I have been requested to convey Savage Beare’s sincere apologies that he is unable to fulfil his monthly obligation here but he’s “having a touch of the old trouble”, as he puts it. Touch of the old trouble, my Aunt Fanny! The silly old sod was performing his steward’s role at the club’s annual celebratory dinner last night (of which more anon) and came home in what he would describe as a tired an emotional state.
Tired and emotional, my aspidistra…
“Poll, old girl,” quoth he, as he headed for the po for the umpteenth time, “I fear I have drunk my half glass of wine from a glass which was dirty.”
Dirty glass, my astrakhan collar! Half a gallon of wine and all the rest to chase it down with. Serves him right if he’s poleaxed on the bed. And woe betide him if he makes a mess.
What a night! I was helping to prepare the buffet, wrapping pigs in their blankets, stuffing the chicken parcels and keeping Jacob’s hands off the sausages. I saw the dray arrive with the wine and beer and wondered if we were entertaining the entire battalion of guards. Not that the guards aren’t frequent visitors to the club. There’s an honourable tradition of the boys in uniform eking out their income by “obliging” gentlemen and a fair amount of that obliging’s been done on those very premises.
I’ve seen things that would make your eyes pop out and do somersaults.
Anyway, the quantity of drink made my mind boggle.
“Well, Poll, when we celebrate, we do it in style!” says Lord Anthony, as he cracked open the champagne. “Will you take a glass with me and wet the evening’s head?”
I couldn’t refuse, could I? Nor the second or third. I’m not sure who was more pickled, me or the onions! Being a true gentleman, his Lordship paid for me to take a cab home. I wish he’d paid for Beare to go and stay somewhere and not come home banging on the door at bugger it o’clock saying he feared he had misplaced his keys. Misplaced them, my Woolwich Arsenal! Dropped them down the lavvy, most likely, the great hairy pillock.
And now I have to hasten away to help clear up the club. Saint Sebastian alone knows what state it’ll be in, but at least I’ve been promised a handsome inducement by his Lordship. One guinea for putting the place in order, two if no questions asked. Looks like I’ll be keeping mum like I did last time.
It’s frustrating, though. Ever since last year’s equivalent knees-up I’ve been wondering about things. What did they use those handcuffs for? Why were there three feather boas that looked like they’d been dragged through the streets? And who was the wiry looking bloke with the odd marks on his arms, wearing nothing but a deerstalker hat and a smile…?