Willie’s Girls (remembered)
Willie Garvin: - Character traits, fate and portrayals - Willie’s Girls - Willie’s Psalms and saints - Outdoor sports and activities - Skills and hobbys - Music - Languages Willie speaks
As Modesty tells Tarrant in chapter 1 of Modesty Blaise:
'Willie moves around quite a lot—he has a wonderfully varied list of girlfriends. From premier cru' to 'honest vin du pays.'
Some of the girlfriends are current, others remembered from his pre-Network days.
Black text refers to the books and short stories, blue text to the strips.
Remembered - Recent and current
Willie ran a hand down his cheek. ‘Lovely,’ he said. ‘Thanks, Princess.’ He stretched luxuriously. ‘Did I ever tell you about that girl in Santiago?’
‘I don’t think so. Not in Santiago.’ She rinsed the razor under the basin tap and dried it.
‘Very good she was,’ Willie said reminiscently. ‘ ’Ighly passionate. But she wasn’t interested ’cept when I was bristly. Didn’t like a beard, but couldn’t stand a clean shave. It ’ad to be bristles.’
‘Kinky. But harmless.’ Modesty closed the razor, put it on a small shelf, and stretched out on the other bunk. ‘What happened, Willie?’
‘Well, nothing much. I wasn’t there long. And anyway, it’s ’ard just to stay bristly. She married a barber. He used to run the ’air-clippers over his chin. That way he was all set, twenty-four hours a day. When I saw ’im again two years later he looked just about ready to go up with the blind.’
(Modesty Blaise, chapter 16)
Willie: ’Ere, did I ever tell you about a girl I used to know ... in Marseilles ... who was a champion weight-lifter?
... as he is carrying Sir Gerald out of von Schuyler's castle.
(Top Traitor, panel 855)
‘I ’ad a girl once who was mad serious about golf,’ Willie said reminiscently, not looking up from his task. ‘ ’Bout six months ago. Aileen, her name was. She came from Scotland. Tallish, lovely body, marvellous complexion. Only two things interested ’er. Playing golf and going to bed. Real obsessions they were. Only trouble was, she couldn’t keep ’em separate.’
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 3)
‘Did I ever tell you about that Japanese girl pearl diver I used to know?’ he said.
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 10)
‘Some people are born lucky,’ Willie Garvin said reminiscently, putting a glass into Tarrant’s hand. ‘I knew a girl in Bangkok once, and her father was in the fertiliser business. He drove a sewage cart. Well, one day—’
‘We’ll have that later, Willie love.’
(Sabre-Tooth, chapter 21)
‘I’ve ’ad worse lumps. Did I ever tell you about a girl I used to know in a village near Heraklion? Aliki, her name was. She was crazy jealous.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 7)
Willie Garvin returned to his breakfast. ‘Your whiskers keep growing for quite a while after you’re dead,’ he said reminiscently. ‘I found that out when I was knocking around in Rio.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 19)
Willie Garvin came up with a pile of clothes, his own and Modesty’s. ‘I knew a nurse in Liverpool once,’ he said, pulling on trousers over his wet shorts. ‘She’d got a marvellous theory about the best way to sweat out a cold. All you needed was a double bed, four ’ot water bottles. And her.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 25)
I once took an American girl for a week's shark-fishing around the Marquesas, and we never saw a fin!
(The Galley Slaves, panel 1582.)
I used to know a girl rowing champion once—Maureen, lived at Henley—six and a quarter inch chest-expansion she'd got, no kidding.
(The Galley Slaves, panel 1682.)
During the leisurely ascent, watching his small air bubbles to make sure he did not rise faster than they did, it occurred to him that the memory stirred by the vacuum action of the sea urchin concerned a remarkable girl called Dorah he had once known for a while in Portsmouth.
(A Taste for Death, chapter 1)
‘Kept me out of mischief, too,’ Willie added, then grinned suddenly. ‘Except in Papeete. Met a girl called Lala who took a shine to me. After three weeks I could ’ardly stand up. Then I found she was the local witch-woman an’ was priming me with love potions. Lucky I was only after a couple of small black pearls there.’
(A Taste for Death, chapter 10)
‘I was in a circus once, with a girl from Cadiz.’
(A Taste for Death, chapter 16)
Madge Baker was a woman a few years older than Modesty and of infinite energy, most of which she devoted to good works of various kinds. The rest she devoted to men, a subject in which her immense enthusiasm and cheerful inventiveness had made her highly qualified. Willie had once spent a stimulating month with her in Greece, an experience he recalled with pleasure as he folded a pound note and put it in the collecting box.
(The Soo Girl Charity)
‘I once knew a girl who was a bit like the way this bloke [Pennyfeather] sounds. Blundered around full of goodwill like a St Bernard puppy. She was a nurse, come to think of it. I got quite paternal about ’er. Well, not exactly paternal. She was lovely to sleep with. Made you feel good, like after a sauna.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 1.)
‘We all just called ’er Annie the Bang at the orphanage. She was the caretaker’s daughter, and ’is name was Old Creep.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 3. The mention of conkers inspires the plan to steal Brunel's safe.)
‘Brenda. Bright girl, about twenty-eight. Very passionate she turned out to be. Liked a romp in the open air. Smell of new-mown grass, the whisper of the breeze, and all that nymph and satyr stuff. She ’ad a little cottage in Devon I went to.’
(The Impossible Virgin, chapter 13.)
Willie: I once had a girlfriend who was a hymenopterist…used to talk about wasps in ’er sleep.
Modesty: I didn't think your girlfiends got any sleep.
(Million Dollar Game, panel 6698)
“I once knew a girl who was a dactyliomancist,” said Willie Garvin. He sat on a high stool in the big kitchen of the penthouse, eating raisins from a jar at his elbow.
(The Silver Mistress, chapter 4)
‘I once knew a girl called Rosita. Little Spanish girl she was, very passionate. Used to wear those big ornamental combs in ’er ’air. Did I ever tell you about ’er, Princess?’
(Last Day in Limbo, chapter 3)
‘Nothing cracked, Princess. I’ve ’ad worse than this from Siv when she was feeling romantic.’
(Last Day in Limbo, chapter 5)
“She was with some archeological dig working out from a little village north of Tuz Golu, and ’er name was Anita. She was a very literary girl, and crazy about Ernest Hemingway. Seemed to take a liking to me, so I went back to the village with ’er for a few days. Thought I’d pick up a bit of culture.”
(Dragon’s Claw, chapter 9)
“Well … I met ’er when I was fifteen, and the orphanage put me out to learn a trade. There were two other lads in the workshop with me, and we used to call ’er Amazing Grace … she was about thirty, I suppose, married to a bloke much older who ran this radio and TV repair shop where we worked. She was plump and chirpy, with a pretty face and a two-track mind. No interest in anything except bed sports and watching television. Any television, from university stuff to kid’s stuff.”
(The Xanadu Talisman, chapter 3)
“Well … here it is, Princess. I once knew a girl called Genevieve who suffered from arachibutyrophobia.”
(Dead Man’s Handle, chapter 10)
Willie impresses the tribespeople by breathing fire.
Modesty: I didn't know you could do that.
Willie: It never came up before, Princess, but I once ’ad a girlfriend in a circus who was a fire-eater. (The Iron God, panel 3236.)
Having disguised himself as an elderly gardener and overcome the abductors Tarquin and Damion, Willie says the Giles: "It gives you an edege when they think you're a push-over. Haven't had so much fun since I took Rita to Rio."
That is all we are told about this Rita, but she is obviously not the same as Rita (1).
(The Young Mistress, panel 7812)
Erstwhile contortionist in Gogol's circus, later with Ringwell's circus.
(Ivory Dancer, panels 7892 seq.)
Modesty: You were out with Susie that night. How is she, Willie? Still best described as an affectionate anaconda?
Willie: Supple as ever, Princess.
(The Aristo, panel 8608)
Jason: How is it you came out ahead of Modesty and Uncle Gerald?
Willie: I thought I'd spend a bit of time in Dunedin with a girl I used to know. Met her when she was an air-hostess. Nice, lively girl. "Fly me, Willie," she used to say.
Willie: I found the ’ouse but she’d got married and ’er ’usband answered the door. I ’ad to pretend I was selling insurance.
(The Maori Contract, panel 8804a)