Lawks-a-mercy! The good folk of Barchester have been whipped up into a frenzy of indifference over last Wednesday’s political debate, which I believe was broadcast by the Bolshevik Corporation in front of one of their ‘invited’ audiences of unbiased rabid lefties – as far as Mr. Nuttall was concerned it was a bit like Marie Antoinette offering cake to a committee of fishwives. I hardly ever watch the Electrical Magic Lantern, so I’m glad to say I missed the organised chaos which ensued. I do wonder how they get away with it. More than ever I am convinced we are a nation captained by poltroons and brainwashed by villains, less brave than we once were and certainly more intimidated.
Mr. Farron, fresh from his cabbage patch, blathered on about nothing in particular, as is the way of all Liberals when they open their mouths. Ms. Krankie continued to beat the nationalist drum (“…as frenzied as a blind lesbian in a fish shop” according to the Archdeacon), and Comrade Corbynov proclaimed the shape of things to come when Britain abandons its armed forces and supplies all citizens with white flags (and a Health and Safety course explaining how to wave them) free of charge. I refrain from commenting on Ms. Wood’s contribution as she is Welsh and cannot help it.
How wise of St. Theresa of the Kitten Shoes not to sit alongside these squabblers – yet has she missed a trick and opened herself up to criticism by not joining in? In my humble opinion she is not as sure-footed as some make out. This election might prove to be a mistake, for the polls indicate support for her is slipping away, and in an age of bombs on the street and scimitar-wielding mentally-ill lone wolves, it does her no credit in the eyes of many to be seen in the company of Saudi oil sheiks, not to mention the suppression of a ‘very sensitive report’ into Saudi Arabian funding of Jihadi groups in the United Kingdom (which begs several questions as to why suppress? Should we not be told?). No wonder there are wild, extravagant parties at Mustafa Fatwah’s every night. Well, we shall see. ‘Che sera, sera’, as Signora Vesey Neroni would say.
A recent visit to the Science Museum in London seems to have inspired Mr. Slope with things technological. All week we have been subjected to sounds of hammering and clunking coming from his room in the East Wing. When questioned at breakfast, he would only reply, “Progress, dear Madam, progress!” with a conspiratorial smirk on his face. Most annoying.
Then yesterday evening, my Lord the Bishop and I were summoned to the Great Hall by a beaming chaplain standing before a large object covered by a large patchwork quilt.
“Behold!” cried Mr. Slope, “My gift to mankind and the Church! A mechanical Archdeacon, steam powered and fully functional. It can roll its eyes, wag its finger and bluster in three languages. I have given it wheels instead of feet so that it can make its own way on parochial visitations.”
Off came the quilt and there stood the strangest thing, a veritable Frankensteinian construction made from cast iron, galvanised tin and bits of copper, dressed in clerical garb, the spitting image of Archdeacon Grantly. It took several minutes before we regained our equilibrium. My Lord the Bishop cleared his throat and asked Mr. Slope to give a practical demonstration.
“At once, my Lord,” said Mr. Slope, whereupon he slid his hand under his creation’s clerical apron and pressed a button. There was a great gathering of air, a whirring of cogs, before the whole contraption exploded with a bang, the blast throwing us all several feet across the flags. In truth, it was Archdeacon Grantly to a tee, but for the Church a modernisation too far. We left the hapless Mr. Slope to pick up the pieces and retired to the Red drawing room for a restorative Earl Grey and hobnobs.
Time’s winged chariot as usual puts a spoke into matters, so I must press on. I am going to the Barchester Goethe Institute this evening for a Schnapps und Shuhplattler Fest, which is being held as a sort of apology for Frau Merkin’s latest remarks and those of the ghastly Schulz, who seems determined to upset everybody. Herr Schulz calling President Trump ‘unacceptable’ and ‘autocratic’ is like the pot calling the kettle.
So until next week, dear hearts, adieu.