Goodness! Though well-acquainted with the modern obsession with ‘make-overs’, I was nonetheless surprised when The Jupiter published photographs of Mr. Lincoln arriving in London to wish Her Majesty well. Gone were the stovepipe hat, frock coat and goatee in favour of something altogether more ‘Showboat’. Polishing my pince-nez and reading the caption, I realised it was not Mr. Lincoln after all but a Mr. O’Barmy, obviously Irish (or perhaps a typo). Telling us all to remain in the German Zollverein for the sake of Uncle Sam will, with luck, have the opposite effect and we plucky Britons, waving our Agincourt fingers, will vote to leave. One suspects a Faustian bargain has been struck – ‘I will help you if you commit British troops to action in Libya’, for example? We shall see. Mr. Slope confided that he, too, has a ‘special relationship’ but we had best not go there. It was noted the President was keen to visit the Globe Theatre – thankfully for Anglo-American relations it was more Twelfth Night than ‘The Glorious Twelfth’, and none of the fawning luvvies was called Booth.
One’s hearing is not what it was. “Prince is dead!”, blubbed Mary Bold, handkerchief pressed firmly against her nose. I completely missed the fact she hadn’t used the definite article, and therefore was under the impression one of the Royal Family had shuffled off this mortal coil. But which one? Albert the Good? Phil the Greek? Charles the Tampon? I had called at Mr. Harding’s for tiffin, not for 20 Questions, and in any case Mary was too distraught to answer. Calmly Mr. Harding explained that the poor deceased was an American singer and sex maniac. “Oh, a musician?” I repeated, never having heard of him. Mr. Harding pulled a face – “I wouldn’t go that far, Mrs. Proudie.”
I’m not sure what is going on at Snowflake College, Oxbridge, but clearly the tail is wagging the dog! Archdeacon Grantly was visiting his old friend the master Dr. Gramsci-Doublethink the other day, and returned with a rum story. The students had invited a Mr. B. Johnson, whom I believe is the Turkish Mayor of London, to speak to them. Aghast at Mr. J’s comments about President O’Barmy’s origins and accusing him of ‘disrespect’, they withdrew the invitation so that everyone feels safe and doesn’t have to listen to nasty things. “Safe space?” roared the Archdeacon. “I’d give the blighters space alright – extended study leave to the North West Frontier. Those Pathans would soon whip them into shape!” At this Mr. Slope’s ears pricked up. “Perhaps I could go along as chaplain?” he enquired. I do worry about him.
Signora Neroni went for her check-up at Dr. Fillgrave’s Surgery on Tuesday only to find her bath-chair blocked at the entrance by the said medical gentleman waving a placard. “I’m on strike,” declared Fillgrave, “along with all the other junior doctors in Barsetshire!” Dr. Fillgrave is 80 if he’s a day, as the Signora pointed out, and could only be considered ‘junior’ if Methuselah was Chairman of the BMA. “It’s all the fault of that Mr. Berkeley-Hunt and his dastardly plan to force the entire medical profession to be chained to their stethoscopes working 200 hours a week,” according to Dr. Fillgrave, who was frothing at the mouth. “I had no idea you were a Bolshevik, Dr. Fillgrave,” said the Signora indignantly before declaring herself ‘on strike’ and slapping the old fool across the chops. One disapproves of the Signora, of course, but on this occasion I find her modus operandi invigorating.
None was more surprised than I when Dr. Livingstone, explorer of the Dark Continent and renowned Newtophile, spurned the crocodiles of the Zambesi for shark infested political waters, but life is full of these twists and turns. Now the former mayor has been thrown out of his party for being beastly to the Tribe of David (personally I had no idea Mr. Cameron had such a large family, but one lives and learns). It will all come out in the whitewash – it always does.
Adieu dear things, adieu! I am taking the barouche to Hogglestock to counsel Mrs. Quiverful on Planned Parenthood. I fear that particular horse has long since bolted, but duty calls.