Goodness! In light of the Prime Minister’s warnings of world-wide conflagration should we dare to sever links with the Zollverein, the Archdeacon has taken it upon himself to recruit and organise Barchester’s very own home guard. So far he has.. ahem.. persuaded the gentlemen of Hiram’s Hospital to fall in line, and Bertie Stanhope said he would if the uniform was dazzling enough and displayed his manly physique to best effect. Mr. Slope immediately produced a tape measure and offered to check Bertie’s inside leg – he’s so helpful (and quick off the mark). I’m not sure the Archdeacon is of a military mien, but one qualification stands out – he can bellow for Britain. The troop mustered on Cloister Green yesterday and I went to watch. The Archdeacon waved his grandfather’s sword about quite professionally, but alas the gentlemen were somewhat ill-equipped. Mr. Bunce strapped a colander to his head with string; Job Skulpit presented arms with a hoe; Spriggs and Moody had no weapons to speak of but managed to look fierce, and Jonathan Crumple showed what he could do with a pair of shears. Brave lads each and every one of them… but their efforts were as preposterous as the Prime Minister’s claim. I do hope the man is seeing his physician. Regularly.
I sat with Mr. Harding on Monday afternoon discussing the Jupiter article on the London Mayoral election. One is baffled, certainly, why London has a Lord Mayor and a Mayor, which seems an embarrassment of riches, but I digress.
“What will happen to music when the Mohammedans seize power Mrs. Proudie,” asked Mr. Harding, his voice trembling with emotion.
I took a deep breath: “I fear it will be abolished, along with art, philosophy and huge swathes of literature and Ant and Dec. People forget that in 1789, the majority of Frenchmen wanted to reform, not destroy the monarchy, setting out laws that recognised people’s rights. The Jacobins and fervent revolutionaries were in a minority, yet this radical minority seized power and unleashed the Terror. Moderate citizens were cowed. It is a pattern the world has, and will. see again and again.’
“Then we are doomed, Mrs. P,” said Mr. H.
“We always were. Do help yourself to hobnobs.”
A domestic snippet: my Lord the Bishop is never one to make objection (I don’t let him as a rule) but he took me by surprise at supper on Tuesday. I had instructed cook to find something delectable from Monsieur Escoffier’s book of recipes, and waited expectantly for the compliments.
“GARLIC! Are you mad? For goodness sake my dear, we are not savages!” he spluttered.
My word… my Lord the Bishop has a spine. Oh well, back to Mrs. Beaton and suet.
The Jupiter reports disturbing developments north of the border, where Scottish police are busy turning themselves into legions of little prodnoses, poking into everybody’s business. Why, a photograph of a dog raising its paw was deemed ‘offensive’ and resulted in the owners arrest… what would have been the response had it cocked its leg up I wonder? I also understand children are now placed under the watchful eye of a state-appointed Inquisitor who can override the wishes of parents at the drop of a hat. First Minister Krankie is a sinister besom and no mistake. This does not seem British to me – more like the secret police of Tsarist Russia.
My scribblings are somewhat light this week as I have had a funeral to arrange. I hope my friends understand. I shall look forward to next week and brighter days. Adieu xx