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 The British government has withdrawn its reserves of gold from his counting house and transferred them abroad.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 

 

Standard
Academies, Hypocritical Cant

A Momentary Respite

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There are no words to describe the traumatic shock which overcame  Emily Lefevre upon her  espying Boodooo peering fervidly at her through Lord Grid-Iron’s leaden casements. Lord Grid-Iron’s lascivious admissions, coupled with Boodoo’s aberrant manifestation, were sufficient to catapault her into a state of catatonia, from which it was at first believed she would never recover.

Indeed, had it not been for the compassion of Lady Grid-Iron, the love of Maggie Sitwell (Lady Grid-Iron’s maid), and the selfless devotion of Francis the pageboy, Emily might well have borne out her remaining days in a lunatic’s asylum, such as the Northern Star wrote about and campaigned against.  She had lain prone in Lady Grid-Iron’s bed for nigh on a month, pale and silent, her large blue eyes brimming frequently with tears. Francis had asked for and been granted permission by Kitty Grid-Iron to sit with her during the day, “La!” said she,

“I can hardly see as how you’re presence by her bedside will help any!”

“I miss her pastries and she is the only woman ever to cook Lamb Berrebeis and Couscous just the way I like it ” he replied gravely, “If there is anything I can do to help bring her back to herself, I will gladly do it” Kitty Grid-Iron sighed, and as she smoothed out her gown she said “You won’t desert me will you? Not in the agency’s hour of need…..in my hour of need?” she shook out her little leather riding gloves before looking up into his startled face, “Ma’am?” said Francis, one eyebrow raised,”I am a Muslim, t’is a declaration of loyalty I’m making by attending the bedside of one whose gentle, sweet and refreshing nature is wholly deserving of it. T’is hardly a profession of love. Besides I was contracted by Mr Pinkerton to appropriate Jedidiah Kane Thickett and he is still at large!” he looked reproachfully at Kitty who breathed an audible sigh of relief,”Thank you Francis, for your sense of loyalty and duty”  Francis bowed and quietly left the room. Kitty was partly heartbroken; for there could be no doubt about it, he was in love, she was also elated, the idea of Francis dying alone on some secret mission for the Pinkerton Agency had never really appealed to her.

The night watches were the worst, what with Emily burning feverishly whilst in the grip of some terrible nightmare and from time to time crying out “Boodoo! Noooo!” as she rose from her bed and tried to hurl herself out of the bedroom window . Maggie fortunately was on hand at those times, and ever watchful had nursed her patiently. Whilst Francis watched over the sickly Emily from afar, Maggie had dilligently watched over her charge night after night, proffering much prayerful thanks to St Gove as she did so.

T’was on one such fraught and torpid night, that Maggie espied a familiar figure from Emily’s bedroom window, a short,stocky form huddled close against an Oak which lay just beneath the leaden casement, clutching her Goveen Rosary beads to her chest, Maggie quickly rose and went in search of Francis the pageboy. She did not have far to travel, for he had been quietly taking up his station outside Emily’s bedroom door for quite a while, certain as he was that Boodoo’s obsession with his sister had yet to run its course. “Oh lor Mr Francis!” she cried, “He’s come for er! Boodoo ‘as come for ‘er!”

“Indeed” remarked Francis who murmuring a quick prayer under his breath arose from his lounge chair, revolver in hand and marched downstairs with Maggie in tow. At a little past one in the morning a tranquil silence pervaded the house, the servants were all a-bed and Lady Grid-Iron was away on business in London. In a way Francis was relieved by this for it meant there would be fewer witnesses to anything he might find himself impelled to do.

Walking slowly and oh so carefully through the trademen’s entrance, Frances sidled around the back of the house towards that part of the wall which lay beneath Emily’s window. “Ho there! Miscreant!” he shouted, “Step forward and make thyself known! Or by the righteous indignation of Allah’s most sacred prophet! I will surely shoot you!” there was no discernible movement at first, but when Francis audibly pulled back the trigger and aimed his gun the shadow suddenly parted company with the silhouette of the tree and slid forth into the mooonlight.

“Sweet Gove have mercy!” cried Maggie crossing herself thrice and thrumming the Goveen Rosary through her fingers with such speed that Francis had to restrain himself from shooting them out of her hands. For there Boodoo stood in all his terrifying beauty, his large brown eyes were limpid pools of expressionless, pent-up violence. In the several intrigues they had executed together Frances had never known what made Boodoo tick. And now as he scrutinised the deranged features of this arsonistic madman, he wondered why it was that he couldn’t bring himself to shoot him. He was an aberration of nature, this he felt to be true, but he was also sweet Emily’s brother, a most unfortunate state of affairs.

“Is Emily ere?” Boodoo whispered hoarsely, Francis and Maggie glanced at each other “No she isnt!” they replied in unison, Boodoo took another step forward, his muscular hands clenched “God ‘elp them as tries to keep me separated from my Em! D’yeah ere me! If anyone seeks to keep me separated from my dear sweet sister God elp em!” Boodoo took another step forward and then another. Raising his revolver Francis narrowed his eyes, cocked back the trigger and fired off a warning shot, roaring with pain Boodoo leapt upon him and a struggled ensued, which would have ended with Boodoo’s hands wrapped tightly around Francis throat, were it not for the three Indian Fakirs who slid miraculously from the shadows and leapt upon Boodoo wrestling him to the ground.

“Bismillahi! What infamy is this?!” Francis exclaimed as he clambered to his feet, revolver in tow, the eldest and most sprightly of the men leapt to his feet, delivering a swift kick to Boodoo as he did so, “Navendrah Patel at your service my lord! If I may explain” he glanced towards the two other men both of whom were seated upon the prone Boodoo. “We are in England to right a wrong and recover two assets” Francis raised an eyebrow “Two assets?” he trained his revolver on the sprightly elderly man. Three Indian Fakirs who had travelled all the way from the Indian continent on an errand of retribution (for what other errand could it be?) and lain all this while undetected in the grounds of the Grid-Iron country estate? The elderly Indian bowed once more, his hard, black, eyes were unwavering in their determination”Two assets, the Sapphire of Agar Khan” he grimaced as he said this, but his hard little eyes glittered as he uttered the next words “and Lord Tobias Grid-Iron”

Francis shrugged, glancing at the prone Boodoo he said “Get rid of him first and I will tell you all you wish to know” Francis turned to Maggie who stood at once rapt and amazed at the sight of these three turban-clad strangers “Mademoiselle Maggie” he murmured, “She must never know her brother was here” Maggie’s eyes flashed angrily at Boodoo, “And you may trust that she’ll never ere it neither! Not from me!” sweeping her skirts up in her hands she marched towards Boodoo, delivering a swift kick with her little booted foot and marching just as swiftly back to the house. “Now” said Francis lowering his revolver, “Let me tell you precisely where you may locate your quarry”

BlackVictorianGentleman

Standard
Academy status, Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

The Hunt Is A-Foot!

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There is rest, dear hearts, at the end of all terrible strivings and endeavours, at the end of all heart breaking struggles there is a slumber filled peace and there is rest. Come with me dear hearts, take my hand and let us travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the ‘warriors of promise’ languish and groan in a ward assiduously and none too discretely guarded by the forces of law and order. Here lies Milty, a blood stained bandage wrapped neatly around his head, being fed beef broth by a kindly nurse, it is the first mother’s love he has ever known, it is the first hearty hot meal he has ever had occasion to enjoy. And over there in that corner by the Christmas tree sits Wendy Woodbine being comforted by a one legged match girl, each holds a rag doll smoothing their fingers wonderingly over the delicately painted dolls’ faces. These are the first toys they have ever been given, donated by no less a philanthropist than Lord Shaftesbury himself.

And see here, the kindly face of the Reverend Arthur Farquar, as he delicately and most sonorously intones the testimonies of Gove,

“And Moses came down the mountain of Gove, and he saw that the people rose up to frolic, and to play, before the golden sacrificial calf of equal pay and conditions they had fashioned for themselves, and behold the spirit of Gove was grieved, and he was filled with wrath”

“Bloody hell! He do go on don’t ‘e?” whispered one silk mill worker to another

“I’d swing for ‘im any day of the week…if I had a bludger handy, why don’t someone shut ‘im up?” replied his comrade, his eyes roving wildly around the hospital ward looking for something, anything to hurl at the Reverend Arthur Farquar, as he patrolled his flock, reading all the while from the sacred testimonies.

“I wouldn’t lay a finger on ‘im if I was you” replied another, “e’s a friend of Bodoo’s”

“Wot im?! I didn’t know Boodoo ‘ad any friends…”

There was much exchange of surprised glances at this little tit-bit of information,

“Well e’ has. That’s ‘im. So lay orfff!”

The silk mill workers who had been privy to this conversation, stare with pop-eyed amazement at this disciple of Gove. For his sombre dress and stern demeanour give no hint of his prestigious connections, he seems lucid though obsessed, he looks sane though a little lacking in warmth, he clutches at his worn copy of the testimonies of Gove with the characteristic fervour of an abstemious true believer.

“Sought ye to to throw off the shackles of St Gove without his most reverend & sacred consent! And without my benediction! Cursed art thou amongst the flock! And lo Moses did smash the stone tablets on which he had inscribed the mos maiorum of St Gove. And lo, he did grind the stone into powder and bade the people eat of it and yeah, verily, verily, did they choke”  

As he intoned these words Arthur Farquar’s gaze swept over his flock, most of whom lay prone on hospital beds, groaning in pain. He felt his heart surging with love for these fallen mill workers whose murderous rage and destructive actions had taken them so far from the glories of Gove.  It was his duty now to lead them back to the straight way and it was a duty from which he would not flinch!

“When’s Mrs Seacole happening by? I could do with a shot of gin after him!” muttered Bert, his back hurt something awful, his head was throbbing and he counted himself lucky to have been sneaked onto the ward by Lady Grid-Iron (Lor bless ‘er!). But having to listen to all this preaching with out so much as a drop of ‘by your leave’ it was too much! The only thing keeping him here was the fear of winding up in Newgate, at least here he had a chance of escape.

Most of the patients lie snug a-bed, warmed throughout for the first time and permitted their first ever experience of indolence, a state the rich know only too well. Some sleep with smiles flickering ocasionally on their faces, all frowns washed away in a sea of warmth. A great fire has been lit in the fireplace at the end of the ward and many of the wounded chimney sweeps have clustered around this, toasting freshly cooked turkey twizzlers in batter. As they chatter and chortle, their faces all flushed and greasy, an old woman limps towards them,

“Ere! You can’t smoke that in ere! This is a ‘ospital!” piped up one of the freshly washed boys,

“An a very nice ‘ospital it is too, but Jaesus! It’s cold out and I can barely warm me bare bones with a pipe and a smoke, so if it please yeh I’ll be muddling off in a while but I jus thought to ask whether my Toby was amongst you?”

“Toby?” said the chimney sweep surreptitiously eyeing the trousers he could glimpse from time to time beneath the worsted dress, “Ain’t never erd of him” the old lady fiddles with the inside of her bonnet, drawing forth a sovereign. And as she does so the chimney sweep glimpses some stubble on her chin,them Molly Maguires! He narrowed his eyes,

” We didn’t go to war with the likes of Tobias Grid-Iron for the sake of money! Put your sovereign away! I knows what you is and I knows what you want and I ain’t blaming ye but we don’t knows where he is, he should be swinging from a gibbet outside a Newgate, but that’s only for the likes of us!” he opined bitterly, turning back to the fire and his friends. The old lady (who is not an old lady), turns away clutching her shawl to her bosom and singing all the while quietly to herself she leaves the ward and shuffles down the corridor. The old lady shuffles past hospital ward after hospital ward, each closely guarded by an officer of the law,finally she/he halts before a stall at the end of the corridor where sits an apothecary, an administer of medicines. The apothecary, Mr Scroggins no less, of Muck Lane, looks a little surprised and dismayed when he spies the bristle chin and those rattle-snake eyes hidden beneath the brim of a be-ribboned bonnet; but the surprise is only momentary and he submerges it quickly,

“Get the word out” the bonnet laden insurrectionist whispers, “Fifty pounds goes to the man that’ll tell us where Lord Grid-Iron is hid”

“Fifty pounds?” Scroggins whispers back,

“Fifty pounds alive, ten dead”

Scroggins chuckled,”Much more like it!”

Standard
Hackgate, Hypocritical Cant

Of Secret Love & A Coffin Notice Long Deferred

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A brutal quiet has descended upon the Grid-Iron home dear reader, an eerie tomb-like silence. Even the Nightingales and the Cardinals that would gather and descend twitteringly upon Grid-Iron Square have fled. Not so the workers, Grid-Iron Square is deserted but these grim faced comrades have over-run Lord Grid-Iron’s town house and now, having barricaded themselves within, they await that final onslaught from ‘the enemies of promise’ .

“Ere Mickey fancy a beer?”

“You’re joking aren’t yeh? Have a tipple of Gin, it’ll warm you to the bones so it will, t’is awful gusty in ere! ”

Bert nodded in agreement, “Them leaded windows ain’t all they’re cracked up to be, we patched ’em up best as we could though” he eyed Mickey sharply, “Shouldn’t you be in pursuit of His Mibs?”

Mickey shook his head “I’m one that got out of that coal mine of his in one piece, after the walls collapsed, though there’s many that didn’t and many as lost their children too. I’ve done my share, I’ll leave the rest to the Molly Maguires God save ’em, fancy a pickled turkey twizzler? ”

“Nah, I’m feeling too gusty, I’ll have a tipple of Gin though, you seen Boodoo?”

A sultry evening at dusk dear reader, night has fallen. But the skies still blaze orange and crimson, lit up by the bonfires that abound in Grid-Iron Square and by the blazing conflagration eating its way steadily through the east-wing of the Grid-Iron home. Lady Grid-Iron and the servants have long since fled the premises, bundled into a coach and driven post-haste to Lord Grid-Iron’s country residence by Francis, the page boy. But where, pray tell, is Lord Grid-Iron? Let us alight upon a roof top not a quarter of a mile from a Grid-Iron chimney and observe a desperate, scrambling pursuit .

“Gombeen man! Gombeen man! We’re upon ye!” pistols can be heard being cocked and then fired and each near miss, each bullet that flys within an inch of it’s intended victim is greeted by a shriek and then a bellow of “Sweet Gove save me!”

“Sweet Gove? Sweet Gove? Of what use is such a profligate curse to such a Gombeen as thou? We’ll have at ye Gombeen man! We’ll have at ye!”

And indeed it does seem as if Lord Grid-Iron’s time has come, for as he scrambles desperately up and over one tiled roof after another,his face a ruddied sweating mess, his clothes befuddled and begrimed with soot, it seems that his speed has  slowed. And as he slows, his poorly used muscles trembling with fatigue, it seems that his pursuers have sped up, their legs and arms scuttling ever more quickly over each roof and towards him. Indeed it is as though Nemesis (the goddess of divine retribution), is carrying them on her wings as they fly through the air and relentlessly bear down upon him.

“My poor Sinead burned to death in one of thy coal mines!”

“Aye! My mother was driven off her own land by one of thy agents!”

“Aye! Aye! And my Da starved to death at they hands thou accursed Gombeen!!”

“Help me! Sweet Gove!” Lord Grid-Iron screamed,

And it indeed seems as if his prayers are heard, and answered, by that most dubious of saints, St. Gove, for the roof he is splayed upon crumples beneath him, sending him hurtling into the room beneath, pursued by the outraged cries of the Molly Maguires who have spent weeks travelling to this sceptred isle, just to have the pleasure of getting their hands on him.

As he falls Lord Grid-Iron’s life flashes before him, his many triumphs in the House of Commons, his marriage to the most esteemed Kitty Grid-Iron, his burning passion for Mrs Hayes. His fall is a long one in which he ceases to scream in terror at his precipitate descent, becoming at once both tranquil and silent, for death on collision seems imminent. And indeed it would have been so, had he not most fortuitously, fallen through the roof of Mrs Hayes ‘up-town residence’.

Mrs Hayes is at the peak of her nadir; her partially exposed bosom lying resplendent in a bejewelled corset of jet black silk, her flaming red hair artfully held in place with ivory combs and draped over one shoulder. Unperturbed by Lord Grid-Iron’s sudden and unplanned entrance, she sings on,

“Take a pair of sparkling eyes,take a figure trimly planned, such as admiration whets” she tra-la-la’s and trills wonderfully, cracking her whip in time to the music.

Lord Grid-Iron falls heavily at the feet of her avid customer, a most unlooked for climax to the evening’s events. Mrs Hayes continues to sing, “Take all these you lucky man! Take and keep them if you can!”. Now consider the embarassing quandary, nay the excruciating ‘situation gênante‘ as the avid client (a close relative of a certain monarch), arises from his ‘love seat’ at the feet of Mrs Hayes and speedily exits her attic ‘play space’.

Groaning and rolling to and fro on the attic floor, Lord Grid-Iron clutches at his left ankle which he is certain has been broken. He groans and he rolls around in exquisite pain and as he does so Mrs Hayes continues to sing, “Take my counsel happy man! Act upon it if you can! Take my counsel happy man! Act upon it if you can!”

Tobias Grid-Iron has ‘acclimatized’ himself to the love of his love having many illicit liaisons, but he has difficulty resigning himself to her utter indifference to his excruciating suffering at her feet. He is mortified by his humiliation, he is heartbroken by her indifference, he faints…

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Standard
ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant

On The Subject Of Chimney Sweeps

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“How long d’you think it’ll take them?” asked Bert,

“Oooh..not long” replied Boodoo, “Not long at all, the workers was already up in arms and what with that explosion, I wouldn’t fancy Lord Grid-Irons chances at all, he should have hiked it to the countryside but then there’s nowt so naive as the aristocracy” squinting off into the distance he could barely make out the orangey, pulsating, glow of the conflagration that had been St-Martin-In-The-Fields, dense grey-black smoke hovered above the spot. Boodoo felt exultant, with a little help from the Chimney- Sweeps this had been his best conflagration yet. And the fun wouldn’t end there, oh no, by this day’s end he would see the down fall of the one man who had parted him from his beloved sister, Emily LeFevre.

“Fancy a pickled bloater?”

“Nah”

“How about some fried tripe?”

“Nah”

“Well what about a roast potato pickled in turkey twizzler dripping? You can’t go wrong with some turkey twizzler dripping”

“Bloody hell Bert! Don’t you think bout nothing but food?”

“Oi oi! Here they come!”

Now, dear reader, envisage the scene at Grid-Iron square, the sombre and austere silence of three hundred smartly clad policemen, spiked helmets clutched tightly by grim hands, manning the barriers pop-eyed and expectant, and four dozen of her Majesty’s Huzzars, fresh out of the Crimean, sharpening the edge of their swords briskly, their eyes alight with unbridled glee, blood-shed was certain.

“Oi oi! Here they come!” Bert said once again and Boodoo, perched alongside Bert on the roof of Lord Grid-Irons town house simply smiled, “Ere Bert” he said serenely, “Toss us a Turkey Twizzler” munching speculatively on the cold and spicy meat they gazed out over the roof tops and down toward the preparations that were a-foot in Grid-Iron square. Overhead a pall of grey-black smoke hovered and undulated it’s way towards them from St-Martin-In-The-Fields, whilst on the ground all had come to a halt and the air was thick with expectant dread.

“There heeeeere” Bert declared shrilly, for not even his world weary gaze could quite take in the sheer enormity of the mob that had swarmed down from St-Martin-In-The-Fields and now seemed intent upon over-running Grid-Iron Square and tearing it apart, he thanked St. Gove he was perched firmly a-top a roof. And oh my dears! What a terrible sight! What a nightmarish spectacle for young eyes had they the wit to be terrified!

“Aieeeeeee! Aieeeee!” screamed the little chimney sweeps as they bore down like a roaring tide upon the hapless police officers,”Aieeeee! Aieeeee!” that shrill heart-stopping cry was as nothing next to the sound of the chimney scrapers they wielded, like a roaring tide of locusts devouring a cornfield, the chimney sweeps swept over the officers-of-the-law throwing themselves upon the Hussars. Then came the onslaught of the silk mill workers, who upon seeing their children joined in hand to hand combat with the Hussars, went to work themselves mopping up the leavings so to speak.

“Ere what Boodoo I didn’t know ‘erbert Wilkins was capable?”

Boodoo chortled, “E’s capable alright! Caught him trying his hand at badgering once, ‘ad to warn him smart” they both watched as little Herbert, a scarlet coloured band tied around his head, grabbed hold of a horse’s reins pulling himself up into the saddle behind the terrified Hussar. Plunging his fingers into the Hussars glossy locks he pulled hard, jerking the rider back, and causing the horse to rear, until all crumpled down into the ferocious millieux that would in time be known as the battle of Grid-Iron Square.

The two arsonists watched avidly, as wild looking women dipped beneath their skirts to remove their garters and then proceeded to use them as sling shots with which to aim and shoot bits of sharp edged debris at the enemies of promise. Here and there could be seen  police officers staggering under the weight of an enraged child, Hussars galloped to and fro caught in clear panic as chimney sweep after chimney sweep bit their noses, swung from their sword scabbards and gripped them fiercely by the hair. “A-ha!” shouted one Crimea Veteran triumphantly, ” I have you now!” as he gripped a child firmly by his soot-covered throat, ” Oh no you ruddy haven’t!” screamed another child as he flicked him aggressively in the forehead with the flat of his triangular shaped chimney scraper.

The sunset set at its usual pace as the workers and the forces of law and order grappled with each other, until at last only the workers (as well as those injured and near-comatose) remained. Those Hussars and police officers who could, had fled, and quite frankly who could blame them? For they had families to consider, “Its gone quiet for a bit” said Boodoo, “Pass me a spicy bloater” chewing speculatively on the meat his eyes passed over the crowd to a lady clad in a scarlet dress with a tri-cornered hat squarely a-top her head. Madame Guacamoley! It couldn’t be no other! He licked his lips with relish as the lady cantered briskly over the battlefield with the shrewd eyed union rep at her side,

“Comrades!” she roared, here eyes a-blaze with righteous indignation, “Our work is not over!Look around you! Does Lord Grid-Iron lie bleeding on the groud beneath your feet? Is it his loud groans you hear? Whilst your young ‘uns eat dried turkey twizzler mince, he dines on roast goose! Whilst you and yours warm yourselves by hearths heated by a single piece of coal, his face flushes with the warmth of a blazing log fueled fire! Comrades on your feet! Our work is not yet done! To Grid-Iron Manor!”

“To Grid-Iron Manor!” the workers roared their minds a-flame with thoughts of long hours and short wages “Avaunt thee Grid-Iron!” bonfires had been lit hither and thither by the workers who had tossed the various Hussar and Police officer’s uniforms upon them, in the midst of those alternately crimson, scarlet and amber coloured flames it seemed as though the workers had become the very denizens of hell, “Blimey!” said Bert as he prepared to dig into his fifth dried Turkey Twizzler, “They ain’t done yet!”

Standard
Academies, Hypocritical Cant

My Little Pony

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“Will Scroggins cough up?” Emile asked with a smirk, they’d had no problem setting the fire, since old man Scroggins hadn’t fixed the roof. But he’d been thoroughly suspicious of the miraculous appearance of Boodoo and his fire cart, the instant the conflagration really got going.

“E’ will if he wants ‘is fires putting out” Bert replied, “What’s ‘e taking us for? Clambering up them ladders requires a great deal of expertise, if ‘e don’t like fires ‘e should fix ‘is roof, fancy a beer?”

“Nah, but I will take a glass of sherry, where’s Boodoo?”

“Behind you”

Emile turned round to see Boodo delivering a swift kick to a pitiful looking young lad who’d crept quietly up behind him,

“Dig your sly fingers into my back pocket will you?! Hook it Milty!”

“But I was only thinking to ask you something”

“Oh was you? Thinking to ask me the way to New South Wales was you? You’d better HOOK IT!”

Milty slunk away his arms hanging temporarily by his sides as he wriggled his way through the crowded pub and out the door.

“You didn’t need to be doing that, Milty’s mum’s took bad, been laid up in bed with the cholera for the past week ”

“I bet. The water round ‘ere is minging and she has more than a fleeting acquaintance with gin laced beer that one”

“That’ll be the reduction in beer duty, Mrs Hayes ‘as been talking on it something rotten, ‘er custom has dropped at the nunnery.”

Boodoo chuckled, “Reckon she’ll lower ‘er prices?”

Emile shook his head, “Birch rods she uses, soaked in tubs of fresh cold water, to keep ’em pliant, costs a deal of money to do that. It’s a gent’s nunnery, cost-price ain’t in it; how’s your sister I ‘ere she’s gone into service”

Boodo shrugged, ” She’s cut me off. She says she has no liking for the company I keep and then of course there was the fire”

Emile’s blue eyes twinkled, he stroked his moustache pensively,”What? St Bacchanalia’s asylum? How much did you make on that one?”

Boodo frowned, he rubbed both his hands over the stubble on his head and considered,

” T’was a mere trifle…forty shillings”

Emile whistled, “forty shillings, well I never, there’s a great deal to be said for fixing the roof whilst the sun is shining, particularly when it comes to setting fires”

Boodoo shrugged, “Fancy a glass of sherry?”

Emile nodded “I’ve got a job for you which requires an increased skill set and a certain degree of expertise, if you’ve a mind to do it, we can discuss it over a glass”

Wading carefully through the crowded pub they made their way over to the bar where Boodo’s associate, Bert Marsh, was already seated with a glass of sherry. Sitting down alongside him they looked the pub over, business was booming without a doubt, though Emile couldn’t help but to note that few were drinking beer. For it was taken as a given, that if Lord Aberdeen’s government was giving anything away to the poor, he had to want something for it. And so here they all sat drinking sherry and gin paying twice over the odds what they would have on beer.

” Well, well my boys!” said Bert, his face all rosy and flushed after five glasses of sherry “You’ll never guess what Donny Doyle’s gone and done now! He’s definitely for the rope this time!They found his landlady laid up in the cellar…in pieces ”

“Will you keep it down?” Boodoo hissed, he glanced around “There might be beaks in ‘ere there’s no telling”

Bert nearly fell off his stool with laughing, “It’s a beak what told me! What’s you done with ‘er? They asks him, and you know what he replies? I was merely painting her miniature, if it’s anything to do with you” Bert looked fit to die from laughing, though it certainly wouldn’t have been a laughing matter for Danny’s landlady.

Emile and Boodoo looked at each other, Danny Doyle, coerced supplicant at the altar of Gove, ex-member of the Rouge Bull Posse and currently a miniature painter extraordinaire. If ever there was a man with a speedily increasing skill set it was him.

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“Wake him up! Somebody wake him up!”
Donny Doyle his pant’s legs swishing just above his ankles,went sauntering down the aisle to sir’s desk, he flicked his plastic ruler against sir’s forehead,then he skipped back to his desk and sat down. Mrs Fetter glared at him,but Donnie met her stare unflinchingly. Everyone new that sir suffered from chronic narcolepsy, he hadn’t taken a lucid lesson in years.
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Donny’s mum, uncles, cousins and brother had all passed through sir’s classes, becoming autodidacts of the first order. Why Uncle Denny owed his car mechanic’s business to sir, and Aunt Maggie would never have qualified as a maid at the age of twelve had sir been awake.
Donny was different to the rest of his family in that he wanted to join the Rouge Bull Posse and be smashing it up in the neighbourhood innit. Instead of which he found himself forced to sit through fifty minutes of snoring three times a week alongside every other form of bullshit this school had to offer.
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“Donny Doyle outside my office please, this minute! I asked you to wake him up! Not assault him! Shameless child!”
“But e was asleep miss!”
“Nonsense Donny! Mr Tuffy was merely taking five minutes to reflect upon the plenary”
Mrs Fetter continued to glare at him as he slid off his chair and shuffled out of the classroom. She made the sign of the DfE,running her fingers over the pearls around her neck and muttering the creed of St Gove under her breath as she did so,
“Blessed be St Gove, who leadeth us towards aspirational ethos by way of stringent performance evaluation, relentless observation and moral rigour. Scatter thy blessings upon thy flock I pray,deliver us from the spectre of required improvements and lead us in the way outstanding”
Behind her, his head in his hands sir groaned,
“Mr Tuffy-Milton! Rouse yourself!”, Boo Doo’s parents are in my office”
“Boo Doo who?”
The students sniggered, everyone knew Boo Doo.
“Mr Tuffy!”
“Yes alright, ok, I’m coming”
He clambered to his feet
” What time is it?
“It’s 10.30, your students are half an hour late to Spanish!”
Boo Doo’s parents had been seated for well over an hour when Mrs Fetter finally re-entered her office accompanied by Mr Tuffy. Just glancing at Mrs LeFevre’s expressionless face made her want to cry out for aid & succour before the throne of Gove, but she suppressed the urge, unclenching her pearls she took a seat.
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“Good morning Mr and Mrs LeFevre” Mrs Fetter extended her hand but then as Mrs LeFevre hissed whilst Mr Lefevre rolled his eyes she quickly withdrew it. Coughing ostentatiously, Mr Tuffy strove to conceal a smirk.
” I think we all know why we are here” Mrs Tuffy began,
“No we don’t! We really don’t! I should be taking in washing, Emily’s just finished her night shift at the cotton mill, I should be cooking her breakfast!”
Mr Tuffy stifled a snore, the urge to fall asleep was really quite overwhelming.Mrs Fetter smiled thinly,
“Quite. And once this issue is sorted you may proceed with your day, I only have one question to pose, why is Boo Doo still here?”
Mrs LeFevre raised a quizzical eyebrow,
” Pardon me?”
“Why is Boo Doo still here? I was under the impression that you had made alternative educational arrangements for him to apprentice with a professional chimney sweep”
Mrs LeFevre narrowed the eye beneath the monocle,
“This school is an academy is it not?”
“Yes”
“Aspiring to educate the great uneducated under-class are you not?”
” Well…yes”
“Aspiring to provide them with an Etonian infused education?”
” Well…”
“Then Boo Doo stays!” Mrs LeFevre proclaimed triumphantly,
” For I am a parent governor, I too have read the works of the great Gove, and according to him the customer is always right, and WE ARE CUSTOMERS!! ”
“Yes but-”
Mrs Fetter’s objection was cut short by the loud snores of Mr Tuffy, who had curled himself up on his chair and fallen asleep. Mr and Mrs LeFevre exchanged glances,
” Still ere is he?” Mr LeFevre said,
“He taught me English or rather I taught me-self, we’d heard as how you’d promoted him, made him an assistant head or some such, Boo Doo STAYS”
As the LeFevres swept out of the office Mrs Fetter clutched the edge of her desk, visions of Tuffy clambering out of windows and across window ledges swept through her mind, dear sweet Gove…
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Academy status, ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant

The Curious Case of Boodoo Lefevre

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