How desolate & cold the Mile End Graveyard is, above stairs & below stars where cold stone tablets commemorate the abode of the dead! Yet it is colder & still more desolate below ground, there, where, a secret monastery (centuries old) nests, & hellish intrigues newly bred, abound, simmer & brood. A phantasmagoria of shadow-studies flickers against the algae covered walls of that ancient, pungent & putrid abode, of secretive worship. Half worn candles trickle tallow till the grimy sconces in which they have been placed brim over with wax, whilst the secretive, cowled gathering sits in disapproving counsel. For they have, one and all, sanctified themselves to the advancement & exalting of the essence of Gove, but there is one standing in the midst of them who has fallen beside the way.
“Is it to be wondered at that I covet money? I am beset by misfortune ! By the head of Gove I am maimed, crippled, by usury! The debts I carry (out of sheer necessity I own) are a monstrous thing! I stand tormented by creditors!”
“Many of whom you beleaguer with threats of physical assault? Yes brother, so we have heard”
“Tell me brothers is there nothing you can do? I must needs have funds, there is a necessity for me to have moneys!”
“From what place soever, and from whomsoever brother?! Would you have the brotherhood pile infamy on top of infamy now that, the other scandal has scarce abated? Why, Master Ethelbert-Smythe has scarce been confined a year in Bethlem Asylum & we must needs find a means of silencing that embarrassment! Would you add to our woes still further, brother?”
Lord Elderberry’s face is flush with anger but he suppresses it, his uncle has been peremptorily returned by the brotherhood to a French mental asylum (St Bacchanalia’s Asylum having been torched to the ground) & his aunt has been reinstated as the rightful heir of the estate. As a consequence his position financial is most precarious & he must needs throw himself at the feet of those who, though they despise him, still have most extensive need of his services.
“Brother I stand before you now sanctified as to the essence of Gove, for is it not in his name that I have denied myself & embraced that reckless devotion to self-ennoblement some deign to call politics? It it not as a consequence of this that I now stand here before you, teetering on the brink of ruin? I tell you I must have money!”
With chubby hands clasped gently a’fore his cassock Father Domitius glares calmly at the inveterate fool stood before him. Had the sweet essence of Gove come to this? Driven from polite society, estranged (temporarily) from the sweet embrace of empire? Forced to extend the palm of help to those it would have (previously) summarily jettisoned? Was this the fate awaiting them all? Darwinian annihilation by the hands of the brotherhoods most dissipated & inebriated members? What then of Father Malthus? What indeed. Surveying the hard faces of those around him, & the trembling figure of the one before him, Father Domitius smiled, sweetly, “Come, come Lord Elderberry,your interests would be best served if you were to couch your current predicament more gently, you may need money but we are under no pressing unction to provide it!”. Pressing his pale & sweaty palms against the arms of his stone throne the eminent Father Domitius raised himself out of his seat & shuffled a few steps toward Lord Elderberry who flinched & took a few steps back. “Nevertheless we have already spoken to your creditors who, at our command, have agreed to absolve you of your debts”.
“Oh Sweet Gove! Oh my Lord! My Lord! Sweet, sweet Father Domitius!” did ever a one as treacherous as this, clasp the plump hand proffered coldly towards his person so gratefully? Dear reader one could almost sob with pity! For in the matter of the needless granting of moneys the brotherhood shows no remorse, no, not even to its own.
“Sound or unsound there is our decision” Father Domitius glared at all around him,”There is however one caveat to our decision” and the good father stooping towards the ear of his most degenerate acolyte, whispered his request.
Alas, dear reader, the candles nestled in their sconces having all but guttered we must leave this unpretty scene much as we entered it, shuddering and with much apprehension. Above the graveyard of Mile End the skies are emblazoned by dawn? But what is this lurking in the shadowy doorway of the tiny chapel with his ebony cane clepted close to hand? Could that be the newly minted Detective Inspector Qwinty?