O happy day! When political events fall out as one would wish,with the mutiny imperiously crushed India now bowed it’s head (and back) submissively to the British Empire. Whilst the swift re-opening of war with China (which the British Navy would promptly win), mean’t that the possibilities for Opium free trade in the Far East were now limitless.
Let the Chinkies kidnap British Sailors and hold them to ransom now! They would rue the day they tangled with Britannia!! Lord Smarsby Rucklesmoot smugly perused the list of diplomatic accomplishments his office had successfully concluded (in India and South Africa). His department had without a doubt acquitted itself most honourably. Puffing happily on his Cuban Cigar he availed himself of a pair of softest kid gloves, and carefully opening a glass display cabinet into which he dipped his hand, he removed a cockroach. The elegantly attired gentleman sitting before him cringed at the sight and blanched visibly, but Lord Rucklesmoot suffered no such disquiet, he quite liked cockroaches.
“When one reflects upon the evolution of those organisms classed as Articulata, one must recognise that what is being examined is an organism of extreme perfection and extreme complication. Consider, the centipede an organism in which the optic nerve cannot be detected and yet they are able to discern the light from the dark! Now let us consider the cockroach Lord Ponsonby, also a member of the Articulata class of organisms, also able to distinguish light from dark and yet with an entirely disparate pair of eyes! T’is a wonder is it not? Why the very cockroaches of St Giles yearn towards the light, they scuttle towards it Wendell and why? Darwinian Evolution!”
“Oh? And what are we to make of the Right Honourable Member of Richmond and Sitterworth who has scuttled a-top the spire of Christchurch Cathedral? There is talk of him firing upon a Goveen Monk, who I’m informed had murdered three women and was on the cusp of murdering a fourth ere he met his end”
“Informed you say? who informed you?“
“Who do you think?”
“Dear God! Not him! What else is there to this business? If he is here (and so soon after the last debacle) there must be something else. Something tawdry, injuriously shameful and all too capable of blowing the government to smithereens! Tis a matter of tawdry dissipation I take it? A serious scandal?”
“The Duchess de Fox-Pitt commissioned the mad monk to commit the murders or so it is said, she passed away in the night I am told”
“You were told? Who told you? Him again? No one told me! Dear God! The Duchess dead?”
“I’m also told that the manner of her passing was suspicious. Lamentably, there is proof that she was poisoned, an empty bottle of Laudanum and Arsenic was discovered under her pillow, worse still the bottle was issued from the Royal Dispensary at Windsor Castle”
“The bottle could well have belonged to her”
Lord Ponsonby shook his head, ” Baroness Von Astrian requested the drought and the Duchesses’ servants last saw the bottle in her possession. This sudden demise has all the hallmarks of a ‘Lehzen Intervention’ ”
“When the inspector sought an audience with Baroness Von Astrian, she could not be found, and since he could not broach the matter with Her Majesty himself, he requested an audience with the Baroness who sent word she was indisposed, he then requested audience with me“
“Where is Von Astrian?”
“She boarded a ship bound for Germany, late last night I’m told, the ship sailed early this morning”
“Some good news at last! The Bow Street Detective Police have no office in Germany, she’ll have died peacefully in her sleep ere they’re granted a warrant for her arrest”
Lord Rucklesmoot chuckled to himself, scandal averted! Lord Ponsonby held up a warning finger.
“There is however, the matter of the records of Royal Lineage which have not gone missing”
“Oh Sweet Gove,where is he?”
“The deuced Inspector Depta!”
“Where you’d expect him to be sir, at your pleasure”
“Quite! Have him come in!”
Would that this were a discrete conversation taking place within some place of dank seclusion such as St Giles; but, alas, the rank debauched taint of scandal sired there, has reached him here, in the Houses of Parliament. Lord Rucklesmoot is momentarily bereft, but then he recalls the former Chancellor of the Exchequer (lost to a civil war in the Americas apparently),and the good inspector’s part in that escapade and suddenly he finds himself cheered, this scandal couldn’t be as bad as that surely?
“Good day Inspector”
“I cannot say much as to what day it is minister, though I do trust that in the end the day may turn out to be quite temperate. Though I must confess that on this morn I find myself feeling not a little like Fra Lippo Lippi!”
“Fra Lippo Lippi?”
“That good Christian monk who painted the last supper, terrible shook up by the experience he was…apparently” the inspector smiled quite innocently at the Foreign Secretary, who noted that shark’s grin and shuddered.
“Indeed. I take it some crimes of which you are cognizant-and have ample evidence-have been committed by certain persons whose station in life would normally have precluded them from such predicatorial leanings?”
“And that these matters could well lead to certain aspersions being cast upon certain significant members of society, in ways which would do no one any good, and many a great deal of harm?”
“Is that a cockroach you hold in your palm minister? A St Giles Cockroach?”
“Stick to the matter at hand inspector!”
“Yes sir” says he unbuttoning his silk waistcoat and exposing its royal blue lining as he reaches for a Lincolnshire Cigarillo “T’would seem so, tis a most unfortunate case and one that could occasion a great deal of scandal. But then a scandalous case can be made to….disapparate as it were. For on the strength of it what do we have here?” he continued as he lit his cigarillo with a narrowed gaze and puffed on it leisurely,
“A poisoned Duchess, poisoned (by whom no one can tell). A discrete little poison bottle, easily lost amongst the prodigwous quantities of evidence we as police officers are apt to amass. A homicidal butler garbed as a monk (which religious order he might belong to is debatable, since no public records of his ordination are known to exist). Then of course there is the honourable Hardy Ethelbert-Smythe MP who has publicly broached these matters and in the hearing of my officers. But since he is atop the Christchurch Cathedral seeking sanctuary, tis merely a case of forcing him back to earth and then reasoning with him“
“Indeed but what if he does not see reason?” Lord Rucklesmoot checked his pocket watch “Reason is always the key and they do say that Bethel Asylum has room to spare for another inmate“
“Of course momentous decisions such as these come with a measure of risk and since my men Constables Qwinty and Come-Hither, have conducted themselves so admirable and so discretely in this matter, it might be a good idea to elevate their standing as it were considerably“
“Considerably?” Lord Rucklesmoot watched his little cockroach scuttling swiftly over first one kid gloved palm and then the other, always veering towards the sunlight emanating from the window he was being held up to.
“What I mean is that a little promotion, say to the rank of inspector, might not go amiss, they are good men and we could do with men who have good brains and a little more clout”
“Quite so and with yourself elevated to the rank of Deputy Chief Inspector?”
“Quite, it shall be done, good day Inspector!”
Send Lord Henry back in!”
“Yes sir, as ever it is a pleasure to do business with you” and with all current scandalous matters resolved the inspector departs.
Ah the continuing pleasures of a morn well spent, and so much good news to pass on, two seats to become vacant and in the next month! Oh Darwinian exultation!
“Well Lord Ponsonby I have spoke with the inspector and the matter is settled and there is now-thanks to him-no matter. However, you will need to inform The Royal Prince of Baroness Lehzen’s role in that scandalous matter, which is now no matter. We may thereby ingratiate ourselves with him, and so further increase our good standing with Her Majesty“
“There is also a matter of illegitimacy?“
“A child Ethelbert-Smythe was lately in possession of, and who he has said is the daughter of The Eminent Politician!”
“But the man died a batchelor! For shame! He was a founding father of our party! The ill-intentioned slur alone will put us on a very poor footing with Her Majesty and society in general, pray, where is the child?”
“The inspector has delivered her to the care of the Coram Orphanage, where he says she will be well taken care of”
“Would not Bethel Asylum have been a better choice?”
“For a child Home Secretary?”
“We usually commit any who would disturb the queen’s peace there, there are wet nurses a-plenty in Bedlam!”
“For mercy’s sake! She is an infant child, not a pistol wielding madman!”
“Why even an infant child may have the power to overthrow an empire! Consider our saviour!”
“I frequently do so, but what is to be done about the Goveen Brotherhood?”