearance when they first met. Her hair was a rich chestnut, artfully cut and set to frame her elegant face down to her firm, slightly mannish jaw. She had a good, strong nose. Her eyes gazed back at him amusedly from beneath her carefully arched eyebrows. Her lipstick was rose, picking out lips that indicated to Bond a pleasing mixture of sense and sensuality. Around her neck was a teal scarf, tucked into a sleeveless shift in Navy blue, which showed off her long and well-formed arms to good advantage. Her voice was deep and rich, with a Canadian twang that sat uneasily for an ostensibly English civil servant, just as the strong Scots accent and shlight shpeech impediment Bond affected in their early years together had gibed with his Eton and Fettes background.

Bond had little use for reflection - it was a womanly way to pass the time - but he thought back now to the years they had spent together. He knew he had changed a lot. He had put on weight and lost hair. He had been an Australian male model, a saturnine Welsh Mancunian, a suave Irishman and for several years he had been little more than a quizzically raised eyebrow on a wide-lapelled safari suit, but throughout it all Moneypenny had remained unchanged and unchanging. Wherever he had been, whoever he had been and with whomever he had been, Moneypenny had always been ready to greet him with a warm smile, a clever remark and a fond sigh. Bond knew he had used her badly, as he used all women badly. He could only hope that she forgave him.

Moneypenny was dead. Bond pushed away his breakfast plate of three scrambled eggs and bacon uneaten. As he lifted his cigarette to his lips once more his thumb grazed his cheek, discovering an unexpected wetness. He looked down. The copy of The Times that had brought him news of her death showed the damp evidence of many tears. Bond shook himself, leapt from his chair and reached for his holster. It was time to shoot someone.

The As A Dodo Editors add: Lois Maxwell, born 14 February 1927, best known among her many other roles on stage and screen for playing Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond movies, died on 29 September 2007. She will be remembered fondly by anyone who ever thrilled to the sound of the Dr No theme or whose heart ever leapt at the words "James Bond will return".

1 Comment:

Lord Higham-Johnson said...

Beautiful, lads. Sadly missed.