Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Inspector Depta & The Mystery Of The St Swithin’s-Bird Murders……A Prologue

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Morning has broken, like the first morning, and pert, well-fed Blackbirds have tweeted like the first birds. Ah! Did ever the Gardens of Eden seem more blessed than this? T’is a bright dawn, clear and bracing and awash with promise; ideal then for the Prince’s brisk cantering jaunt, through the heather strewn grounds of his newly constructed Scottish home, Balmoral.

“You will please note ze outstanding characters common to the Genus Suidae known commonly as ze Black-Legged Wild Boar. Low on the limbs, with eyes which are small but quick and shrewd in expression, and a sense of hearing that is most acute. See how it romps blunderingly midst ze undergrowth! Note the lower jaw which is strong and deep, the wide mouth bristling with blonde hairs, and perpetually open, to a degree almost unparalleled among terrestrial mammalia.”

“Indeed?” 

The wild boar has an extraordinary manner of tackling his antagonists, striking obliquely upwards with his lower tusks, jerking his aggressor first right and then left and then throwing the sorry fool off at a distance with his large wedge shaped head.”

“Most horrible!”

“Oh most glorious!” replies Prince Albert,”For it is from this terrifyingly indomitable genus (with its extraordinarily thick hide), this primitive remnant from the dawn of time, that our domesticated pigs are bred! Imagine, the fossilized relics of the Genus Suedae Black-Leg have been found by Professor Owen, in fissures from the Red Crag of Brume Polder, near zee village of Molten Tussock Minor!”

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“Are you saying that this dire looking beast’s antecedents were of prehistoric origin?” asks Lord Ponsonby, who in reality is bored beyond tears by the topic.

“Ja” replies the prince excitedly “according to Monsieur Jobert, zee prehistoric remains of Black-Legged Wild Boars were discovered in the Miocene and zee Pliocene Deposits, of zee tertiary system of Lyell!”

“Extraordinary!” exclaims Lord Aberdeen with as much good humour as he can muster on so early a morning’s ride as this. Why, the last time he’d been pulled out of bed so early London’s mill-workers had been in riot!

“Ja! A singularly remarkable instance of indomitable resilience! I am told Lord Molesworth has a fine litter of piglets, bred of an African Boar and a Hampshire Hog this Winter, time will tell whether zay will again bear a litter! We must journey to Lord Molesworth’s Estates and observe zem!”

Yes, Your Highness”

“Ja,wait! Wait!”

“Your Highness?”

“Over zer! Something is lurking in der undergrowth!Tis a stag think you?”

“Possibly Your Majesty, though it appears to be rather smaller than that”

A fawn perhaps? Separated from its mother and terrified by the sound of galloping hoofs, for as the noblemen gain speed it scampers into the woods, darting through them faster than a coursing hare.

“We’re losing it, faster!” cries the Prince, as Lords Ponsonby and Aberdeen exchange a sneaky glance. Faster, so fast that Lord Aberdeen wonders whether the manner of luring His Majesty into addressing this thorny constitutional problem is worth the loss of life or limb.

“Ha ha! We have you at the rattle keine fawn! Ha ha ha! Oh?!”

But what have we here? The Prince having cornered his prey finds himself at a loss! A child barely seven years of age at a guess, clad in a tartan shawl and with a most disconcerting likeness to Victoria’s Uncle ze Duke of Cumberland!

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“Lord Henry, on whose land are we?”

“The Countess De Fox-Pitts,Your Majesty.”

“This child hails from Lochnergarruld?!” His Highness is horrified, gott in himmel! Would zis horror nezah end?!!!

“Yes,Your Majesty”

“Er sind von Lochnergarruld Village?!!”

“Nein, Your Majesty, er sind von Abbey Lochnergarruld, situated in the mountains”

“Mein Gott! Is he the only one?”

“Nein, there are many, many, more”

The child (for it is indeed a boy, as tall as a fawn and looking to be around seven years old) continues to back away in fear of the Prince, a fine figure of a man, astride a ferocious looking stallion. Unable to find a place to escape to midst the bramble covered undergrowth, the child hisses at the king in some incomprehensible language (Scots Gaelic most likely).

“This Abbey,how close by is it?” asks the prince, staring at this miniature facsimile of the King of Hanover with a kind of horrid fascination.

“It stands at the foot of Mount Lochnergarruld, Your Majesty”

Ze mountain on which the duchess-“

“That mountain precisely sir” replies Lord Ponsonby glancing at Lord Aberdeen who had already notified the Abbey of the prince’s intended visit, and its motives.

Would Your Majesty care to visit it it? The abbey I mean? The child is doubtless lost, we could return him to his guardians there.”

“Ach so, let us visit!” and with that Lord Ponsonby dismounts, and talking at some length to the child in that foreign tongue (Scots Gaelic), persuades him to ride with them to that most unfortunate place. That prodigious Gehenna from whence many a ‘defective’ aristocratic child left to the mercies of howling Scottish Gales, had been fortuitously rescued, rescued and raised by the Brotherhood of The Penitent Confessor at Lochnergarruld Abbey.

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