Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The King's Head

Jacobs, let me tell you that last night I found myself in a situation most unbecoming for a Gentleman of my standing. It was nearly as awful as the time my carriage driver got lost on the way to Lady Julia’s townhouse, and we ended up in a lesser known corner of the ‘East End’. In polite society, one tries never to mention that place, and now I know why – a stultifying representation of hell on Earth, if ever there was one. Apologies for my digression Jacobs, but I have to frame my evening in a context you may understand, to fully portray the horror.

So I set off the local pub, a place called 'The King's Head', with ‘Fusilier George’, as my uncle has named him. Really, he is only a gamekeeper, and I had to put up with his constant wittering on the subject of pheasant roosting patterns. A thoroughly boring man – now I understand why these classes are so obsessed with killing each other.

Finally, after what seemed an age, we arrived at the Kings Head, and my immediate concern was to consume as much gin as possible, in order to overwhelm Fusilier George’s most terrible monologues, which by then had moved onto a discourse on the growing seasons of bracken.

But Jacobs, let me tell you, the greatest horror was soon to occur. On my appeal for gin, the uncouth landlord, as these types grandly call themselves, informs me in no uncertain terms that there is no gin! Although Fusilier George offered condolences, my most urgent thought was to skewer the bar keep with my cane sword. Luckily, I held back (bearing in mind the warning I received from Inspector Barratt of the yard, after that unseemly incident in George Henry Lee's) and I managed instead to quickly quaff the shot of emergency gin from the handle of my cane sword.

It was, however, a close call, Jacobs.

All was a not a complete loss, as I was introduced to a cider, peculiar to the region, and peculiar in its unbridled strength. I was assured by the inquisitive yokels that its strength was on a similar note to that of Gin, and if I am honest, the taste was not dissimilar either.

I’m afraid I can’t remember much more Jacobs, past three large flagons of this cider, which I drank with improper haste. My memory is a smoke coloured haze, punctuated with blotched faces of the local peasants singing crude renditions of our finest band marches, and calls to arms against the Zulus. Further, Jacobs, I have woken this morning with a strange hat, fashioned of folded menus upon my head, and a small mammal, which the chambermaid has assured me is, a ‘vole’, attached to the end of my cane sword. I am concerned that I may have behaved with undue care to my rigorous stature as a Gentleman.

Never-the-less, I have risen to a glorious day Jacobs, although it is the first I will have to spend with my Uncle. I am, of course, not looking forward to this, but needs must if I am going to ingratiate myself suitably with the old duffer. I shall be in touch soon, and in the meantime if you can contact The Indian Commissioner and make enquiries as to the whereabouts of my ‘shipment’, I would be most grateful.

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