Hypocritical Cant

On The Irregular Indulgence Of A Natural Impulse

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‘It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.’

– Edgar Allan Poe

It is well past midnight when the eminent politician’s Brougham pulls up outside Ah Tack’s Lodging House in Pennyfields. The mood of his driver is baleful for has he not spent the greater part of two hours travelling through every iniquitous den and dive in London, being made to wait in the cold (and the pouring wet), outside many a strike-ridden nunnery? There is hardly a dive in London where his Lordship has not tried to threaten or admonish proprietor after proprietor. And now, here they are at last, forced to canter down into ChinaTown to Ah Tacks, where, much to the suspicion of his Lordship’s driver, the eminent politician is welcomed with open arms by none other than the voluptuous Canton Katey ‘erself. “Oh lor! My Lordship! After all these years! Well I nevah! What brings you ere?! You ave not deigned to sample our wares in some time!” she winks lewdly, chuckles raucously and at last his lordship starts to relax. Sliding a plump arm around his waist she whisks him into the utter darkness of her rookery.

Lit just well enough for its denizens to find their way deeper still into its nooks and crannies but not lit too well. Led by the plump well-rounded hand around his waist, the eminent politician travels deeper still into the lodging house that Canton Katey calls home. It is like fumbling one’s way through a dense London fog, for the air is suffused with the heady aroma of opium, thick and dense and intoxicating. All around him he can hear the pain filled groans and unearthly sighs of men awash on the ethereal shores of opium addiction. The pragmatic, principled side of his nature is horrified. What in God’s name is he doing here? But his fleshly and more carnal impulses prevail, he has no wife, he has no fiancee and there are certain entirely natural impulses which must be sated if he is to remain sane and by God! Sate them he will!

“Off with that hat my Lord! Make yourself comfy! Ah Tak! Attend ‘is Lordship! Ang Sing? where’s Ang Sing? There’s a gent ‘ere needs soothing and no mistake! Fetch Ang Sing!”

Ang Sing, the command is uttered by one mouth, and then another, until the room his ‘lordship’ is in resounds with that name wondrously spoken and until at length, Ang Sing appears. His Lordship is uncloaked, his cravat loosened, he reclines easefully on Canton Katey’s chaise longue and Ang Sing, a prodigious beauty of not inconsiderable girth, materialises and lies beside him. Gone is his irritation at being nay-sayed by a professed leader of the lower classes, one whom he has consigned to Newgate (along with all those intellectually challenged fools who followed his lead). His irritations soothed, his natural impulses sated, he slides into slumber like one drugged.

“Poor Sot! A fine time he’s had of it!”

“Who? Him?” the eminent politician’s driver jerks his thumb towards his Lordship and raises an enquiring eyebrow, Canton Katey displaying genuine affection for  a gent? Well he never! Smirking, Katey shook her head, “The union rep ye dolt! Him as called the mill workers strike! What I should like to know is why ‘im as has the best interests of all at heart should be destined for Botany Bay!” Glaring down at the supine figure of the eminent politician she let rip a mirthless chuckle, “As for him? Such as he should know by now that when we calls a strike we means it!”

“You wouldn’t!”

“I would!”

“You didn’t!”

“Oh calm down won’t you! It’ll be at least a month before the symptoms show, plenty of time for you to find other employment”

“He’ll do for you!”

Now Katey cocks her head at an angle and stares at him hard and direct, the smoke has cleared, all the dreamers have gone and a cold wind whistles through a broken, rag stuffed window pane. “He’ll do for me will e? What? Like e’s done for the sons and daughters of the ‘fallen women’ he’s so fond of ‘avin? Get im out of ere!”

And so, dear reader, the driver departs with an eminent politician in tow and a dark foreboding in his heart. Driving back through the near empty streets of London in the glistening, glittering dark, hunched low in his seat he reflects grimly on this night’s doings. All unionised girls were clean, it therefore followed that the girl Katey had given to his Lordship wasn’t unionised and therefore hadn’t yet been given a clean bill of health.His Lordship had always been a man of probity where his natural impulses were concerned, he’d always made sure he’d indulged them with the very best. How could he have fallen so low.

“Terrible! Simply terrible!” the driver utters these words aloud and in the same breath curses his luck. Whipping his horses into a dreadful frenzy so that the Brougham quickly gathers pace he departs the hinterlands of ChinaTown and heads back to the plush surroundings of the eminent politician’s residence in Sloane Square.

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Academy status, Hypocritical Cant

Quoth The Raven Never More (Part 2)

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T’was a terrible day at Raven’s Industrial Academy, for indeed it had been a terrible night, t’was a night and a day of progressive betrayal.”Will the Headmaster be okay?” asked little Emily LeFevre her large brown eyes brimming with tears, her little nose all smeared with soot from cleaning the kitchen grate. Master Farquar eyed her sympathetically, “I shouldn’t wonder but he’ll recover eventually, they always do” as for the rest of them that remained to be seen. Discovered as they had been, attempting to fake year four’s mole skin trouser assemblage course work. But then who could have foreseen the reckless dedication to duty of the Slop Work Exams’ Inspector, who having clambered five floors up towards the Leather-Work Department (with the help of the infamous Boodo), using naught but a climbing rope from his expeditionary days,proceeded to break through the fifth floor leaden casement window.

They had all been thoroughly scared out of their wits by this sodden apparition clad in black, none more so than the Headmaster, who with an ear puncturing shriek and his hands outstretched, attempted to throw himself upon the recalcitrant Boodo. Alas the Exams’ Inspector got the better of him, thrusting Boodo behind his back with one hand and the Headmaster to the floor with the other. The Headmaster, reaching out to steady himself with one hand, knocked over a table on which had been placed a gas lamp, which in turn shattered, creating a sudden conflagration of gas &  flammable liquids which had been carelessly strewn on the floor earlier that night. The resultant bonfire would have done for them all had it not been for Boodoo, and the Exams’ Inspector.

Hefting the Headmaster onto one of his soaking wet shoulders, the Exams’ Inspector descended the rope. Boodoo meanwhile, made for the back office whereupon he clasped hold of Master Parnham, dragging and yanking him ferociously away from the course work he was attempting to fabricate, and towards the exit,followed closely by Arthur Farquar. Master Farquar had little time for Boodoo, but that night Boodoo displayed such mettle, such steely character, that Arthur’s estimation of him rose, and he determined to do all in his power, to see to it that Boodoo was successfully apprenticed.

St Bacchanalia’s Fire Service arrived in no time at all, however, there was no little confusion as to exactly when they would be permitted to put the fire out; being as they were on strike and all. “Should we put the fire out?” asked the Chief Fireman, “You asking me?” said the Union Rep, his yellow souwester dripping with rain water, “I’m asking you. Though from what I can see there is no fire as such, just a gradual smoking deterioration of the external fabric of the building, accompanied by the occasional flaring spark” he glanced at the Union Rep who nodded, “Brother” said he “I am in perfect agreement” and so it was that Raven’s Industrial Academy burned ever so slowly to the ground, in a sputtering series of occasional flaring sparks.

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