mrs proudie
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The letters of St Paul have always needed a woman’s touch

Oh my Goodness, what a week! Barchester may have settled into the slumbering season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but the rest of the world continues to be rocked by events, both political and climactic.

Most incredibly, the Pope has been declared a heretic by members of his own church, a tricky situation if ever there was. The faggots are being collected even as we speak. The Revd. Mr. Chantry-Pigg, Anglican chaplain in Rome, writes that the Curia is outraged, the drawbridge has gone up and the Bishop of Rome is in incommunicado for the foreseeable future, sitting in a darkened room, hands clasped over both ears whilst intoning, ‘La, la, la, la,’ several hundred times in a syncopated Jesuitical way. It is his own fault, of course, and that of those who elected him, for what can a crypto-communist peddler of St. Marx bring to the throne of St. Peter other than deception, disharmony and subterfuge? One must always remember he wears red socks. The question is, will officers of the Holy Inquisition come knocking on the doors of the papal apartment asking to ‘have a word’? Oh to be a fly on that wall!

Our charity tombola in aid of the Mexican earthquake was well attended by the clotted cream of Barset society and some well-scrubbed riff-raff. The Archdeacon was delighted to win the colourful sombrero donated by Signora Vesey Neroni (I believe she once had a dalliance with an onion-seller from Valencia named Pepe), and Mr. Harding’s winning ticket brought him a pair of lovely maracas which he intends to shake at Matins. There was quite a hullabaloo when Mr. Slope got his piñata trapped in the revolving door bringing tears to his eyes, but the application of a hobnob-poultice worked wonders. There are some who think the devastation in Mexico City is divine retribution for what happened at Querétaro, but that is just nonsense.

There are signs that Deutschland has begun to erwachen at last, as support for Frau Merkin dwindles and the Alternatives become the third-largest party in the Reichstag. Is this the turning of the tide? True, the ‘Erika’ has returned to the Chancellery, and her arms are still open-wide for the beggars of Bengal and the suicide-bombers of Syria, not to mention their sisters and their cousins and their aunts. Such generosity with other people’s money, such cavalier attitude towards German history and culture, but then Frau Merkin was a whiz at Agitprop in her youth. As Archdeacon Grantly once said, “When is a spy not a spy? Why, when she is Bundeskanzler, of course.”

Constable Knapweed apprehended a heavily-veiled woman in the High Street yesterday after she threw a noxious substance into the faces of passers-by. This sort of thing is becoming increasingly common in the capital these days, with victims being scarred for life. The Jupiter later reported on the incident, and revealed the would-be assassin was Mustafa Fatwah’s mother-in-law (one of the many) and the liquid in question was a batch of Mustafa’s extra-vindaloo curry made to a recipe from one of his other mothers-in-law. Family feuds, eh? Barchester residents were much relieved to learn that the incident had nothing to do with Islam.

Occasionally one lends a hand when my Lord the Bishop struggles to write his Sunday sermon: a flick of the wrist here and a squiggle with the quill there and one brings a certain sparkle to the letters of St. Paul, which I have always felt needed a woman’s touch. It appears that certain officials in the Holy Zollverein helped Mrs. Dismay draft her Florence speech in which she sold out Brexit and the British people in the guise of reasonable compromise. Has ever a British prime minister sunk so low? Despite having supped appeasement-pudding hot, it did not save her from a savaging by the Tusk on the steps of Number 10, no less. The Zollverein wants more, like Gargantua, and one would not be at all surprised to learn Tereason May was planning to give up all: after all, she has given up all sense of decency – and patriotism – long ago.

I fear it gets worse: Mrs. Dismay has now threatened a trade-war with the United States after the latter slapped extortionate tariffs on our Bombardiers. I had no idea we were exporting private soldiers to America, but can only assume it is part of the whittling-down of British armed forces initiated by Mr. Cameldung’s government under the direction of the Boggarts of Berlaymont. Every action and decision taken by this inept, kitten-shoed blunderer has backfired, but then she was Cameldung’s apprentice. She must go, and soon.

Plantagenet Palliser for P.M.!

Or the Moggster.

Oh well, as the miasma of disillusion settles on the groundsheet of optimism, and the tilt-hammer of gender politics beats the bejazus out of the pig-iron of social conservatism, I bid you adieu.