Academies, Academy status, ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, Uncategorized

Ignoramus et Ignorabimus or the Antonio Gramsci Academy of Excellence

aubrey-smith-dogs-fauntleroy

This post is dedicated to a well loved 19th century novel though, alas, the subject matter has been strongly influenced by American’isms.

Mrs Anabelle Hutchens is at home, a widowed mother of one she should by rights be attending to her son’s education, but he is a Lord and she a mere commoner. And so, having been lured abroad by the promise of an ‘allowance’, she now unhappily resides at Elderberry Cottage. Whilst her son (recently returned from Eton) takes up residence at Font-Le-Noy Castle with his Grand-Pa-Pa Lord Hesketh-Elderberry-Font-Le-Noy.

“You must, I suppose, accompany his Lordship on the hunt, though I would advise you to keep a discrete distance. His Lordship is not overly fond of Americans, even if they have had a hand in siring the next heir to the Hesketh-Elderberry-Font-Le-Noy Estate.”

Mrs Annabelle Hutchens is at home though she wishes she wasn’t, she has seen next to nothing of her son since they first arrived in England and the last thing on her mind is a fox hunt. “To hunt a fox across field and forest and dell it seems so unconscionably cruel!”.

Lord Clare chuckles at this,”Foxes?” he replies, “Fox hunting? A mundane practice! Oh no my dear we will not be culling foxes! Lord Elderberry eschews the traditional hunt, as do I. Nevertheless since it is his wish that you attend (and at a distance) it would be very bad form for you not to.” Attending a hunt but not of foxes? Examining Lord Clare’s fatherly, affable, moustachioed demeanour Mrs Annabelle Hutchens feels certain that whatever the nature of the hunt she is in safe hands.

And so it is that on a warm crisp Sunday morn she leaves her little cottage appropriately attired, mounts her horse and gallops gently across the meadow to the outer perimeter of the great house. It is here that she is met by none other than Lord Clare handsomely dressed in riding jacket and velveteen breeches, his glossy black boots gleaming most alluringly. Accompanying him are relatives of the Wessex bred Ruckle-Smoot-Frangeres, curious to behold the American widow duped into marrying a Hesketh-Elderberry.

“I present to you Mrs Annabelle Hutchens mother of little Cedric”

“Charming simply adorable! Little Cedric has a Mater? Well, well, the last one declared itself an orphan did it not Bertie?” the Marchioness is all avid curiosity but a warning glance from her husband forbids her from saying more.

“The last one? There is another Lord Font-Le-Noy?” Lord Clare smiles brightly at this query,”Oh quite a few. Lord Hesketh-Elderberry-Font-Le-Noy is a man steeped in halcyon tradition. And so it is not enough to be termed a Hesketh-Elderberry-Font-Le-Noy, one must be acknowledged a Hesketh-Elderberry-Font-Le-Noy, but I digress, onwards to the hunt!”. Galloping towards the edge of the Elderberry Woods at such a fast pace that Mrs Hutchens (dimpled cheeks a-flush) finds herself quite caught up in the thrill of the pursuit, they are soon close by the main hunting party led by Lord Hesketh-Elderberry. From this distance it is possible to see something pale and ghostly white darting about in the undergrowth, it is possible to hear it too.

“Ah!I’ll have at yer! Yer Gombeen! Make a hearth rug outta me will ye? I’ll slit your throat from ear to ear so I will! Walta! Walta! To my right! To me my lad! Bring the pike! Ah! You cursed Gombeen! I’ll tear your fatty heart out of you whilst it’s still beating! Walta! Walta! where’s the pike?!”

And at this violently ejaculated exclamation Annnabelle Hutchens is aghast with horror, for that is indeed no fox they are hunting. Alas, dear reader, it is a member of the tribe of Adam and a pitiful specimen at that. Another such specimen still more terrible for its stunning ferocity sits astride a horse looming over the tall ,thin, man stood defiantly in the midst of the undergrowth, “Lord Hesketh iz e being serious? E is clearly squatting your land, can I shoot the bugger?”. Flushed of countenance with a bull whip gripped firmly in his clenched fist, his Lordship is too busy whipping the hide off another young man attempting to wriggle out of his grasp to answer.

“Dear God!” shrieks Mrs Hutchens paling visibly, “What parlous state of affairs is this?”

“A population explosion of Fenians m’dear, it’s regrettable but this needs to be done, tally-ho!” and off Lord Clare gallops eager to participate in this clearing of Irish Gypsies from the woodlands of Elderberry. On the ground are two Irish women their grimy faces etched with misery attempting to make their escape, each with a child tied to her back.

Annabelle Hutchens fancies herself decidedly faint for all of the ten seconds it takes her to realise what is about to happen. And then something else kicks in, could it be that ferocious pioneering spirit that caused her forebears to toss crate after crate of East India Company tea into the stormy waters of Boston Harbour? Heaven forfend! With a “Yeehaaa!” and a quick flip of her wrist she unseats the crazed Boer warrior bearing down on the two women. And leaping quickly out of the saddle she scoops up his rifle aiming it at the crazed aristocratic horde seemingly intent upon slaughtering the two unfortunates.

“So far and no further or by heavens I’ll blast you all to smithereens!” she cries, now,in saner circumstances an uncomfortable silence would ensue but, Annabel’s untimely intervention has worked in the squatters’ favour. Armed to the teeth with pikes and blunderbusses they commence a harrying such as has never been seen outside of the more obscure annals of British history.”Shoot me would you? Ye godless warmongering Boer devil! Take that! An that!” cries an enraged Irish squatter discarding his blunderbuss and gripping a red faced huntsman by the throat. Not to be out done the huntsman twists himself sideways grabbing the squatter by his legs and tugging on them hard. “Aargh! Ye bugger!” cries another, this time a huntsman attempting to aim his rifle at a teenager who rips it out of his grasp hitting him over the head with it.

Unarmed combat has commenced and from where Annabel sits all are so mired in the dirt that t’is impossible to tell who is Irish and who British. Still one thing is certain, the young man seated alongside her in his right mind and, looking equally horrified is none other than her Cedric, who looking up at the mother he has hardly seen since he lit upon England’s shores has only one thing to say, “Maw can we go home?”

Martin-Rowson-11_10_10-001

 

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

Upon This Sweeping Flood

1

Lord Ruckle-Smoot is out of sorts, an ardent supporter of all things American (especially his wife), a covert supporter of all Irish Catholic rebellions, he is ill at ease presenting the government’s imperious stance on Potato Blight. Indeed had his been the inclination the bellicose Palmerston would’ve stood here in his stead. T’is just before the summer holidays and the house is packed to the rafters with bored politicians eager to witness this bruising encounter between Lords Molesworth and Ruckle-Smoot.

“It is more than apparent that an Athenian Democracy would not suit the Irish” Lord Ruckle-Smoot begins, “They are but grown up children and must be governed as such. The place our government occupies towards them is that of a parent or of a guardian admonishing a rebellious and well nigh ungovernable horde”. His mild mannered gaze sweeps the entirety of the house and is met by many a look of approval and the affirming nod of many a Whig politician. “They are an impudent, turbulent, improvident race, wholly disinclined to fix their roofs whilst the sun is shining and, none too averse to consuming abundant quantities of beer at those times and in those places that are the cause of much moral opprobium in England and beyond.”

“Here here!” responds the house in its entirety. But Lord Molesworth is not to be discouraged, he has most recently married, a singular woman of Irish descent (his housekeeper) and his ardour though but recently cooled runs hot under the inference that his Eliza should be termed by birth an indolent, improvident, characterless wretch.

“And that’s to be the government’s final answer on the famine that is destroying the most beleaguered of Britannia’s children?”

“And the most filthy!” roars a government supporter to uproarious cries of 

“here here!”

Glancing expressionlessly at the papers in his hand Ruckle-Smoot fashions a reply that makes him cringe inwardly.“It is sir, and I would remind those who deprecate our efforts to govern Ireland, that our presence there both Christianizes and civilizes a people whose perverse habits might otherwise predestine them for extinction.”

Lord Molesworth looking at his papers smiles sardonically,”It is my suggestion, sir, that the little your government has done to alleviate the condition of that poor nation, has caused such unwarrantable suffering that even Joseph, that great Hebrew Egyptian Patriarch of old, would cry out against you, were he present! It has been said that too much charity (the provision say of monies to buy such provisions as would sustain the people through this trial), might destroy the character of the Irish people”. More politicians declare “here! Here!” though whether they would do so if they had traversed certain streets in London on foot remains to be seen.”And yet whilst we English are richly supplied with Irish grain, over half a million Irish have starved and over a million have emigrated for fear of starvation! A less than Christian state of affairs sir!”.

Glancing up towards the the visitor’s lobby he continues,”T’is all well and good to talk of moral probity and character when one sits to dine four times a day. T’is well and good to speak of firm governance when one lives easefully on a comfortable allowance. And within a respectable neighbourhood where may be kept away the wolves of crime and filth!”. He casts a baleful eye upon the well fed and comfortably seated gentlemen some of whom squirm most pitifully under his searing gaze. “Whilst a mere stone’s throw away from this great and good house, amidst our glorious empire, men and women reside thirty to a room”. Lord Molesworth pauses for effect,”men and women who once farmed their own plots of land in Ireland,dying of Dysentry and Cholera here, in London. No food in Ireland and no running water, no drains and no privies here”. The house is silent in horror, no lavatoriums?! A thoroughly perturbing state of affairs!

“T’is a most impassioned entreaty he makes!” whispers one Irish Radical to another,

“I am told he has recenty married,a fiery woman, well below his position socially, but harbouring strong opinions!”

“An Irish woman?”

“Judging by the look of him exceedingly so!”

Behold! Dear reader! A man flushed of countenance and mildly agitated of demeanour, a man in short, most passionately in love with principle and his beloved! Can such a man but hope to sway the opinions of his most esteemed contemporaries!

“An Athenian Democracy calls he this?” mutters Thomas Bass, he who has poured hundreds of pounds into the construction of orphanages for the children of railway servants killed needlessly in the course of their duties. “An Athenian Democracy?”

The Speaker of the House stifles a yawn, he checks his documentation casts a stern gaze upon Lord Molesworth and asks langurously,”Have you concluded your unctions towards the provision of plenteous grain and monetary aid? May we vote?”

irishmonkey

I’m a dacint boy, just landed from the town of Ballyfad; 

I want a situation: yis, I want it mighty bad. 

I saw a place advartised. It’s the thing for me, says I; 

But the dirty spalpeen ended with: No Irish need apply. 

Whoo! says I; but that’s an insult — though to get the place I’ll try. 

So, I wint to see the blaggar with: No Irish need apply. 

I started off to find the house, I got it mighty soon; 

There I found the ould chap saited: he was reading the TRIBUNE. 

I tould him what I came for, whin he in a rage did fly: 

No! says he, you are a Paddy, and no Irish need apply! 

Thin I felt my dandher rising, and I’d like to black his eye–

To tell an Irish Gintleman: No Irish need apply! 

I couldn’t stand it longer: so, a hoult of him I took, 

And I gave him such a welting as he’d get at Donnybrook. 

He hollered: Millia murther! and to get away did try, 

And swore he’d never write again: No Irish need apply. 

He made a big apology; I bid him thin good-bye, 

Saying: Whin next you want a bating, add: No Irish need apply! 

Sure, I’ve heard that in America it always is the plan 

That an Irishman is just as good as any other man; 

A home and hospitality they never will deny 

The stranger here, or ever say: No Irish need apply. 

But some black sheep are in the flock: a dirty lot, say I; 

A dacint man will never write: No Irish need apply! 

no-irish-need-apply-the-new-york-times-10-may-1859

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Academies, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

The Curate’s Egg

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I must dedicate these the humble fruit of my undertakings to that king of kings and lord of lords which dwelleth in the heavenly firmament, St. Gove (sweet Gove!). Since t’is the first attempt I have made to be a public writer there can only be one to whom I might dedicate such a delicate undertaking. T’is he whose benificent gaze shines ever downward upon us (miscreant or otherwise) and whose divine goodness urges us to ever greater heights of quality and rigour the Sainted Gove. The subject of my account is such that were it not for the sake of moral instruction it should not be regaled ‘cept in company so disreputable as to be beyond all redeeming, save at the end of the hangman’s noose.

On the fourteenth day of February, 1876, the Albatross sailed, with full compliment of men and provisions, from the East India Docks in London. The ship was cheered the harbour cleared and merrily did they drop, it did seem, off the face of the earth. For when the ship had run six days out of the harbour the crew were spirited up to an act of piracy by a shipmate on board, one Robby Farthengrodden. An experienced sailor and the only son of a wealthy industrialist of Sloane Square, who had once given into his care two industrial schools (the value of which and its students he had squandered away in profligate degeneracy,drunkeness and riot).

The aforesaid Robby Farthengrodden and the crew having ditched the ship’s officers in a long boat on the high seas, went on a six month long rampage of terror, taking many prizes (amongst them the younger daughter of the governor of Windeypoole) before dropping anchor at the Isle of Hispaniola. Once there and having thoroughly quenched all his wicked and delusive desires he betook himself aboard the Beleaguered Watchman from which he was rescued (it having sunk mid-journey).

Having disembarked at the Royal Docks in London, he was identified by a cabin boy as that depraved miscreant whose wickedness had led to the hanging of the Albatross’s quartermaster. And once taken into custody it was further revealed that this dissolute and hell-bound soul was none other than the ‘Crinoline Jerker’. A licentious being who having taken to diving beneath the skirts of the gentler sex, proceeded to tug violently at their petticoats jerking them to and fro, till at length the fainting women would awaken to find themselves stripped of bonnet, and purse. This evil man had been indicted many times for this offence and had served three years at Newgate Prison as a result and, was to have served a further four, but he absconded having been permitted a day’s release from prison to attend his mother’s funeral. 

Having been indicted for trial Robert Fathengrodden’s defence was this, that whilst Headmaster of St Tobias-in-the-North Industrial Academy, he had run up gambling debts to the sum of some four hundred pounds. Seeking some means whereby he might repay the debt, he had come upon that sum in the form of monies supplied for the purchase of a brass lavatorium and had stolen it (the monies not the lavatorium). Attributing his current predicament to that first misfortune he made his apologies and sought the forgiveness of the court for all offence caused whilst at sea. The court having been made aware of certain elements of his dissolute past (the deflowering and probable murder of Mary Parnham being among them),determined to send him to the gallows.

Indeed, had it not been for the testimony of the Most Reverend Father Antecletes the accused would have been for the long drop ere he departed the Old Bailey! At the place of his execution he stated that his would have been a joyous life devoted solely to the pursuit of ecstatic Goveen reflection had not several industrial schools and, the provision of a brass lavatorium fallen into his care. And that he knew there were many young men there, who followed the same evil course of life that he had done, and hoped they would take warning from his sad fate, and become in time honest and good men.

Reverend Amos Vanderbilt,

Ordinary of Newgate

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Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Weighed In The Balance & Found Wanting

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“By reason of some defects in the law, the poor used not to be restrained from travelling from workhouse to workhouse; taking up residence in those poor houses which provided the largest bowls of gruel and the comfiest pallets of straw”.

“Shameful!” declared the Countess De Lacey and the gentleman accompanying her (the Reverend Farthengrodden) looks similarly shocked. But the Right Honourable Ethelbert-Smythe smiles reassuringly, “the Poor Law Amendment Act soon put paid to that criminal practice, as a result we have far fewer workhouses and those we do have are much more efficiently managed”. He ushered his guests into a poor ward where four dozen women sitting on wooden stools were stooped low over wooden pails peeling potatoes. Heaps of unpeeled potatoes lay piled on the floor beside them,”You see that here on this ward the time of the poor people is well spent. Here, dissipation and depravity are discouraged. Once they were steeped to the neck in vice but now their energies are redirected to the betterment of themselves and their fellow man”.

“Pray tell, what is it they are doing?”

“Preparing dinner for the brotherhood”

“The brotherhood have a monastery here?” Ethelbert-Smythe beams with pride,

“The Spitalsfield monastery was established in the first year of my guardianship and, by the end of this year, the Spitalsfield Industrial School will open. As is usually the custom it will be staffed by two dozen novitiates of the Goveen Brotherhood”. Countess de Lacey looks awed and Ethelbert-Smythe feels certain that her donations to the workhouse will increase as a result.”With the aid of the brotherhood we hope to turn the eyes of the poor people ever toward heaven and their revered benefactors, St. Gove be praised!”

“Sweet Gove!” clutching his prayer beads tightly the Reverend Farthengrodden whispers the blessing in such a way as to cause the hackles to rise up on the back of the workhouse guardian’s neck. “If you would come this way you will see how we correct that degeneracy so syptomatic of indolent living”.

The Right Honourable Ethelbert-Smythe ushers his guests from the ward and down the corridor encountering an attendant cradling a babe in the crook of one thin arm. “Thanks to the poor law amendments the number of bastards born to unwed mothers has significantly decreased. For those which remain we supply wet nurses at modest cost”. He gestured dismissively toward the wet nurse smiling with approval as she produced a tiny bottle of laudanum administering a dose to the child in her arms. “Once children are of age they are sent to the industrial schools for morning instruction and from thence to work”.

“At what age are they sent out to work?”

“Why as soon as they are out of swaddling clothes and are lucid enough to be able to talk! Most commonly at the age of four, at the age of three if they seem able bodied enough.”

“But at that age they are so diminutive!”

“Quite, making it extremely easy for them to move amongst the cogs and wheels of mill machines for lint cleaning and such. Once they are eight they are released from our care unless they have decided to take up holy orders, in which case they are received into the brotherhood and trained as novitiates”.

The smell of the workhouse is as turgid as it is cloying and it is almost with relief that his guests enter the workhouse gardens. For there the burgeoning, ripening tomatoes and turnips, elderberries and apricots, give off an appetizing fragrance. In fact the aroma of this abundance of hanging fruit and flourishing vegetables seems to nullify the lingering unpleasantness of the gloomy workhouse interior. It is as if the gardens were a bridge transporting them from grimy pauperism to fragrant affluence. “Are all these for the consumption of the poor?” inquires the countess and a raised eyebrow is her reply,

“these are for the consumption of the guests at the Midland Grand Hotel under an arrangement which we have with the cook there. Any profits generated are ploughed back into the work, the consent of the guardians permitting”.

“M’lud” a wizened looking man has shambled up to the Honourable Ethelbert-Smythe and is now ferociously plucking at the sleeve of his tailored jacket with his gnarled, grimy fingers,”M’lud”

“Yes Master Fluttock, what is it?”

“You’re needed in the infirmary sir”

“Is Doctor Garrick not in attendance?”

“Nurse says he is somewhat indisposed and to call on you to come diwectly sir”

“And what of Master Wisteria?” Master Fluttock flinches at the mention of that name and a look of dread marrs his worn face,”Looked for him but couldn’t find him sir”

“Tell nurse I shall be along shortly” tugging his greasy forelock the elderly gent slowly shambles back the way he came. As he passes her the Countess wrinkles her nose for the old man smells more strongly than any item or person she has yet encountered within the Spitalfields poor house. “Are there many old people here?” she asks, if there were what should we do with them? He thinks. “Precious few” he replies,”The profligacy of debauched living, of drunkeness and unbridled vice mean that precious few endure old age here. No, our inmates range from the age of three months to forty years”

“And how old is Master Fluttock?” inquires Reverend Farthengrodden

“Forty two years or so, he might well be younger” replies Hardy Ethelbert-Smythe carelessly, he has long since ceased to be amazed at the weary, wizened appearances of the Spitalsfields inmates. Perhaps if they had been inclined to live lives less steeped in gin, and if they had taken more care over their observance of the Sabbath, theirs would have been an old age radiant with vibrant youthful promise as his had been.

“Forty two years old!” declares the Reverend disparagingly “and wholly dependent upon the largesse of the workhouse? How so?”

“He stated that he had broken his back in an accident at a Montaperti Silk Mill but it later transpired that the accident had been due solely to his own drunken negligence”

“And yet you permitted him to remain?”  Hardy Ethelbert-Smythe shrugged,

“The poor are ever with us and Master Fluttock is an excellent gardener”.

 

 

 

 

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Academies, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire

Two Kindred Spirits Harassed By Fate

Punch_-_Shaw

‘Iti domum impasti, domino iam non vacat,agni (go home unfed, lambs, your shepherd has no time for you now)’

– Epitathium Damonis (Milton)

The former Headmaster of Raven Industrial Academy having newly returned from the countryside, now skips merrily along Hayes Wharf. A crown of wilted flowers sits snugly upon his head and though his nightshirt and dressing gown are sodden and bedraggled he has never been more at peace. Not so Bernard Montaperti, whose pale and slender fingers tremble and shake as if he had the ague or the palsy. His investments in the Imperial Bank of Kamchatka have failed. The British government has withdrawn its reserves of gold from his counting house and transferred them abroad. And as if that were not disaster enough his munitions factories have been shut down. Montaperti teeters on the brink of madness and ruin, all it will take to push him over the edge is the striking of a Bryant & May match upon a tinder box.

“T’is not far my love! We are almost there!” Abilene Montaperti is euphoric, her cheeks are flush with love or the warmth of the swirling conflagration that is the Tooley Street fire, it is hard to tell. Her thin blonde tresses flutter wildly in the wind which only serves to urge the growing flames around them to ever greater heights. The ragged besmirched hem of her ivory coloured gown has seen better days but, in the arms of her beloved, she is as radiant a flower as ever graced the fields of England. Turning into a damp alley which, though swirling in smoke is free of flame, Hector and Abilene find themselves standing in front of the Scovell warehouse.”We travelled far my dearest, but mayhap here, mongst the soft cotton bales we may find some rest”. Her smile is tremulous and her eyes heavy with shadow but she is jubilant. Hector has spent many weeks opening her eyes to the beauty of this sceptred isle. Together they have travelled as far as Tintern Abbey on the Wye where she wove him a crown of daffodils, the very same he now wears upon his silvered brow.

Hand in hand like two innocent babes entering a sinister forest the lovers tiptoe into the Scovell Warehouse. It is a vast store of petre and salt, silk bales and cotton. T’is a damp and murky place to some  but to the two former inmates of Bethlehem Asylum it is a veritable cathedral of love. Never before have two hearts been so completely joined in mutual passion. There’s is an avid, all consuming desire and short of murder there is little that Abilene’s Hector would not valiantly accomplish on her behalf. Alas! That they should ever have happened upon the devilish Montaperti! Who, with one abrupt stroke of that fatal match against that hapless tinderbox, proceeds to seal his fate.

“Uncle Montaperti!”

“Abilene!”

 Lord Montaperti seems as one astonished, for the apparition that stands before him is such as would appal a lesser scoundrel. Though wasted and thin Abilene his niece newly escaped from Bethelehem Asylum is very much alive. But it can’t be, he had left express instructions with that fool Ethelbert-Smythe! “I am come home Uncle! I am come back to see thy loving face! I am come home Uncle for refuge!”. Hector clutches his head and tugs at his hair with both hands, he knows that face, has heard of that name. And then at last as with a thunderbolt of lightening, enlightenment strikes.”It is you! You villain! You leech upon the face of good fortune! I know you! You are the one who stripped my precious love of her inheritance! You are the one who had Lady Hesketh-Elderberry declared insane!”. In one bound Hector thinks he has him but Bernard Montaperti is slippery as an eel and fleet of foot. For as Hector lurches forward he slides easily out of his grip and smiles,”No doubt I deserve to be shot but that should be the least of your worries, look around you”.

Fire! Everywhere! Tongues of crimson coloured flame leap upon the bales of cotton eagerly consuming them, tearing at them like the eager fingers of a courtesan. For the first time Hector recognises the pungent smell of phosphorus mingled with flax. And for the first time in a very long time Hector feels a slender ray of hope suffuse his emaciated being.

“Aaargh!” Abilene moans clutching at her ball gown and gathering it to herself in vain reassurance.”Uncle Montaperti!” But he is gone, having fled his crimes at the very first opportunity, leaving them to the fate he had hoped they would discretely encounter at the asylum. “Uncle Montaperti!” all are deaf to her sorrowful cries, all except Hector. Wrapping her in his damp dressing gown and taking her fragile hand he leads her gently through the gathering flames. With a joyous skip and, a lightness in his heart such as he had not felt since  being appointed the Headmaster of Raven’s Industrial Academy, Hector attempted to lead his beloved towards safety. But alas the doors towards the back of the warehouse have been nailed shut and as the flames rushed towards them Hector thinks he sees the glint of a jet-black hobnailed boot and the swish of a brilliant white nightshirt. No! It could not possibly be, after all these years?

“It is coming Abilene!” clasping his beloved’s waist with one arm and covering her eyes with the other, the longsuffering Headmaster strives to brave the fiery onslaught of death. And as he prepares to meet his maker, a wondrous surge of happiness sweeps over him…

Your hapless master now to you is lost! 
To whom my bosom shall I now 
confide .
At whose soft voice will now my cares subside ? 

Who now will cheat the night 
with harmless mirth. 
As the nut crackles on the 
glowing hearth. 
Or the pear hisses, — ^while 
without the storm 
Roars through the wood and 
ruffles nature's form ? 

Return unfed, my lambs; by 
fortune crost 

Your hapless master now to you is lost! 

Thomas_Arnold_by_Thomas_Phillips 

 

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