Four letters written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming are scheduled to hit the auction block next month.
According to a Telegraph article, the letters were written to Duchess Loelia Ponsonby, a close friend of Fleming’s and wife of the 2nd Duke of Westminster.
Literary 007 fans should be well acquainted with the Loelia Ponsonby name as this was personal secretary of Bond, 008 and 0011 in Fleming’s early novels. She retires in 1963’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and was ultimately replaced by Mary Goodnight.
The flirtatious manner of the letters, including jokey declarations of love, echoes the playful exchanges between the characters of Bond and Miss Moneypenny.
One is signed ‘S.W.A.K.’ [sealed with a kiss] while another has the postscript: ‘PS This is a love letter.’ In another, he invites her to the Blenheim Ball, saying: ‘I shall come and wake you with a kiss, I shall sleep outside (I said outside) your door and live on Luft and Liebe – which means air and love…’
Upon returning from a trip to Cannes and tempting her to visit, he wrote: ‘I would coo to you and smooth you down and then you wouldn’t talk so fast and think someone is always standing behind your back.’
While the letters are undated, the subject matter places them sometime in the 1940’s. Discussing the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill (who served as a witness at Ponsonby’s wedding), Fleming says: ‘Winston refuses to join the cabinet except on his own terms. The cabinet is terrified at the idea of letting the fox in among the chickens.’
Of a trip to Moscow Fleming joked: ‘I wrote a world beating memorandum on the Russian army when I got back. The chancelleries are still quaking from it and I expect it will start a war.’
The four letters will be auctioned on Thursday, 13 November at Christie’s, South Kensington. They are expected to fetch up to £3,500.
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