Dinner with Vesper

In chapter eight, Bond is getting ready for the night battle in the casino with Le Chiffre. He goes back to his room, and takes the “long hot bath followed by an ice cold shower” and lays down to plan further for the evening. He needs to figure out what roles Mathis, Leiter and the girl are going to play for the evening. As he gets ready we have our second reference to Hoagy Carmichael in the book. Earlier, the girl had remarked to Mathis that Bond looked like Carmichael.

The picture above is of Carmichael. Bond doesn’t see the resemblance, mainly because of the thin vertical scar he himself has on his right cheek. He finishes dressing and then goes to meet the girl for dinner.

Bond is again struck by her beauty and they go in to dinner. Bond finally learns her “Christian name”, which is Vesper. Vesper Lynd. (Note: In the original TV version of Casino Royale Vesper was played by Linda Christian, is there an irony there…”Christian name”…Linda Christian? OK, maybe it’s the Martini I just had that talking here…) In any case, Vesper explains how her parents came up with the name, and Bond decides that it is the perfect name for his signature martini, described in the previous chapter.

They have dinner and again, we get some big words that us ignorant Americans (speak for myself, I know) probably don’t use everyday. Vesper orders her meal thusly:

I’d like to start with caviar and then have a plain grilled rogan de veau with pommes souffles. And then I’d like to have fraises des bois with a lot of cream.

What she actually ordered was beef kidney with apple souffles, followed by strawberries with cream. Bond on the other hand, says

I would like a very small tournedos, underdone with sauce Bearnaise and a coeur d’artichaut. While Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have half of an avacado pear with a little french dressing.

Bond has ordered a small round steak which is taken from the tenderloin heart, with Bearnaise Sauce and and artichoke heart. He then haggles with the sommelier (Wine Steward) over the choice of champagne for dinner. Bond admits to Vesper that he takes “a ridiculous pleasure” in what he eats and drinks. He says that usually while on a job he eats alone and the meals make it more interesting when he takes trouble. Another insight into the inner mind of James Bond. The chapter ends with Vesper promising Bond to tell him what Mathis has learned about the bomb incident earlier in which Bond narrowly escaped with his life.