In every film there is something, or someone you dislike. Sometimes the dislike is tolerable, and sometimes it’s stomach turning. For me it’s almost stomach turning, and it’s almost every scene with George Sanders who plays Miles Fairley – a insufferable rogue, cad, skirt chaser who is extremely conceited, a fellow who seems to think he’s gods gift to women, and a legend in his own mind. The first time he encounters Lucy is when he’s leaving his publishers. He sees Lucy on the stairs, and watches her climb the stairs he just came down. He’s dressed rather respectably, which is a one hundred and eighty degree reversal to what’s going on his head. He instantly makes an effort to make Lucy the conquest of the day.
He follows her up the stairs, and in the waiting room of his publishers office. There Lucy approaches the clerk with a very simple request to see Mr Sproule . The clerk informs her that she must have an appointment to see Mr. Sproule. She counters by stating very simply “but I have a manuscript” . Miles Fairley listens to this exchange, and offers his eleven o’clock appointment to Lucy. The clerk objects to this idea, but is swiftly put in his place by Fairley.
As eleven o’clock approaches Fairley pours on the charm by the bucket load. Lucy is more than surprised at Mr. Fairleys lack of good manners. Miles insists she take the appointment, which she politely turns down for the second time much to his dismay. She walks away from him, and inspects a bookshelf. Miles, having had time to regroup, asks about the book. He asks if it’s “feminine literature” – and if you ask me it’s none of his concern. He then proceeds to politely browbeat her into taking the appointment. This time she finds out why. Fairley arrived for his eleven o’clock appointment at 10:30 and was unwilling to wait. Lucy comes to the conclusion that if this fool won’t use his appointment she will.
As she enters the office Mr. Sproule is chastising Fairley for producing a sizeable amount of garbage. When he looks up and sees Lucy, and not Miles Fairley, he asks just who she is. He then launches into a diatribe that every woman in the British Isles can pen a book, but there is no way he’s going to read it. He then asks her to leave, and opens the office door. Captain Gregg then allows his voice to be heard, and says “come back here you blasted grampus !”. For those who don’t know what a grampus is it’s a term for whale. It can apply to all whales, but is used most commonly when referring to the killer whale. Mr. Sproule is rather portly, and rather sensitive about his weight.
“Who the devil are you ?”
“And you look like such a nice lass”
Sproule politely admonishes Lucy for saying what he heard, and Lucy quickly apologizes. She equally as quickly gets Sproules interested by telling him she has a biography, a record of a sailors life. She adds it’s “unvarnished”. This gets Sproules interest even more, and he says he has a few minutes to read the manuscript. Before long those few minutes turn into an hour, then two, then three. Other clients of Mr. Sproule come and go, but he is totally absorbed in the unvarnished biography of Captain X, the pen name Captain Gregg has chosen for himself. After reading every single page Sproule says its been a very long time since enjoyed such an entertaining read. He assures Lucy he he will publish the book. But he also makes a request. He would to meet Captain X. Lucy explains that would be most difficult as he is “away”. Sproule is so taken by Lucy and the book that he proclaims it to be “a mans book”, and after exchanging goodbyes, leaves.
“ Aye, this is a mans book”
As Lucy exits having conquered the publishing world, but is followed by Miles Fairley. It’s raining rather ferociously and Fairley points out that Lucys hat will not offer her much protection from the elements. Fairley has an umbrella, but he will get soaked if he walks a city block. He hails Lucy a cab. She qets in, and asks the driver to take her to Victoria Station. Fairley says he’s going the same direction so they share the cab. Fairley looks extremely proud of himself, somewhat like a cat about to pounce upon some poor unsuspecting creature.
During the cab ride Fairley confesses he is the author of children's books, and his pen name is “Uncle Neddy”. This comes as complete surprise to Lucy who claims her daughters favorite author is Uncle Neddy. In truth Anna Muir detests all the books written by Uncle Neddy (good taste kid). Before long the cab ride is over (thank god). Lucy bids Miles Fairley adieu not expecting to see him ever again. After Lucy boards the train she stands in the carriage doorway wiping away residue from the steam engine. Miles lunges forward very quickly, and grabs the handkerchief.
Captain Daniel Gregg makes an appearance at this point. Instead of congratulating Lucy he growls about the way Fairley was making a fuss over Lucy. Lucy then comes to the conclusion her other worldly friend is jealous. He maintains that jealousy is malady of the flesh. But even after claiming he’s not jealous he moves to the other side of the compartment, still growling about Fairley, and pouting like a little boy.
Jealousy is a malady of the flesh
Daniel continues to comment on Fairley, calling him a “perfumed parlor snake”. Lucy is having a hard time disguising her laughter at Daniels obvious discomfort. The captain practically vaults across the compartment, and again sits beside Lucy. Just as he does an elderly gentleman appears in the doorway. “Clear off you blasted mud turtle” Daniel roars. The gentleman disappears as quickly as he appeared, while Lucy and Daniel start uncontrolled giggling.
The gentleman was simply looking for a seat. The compartment Lucy and Daniel are in can hold 6-8 passengers. However in this case he can see only Lucy. The gentleman is obviously taken aback at being called a “mud turtle”, and moves on.