Academies, Academy status, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire

Of Ionian Enchantments

canterbury-tales friar

“Obsculta! O fili, praecepta magistri,et inclina aurem cordis tui,et admonitiem pii patris libenter excipe et efficaiter comple!”

“Listen! O my son, to the teachings of your master, and turn to them with the ear of your heart, willingly accept the advice of a devoted father, indeed act upon it!”

“ut ad eum per oboedientiae laborum redeas a quo per inoboedientiae decidiam recesseras! “

“Thus you will return by the labour of obedience to the one from whom you drifted through the inertia of disobedience, St. Gove be praised!”

“Sweet Gove!”

T’is Spring and Father Anacletus thinks that the vast metropolis that is London, seems so much darker, pungent and, putrid,so much more depraved than is normally the case. The Brotherhood of St Gove Imperator Angelorum, has convened for the service of Compline, at the newly annexed parish church of St Tobias-in-the-North. A new Chaplain has been installed,and with the aid and succour of members of the order of St. Gove,they have funded the construction of  another Imperator Angelorum Industrial School. Five hundred supplicants alone are immersed in the testimonies of Gove and the virtues of labour for labour’s sake. And their numbers are growing, soon, all of London will embrace the Industrial School revolution, the beneficent gift of the Goveen Brotherhood.

Lifting up his work worn hands and raising his heavy lids towards the rafters of the humble chapel, Father Anacletus offers up the following prayer.”Sanctify, oh sanctify us, to thy purposes Lord Gove. As we restore unto this empire the very days of thy perfection, when man frolicked midst the gardens of paradise, wherein all knew their place in the scheme of things. Oh Lord Gove, in thy flawless altruism, grant us an unblemished revelation of thy ways. And grant us, pray grant us fresh and bounteous visions of thy intent. Hear this, my prayer St.Gove!”

Father Anacletus slowly lowers his hands to his sides and turning his palms downwards proffers a blessing on the gathered congregation. He scrutinises the monks and priests who stand before him, all deep in prayer and all with their eyes upturned toward the statue of St.Gove. All except the Reverend Arthur Farquar who is looking deeply troubled. Turning his palm upwards Father Anacletus catches his eye and beckons him forward. The Reverend Farquar pales, but since none dare decline an order of the sainted Father, he tiptoes hesitantly down the aisle.”Go my brothers” the sainted father chants in a sing-song voice.”Go my brothers! And may joy surround you, as you teach the testimonies of sweet Gove!”

The humble chapel like most places graced by the presence of the Goveen Brotherhood has taken on a much lighter aspect. The marble altar sparkles and glitters in the cold morning light. The new installed stained glass windows shower the grey stone columns with a kaleidoscope of bright colours. There is an air of freshness, of newness which that place has not seen in centuries. And yet even Arthur is disturbed by what has most recently transpired.”Speak my son speak” urges the gentle father once the very last of his supplicants has departed the chapel,”What ails you?”.

“T’is the appointment of the Reverend Farthengrodden Father, I am most perturbed by it”.

“Why pray tell?” asks the sainted father with a smile,

“T’is not my place to vaunt corrupting gossip, but, he has been suspected  of murder Father!”

“But, he has been acquitted Reverend” replies the sainted father calmly.

“I know father, but he has been most recently brought before the Bow Street Magistrate, for the embezzlement of work house funds”.

Father Anacletes smiles benignly and makes his reply,”He was acquitted of that also my son. Do you doubt the wisdom of the Goveen Brotherhood in appointing him Principal of the new industrial school?” placing a warm hand on the sleeve of Arthur Farquar’s robes he looks up into his face wise owl that he is and smiles.” My dear child, his family have been great benefactors to our cause for many, many, years. Pray tell, is thy old headmaster still resident at Bethlem Asylum?”

The Reverend Farquar blushes and nods, Father Anacletes continues,”And Master Parnham, how is he?” now Arthur’s face grows pale for t’is well known that since the burning down of Ravens Industrial School and the murder of his daughter, Master Parnham has fallen (direly) to drink.

“Whereas you dear Arthur go from strength to strength a giant amongst maggots! The Reverend Farthengrodden has fallen down before the feet of the brotherhood, confessed his sins and bitterly repented of them. He has left off all profane associations and now resides at the Imperatur Angelorum Monastery. He is a brand plucked from the burning, you need have no worries so far as he is concerned.”

Arthur Farquar is mortified, is the burning stench of Raven’s Industrial School never to leave him? “Tell me how goes it with your congregation? I’ve heard tell they struggle to embrace the ways of Gove”. Heard tell? Who could possibly have tiptoed off and told him? Reverend Farquar pales even further, he looks as though he might faint,”I am told that you have had considerable difficulty reining in Master Liquorish’s taste for the old religion“.

“M-m-my lord!” still smiling the sainted father waves a be-ringed hand before him dismissively.”No matter,Master Liquorish has fallen ill”

“Indeed?” Reverend Farquar strives desperately to affect an air of outward serenity. “T’is feared he may never leave his bed, in fact it is rumoured that he has had the last rites read over him, by the former priest of this parish naturally”.  

Having his competency queried the Reverend Farquar lacks the confidence to suggest a replacement for the dying man and so he asks timidly,”Who is to take his place as church warden and treasurer?”

“Why who else?” responds the sainted father with a triumphant smile,”Reverend Farthengrodden!”

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

Persons of Immediate Interest & the Others

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The honourable Robert Farthengrodden, defended in an appalling admirable manner by the Kinsella QC (and so, acquitted of the murder of sweet, Mary Parnham, upon the defence of sonambulistic wanderings). Estranged from Lady Bedelia Farthengrodden, mother of his six children, who, as a consequence of the scandal entered holy orders as a novitiate of the Goveen Sisterhood. Having gained his freedom he took up a position as a work house guardian that he might atone all the better for his past sins. And once he had won the favour of Miss Peepy, he took over the onerous duties of auditing the Workhouse accounts. Well, she said, he said iz duties was ‘onerous’ and indeed they must have been, for six months into the job, he disappears and a hundred pound of charitable contributions disappears with ‘im!

T’was a tragedy dear reader! T’was a horror that such as once graced the corridors of power should have stooped to such immoral depths. That a gentleman of such good breeding should willingly have plunged into such swirling, suppurating deeps as these! Why sirs! I know not what to comment! Except, that in the words of St. Gove that translucent effervescence, sic transit gloria mundi, so passes away earthly glory. And furthermore,non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum (self explanatory).

And so, from Monday to Sunday (and back again) I lay in wait for Robert Farthengrodden, whom, I heard told, had taken lodgings at the East India Club. As a rule, once a man has succoured himself extensively (and in public), upon the bosom of iniquity, the upper echelons keep their distance. Not so with Farthengrodden and, once I had ascertained that he would be in residence for some time,I was able to avail myself of a lunch invite in the company of Alf (the fence)De Quincey.

“Well” says I, “This is a pretty pass, twenty minutes sat here drinking turtle soup and still no sign of him”

“Oh he’ll be in to dine right enough, he’s taken to one of them gels what lives in the cupboard.”

“What cupboard?” says I,

That cupboard.” says he, lifting one delicately manicured thumb and jabbing it towards a large ebony wood grandfather clock wot lay behind him. Well as I turns me head I see’s the most peculiar sight. There’s a door at the base of the clock and as it opens slowly I see first a pale hand and then a foot wriggle itself out of the compartment, followed by a reed like neck and two blinking peepers! “Well, well,” I says, “This is a most peculiar practice, a most peculiar practice, stashing one’s servants in a grandfather clock! What will the ruling classes think of next?”

“Tis the necessities of the Crimean” says Alf with an air of mystery.

“The necessities of what?” says I flummoxed by the pale, reedy looking gent quickly clearing away our soup dishes. “The Crimean, they’re refugees and since they ain’t got regular papers” (the reedy gent proffers a soiled gloved hand for a tip which Alf won’t give, on principle), “They works ‘ere for board and lodgings” well, my eyes narrows  at that and I asks,”Whose idea was that?”.

“Ask ‘im” he replies jabbing his thumb once more behind him where I espies none other than the once honourable Farthengrodden squeezing hisself into the Grandfather clock lodgings. He has half disappeared into the cupboard already, but with all speed I leap towards him and grabbing ‘im by the scruff of the neck I declares,”Not so fast my lad! You’ve charges to answer!”

“Charges?” says he all innocent and such,

“Of Larceny!” Says I, not put off in the slightest by his gentlemanly appearance, for t’was upon my breast that the elderly Miss Peepy cried her poor Christian heart out! “Larceny!” I exclaims once more, tugging on the collar of his dinner jacket. “Look lively my lad! Come to it! For my name is Sergeant Qwinty sir, and you are to attend the the Magistrate’s pleasure!”

“Magistrates pleasure?” says he looking suitably puzzled for our conversation has drawn the attention of other gentleman, and are they bemused by the sight of refugees wriggling out of their hiding places? Not at all! They look prodigious perplexed that such a gentleman as this should have fallen once more into scandal in the midst of their club. “Magistrates pleasure!” I repeat the words casting my eyes around the gentlemanly gathering in a meaningful sort of way, whereupon they draws themselves up indignantly and pointedly resumes their dining. “Come along peaceably won’t you?” and eventually he does for there’s no evading justice once it has you in its grip. And so, dear reader, I carried the depredatory gent off to Bow Streets Magistrates. And once there, in due course, the rascal charmed the Magistrate into letting him off.

T’was nigh on a week later when I spotted the ‘Spitalfield’s Workhouse Robber” strolling back to the East India Club, he was arm in arm with a pallid, wan looking creature, a Crimean lass no doubt. I had little time to reflect upon this as I was headed toward Bow Streets Magistrates, this time with a pickpocket in tow. But later in the day, over a glass of Sherry at the Nags Head Tavern, the following words sprang to mind,

It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor what gets the blame,
It’s the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn’t it a blooming shame?

-Billy Bennett

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Academies, ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant

That Attractive Rainbow That Rises In Showers Of Blood

riots

‘The people which sat in darkness have seen a great light. And to them which sat in the shadows of blobbishness light has sprung up’

-The Testimonies Of Gove

I, for one, do not believe that people should be forced to say what they know they should not say, or mean. And yet, a’las, such has been the case since the appointment of the Reverend Arthur Farquar to the Parish of St Tobias-in-the-North. Gone is the esteemed portrait of Lord Aberdeen purveyor of decreased beer tax duty; gone the statue of Lord Gordon Grid-Iron of the Umbongos. Gone the 48 carat gold, gem encrusted, censers and with them precious memories held by the parishioners of their fathers and forefathers and the role they played in the civil war of Umbongo Bongo.

‘A brand from the burning! They are a congregation plucked like a brand from the burning! Oh sweet Gove, dear precious guardian of my soul! King of Kings! And Lord of Lords! Oh Captain of the Armies of the Lord God of Ofsted! Turn thy shining gaze upon us, look upon us thy supplicants at the throne of unbridled revelation! Shed thy tender gaze upon us sweet Gove! Refresh us oh refresh us! St Gove!”

“Sweet Gove” mutter the congregants glancing at each other and rolling their eyes.

“Oh Gove!” groans the Reverend Arthur Farquar, his hands thrown palmward to heaven, his eyes gazing all the while upon a marble representation of the essence of his lord and saviour (and now theirs) St. Gove.

“That ruddy statue cost us fifty pounds! Fifty ruddy pounds!” one parishioner remarked aggressively,”

“And he’s quadrupled the number of Sunday services and says we’re to attend everyone or risk ex-communication! Father McMahon used to supply us with a strong abundance of wine during communion” whispered another,

“Does e expect us to worship at the throne of Gove all Sunday long?! And to take our communion merely with water? And pray what of the wirgin Mary and Our Lord? Where do they figure in this?” hissed another,

“Credo in unum GOVE-um! Factorum caeli et TER-RAE! Visibilium omnium! et OM-NIUM!”

An ethereal light seems to fall from the stain-glassed window (newly purchased) upon the naked head of the Reverend Arthur Farquar, whom, if we were to make predictions based upon the naked inclinations of the congregants, is not long for this world. For as the reverend, reverend, turns once more toward the altar of St.Gove, a congregant takes a pork-pie bought that morning from Mrs Scroggins out of his pocket, and begins to munch upon it. Another uncorks a bottle of beer and taking a large gulping swig, that he may better slake his thirst, lets rip a raucous snigger. And still another congregant (we know not who) unwraps a Turkey Twizzler and a bread roll and with bib wrapped tightly around her neck and knife in hand, begins to make her lunch.

Such conduct would outrage even the gentlest Goveen devotee, but Lord Arthur, choosing to exercise both prudence and rectitude, pretends he cannot hear the vigorous munching and swigging going on in the pews behind him. Instead he turns his eyes upon the essence of St. Gove casting the new bought gold-plated censer before him. “Let us pray” he intones melodiously in keeping with the new Goveen way, for he reasons that once most heads are bowed in deep spiritual reflection, he may safely turn his benficent gaze upon them all and bring the service to a close. But alas! It is not to be  for as the most reverend, reverend turns to administer his final blessing his gaze falls upon a congregant who having made his way up the aisle stops gob-smacked before the priest.

“I know you!” he loudly asserts, “Wasn’t you at Raven’s Industrial Academy?” poor Arthur Farquar! Is it to be ever thus? “You were! You’re the Mole Trouser Stretcher! You was there when it got burned down by the Principal!” dear reader, the intake of breath amongst the congregation is audible. Raven’s Industrial Academy? Of the parish of St. Bacchanalia? Could this be he? The Master responsible for the Mole-Trouser-Stretching-Scandal? Clutching at his surplice Reverend Farquar staggers through the closing prayer and dismisses the congregation. But no one moves, all remain seated until at length one among their number, Thomas Liquorish, senior warden and ardent opponent of  Goveen’ism hobbles forth. His eyes gleam with hatred, a sour smile flits across his bearded visage and taking in the marble altar (newly purchased) and matching statue he utters only five words,

“We want our church back!”

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Hypocritical Cant

The Fall Of The House Of Grid-Iron

House-of-Usher

How goes the night dear reader? It is quiet, oh so quiet in the home of Lord Grid-Iron, nothing stirs, no, not even a mouse. But outside, on the streets, some distance from the graveled driveway leading up to Lord Grid-Iron’s mansion, it appears as though all of Bedlam has broken loose, indeed the primitive screams, howls, and sobs of murderous rage would be enough to chill one’s blood were such a one as Lord Grid-Iron aware of them, but he, alas, for the moment, is blissfully unaware. Indeed, riven with torment over his most recent excursion to Mrs Hayes ‘Nunnery’ it is a wonder that he can fix his mind on anything, save the rapid speed with which his soul is descending into the well-heated realms of perdition.

“I’m lost Emily, quite lost”

“Lost my Lord?” Emily glanced at him uneasily as she laid out the cold meats and the freshly baked bread, the pastries, accompanying silver, and linen napkin, folded neatly into its silver napkin holder. The very fact of standing in front of his Lordship laying the tea things out would have unsettled her nerves on any other occasion. But on this night of all nights with the house over run by bobbies, whistles and truncheons poised; and all the men-servants positioned at every entrance into the house, fireplace pokers and copper- pans at the ready. Everyone else in the kitchens might well pretend that they couldn’t hear the mayhem taking place in the streets but her hearing was fine, thank you very much! On this particular night, Emily couldn’t help wondering why they hadn’t locked up house and headed for the country. A blazing log fire crackled in the fireplace and Lord Grid-Iron stood with his back towards it, a crazed look in his eye, “Indeed” he said, his right eye twitching spasmodically, ” One cannot help but marvel at the sheer indomitable will of the Egyptians, bending the Hebrews to their service, enslaving them to the greater glory of their nation, only to be robbed by their ungrateful vassals! Pray? Do you know of Mrs Hayes? A most wonderful woman!”

On hearing that infamous name uttered by his most esteemed Lordship, Emily clutched her petticoats instinctively, for into them she had sewn a miniaturised copy of the testaments of St. Gove. She muttered a quick prayer for aid and succour turning a shocked glance upon his Lordship, and noting with muted horror that he appeared to be dancing upon the very precipice of hell, his face a-flame with she knew not what secret horrors, she turned hastily towards the vast bay window, where, alas, another kind of shock awaited her, no! Not here! Not here! Had she travelled so far from her beginnings to receive no mercy even now? Placing one tiny pastry covered hand against her pulsing breast Maggie swooned. “Maggie? Maggie? What ho! Maggie?” Bending over her, his Lordship sought to quickly loosen her stays (he had ample experience of stay-loosening). And so we leave him dear reader, in the midst of a rapidly shrinking calm before an even more rapidly approaching storm.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Beaumont-Adams revolver, invented and improved by Her Majesty’s Royal Engineers. I can cock back this little beauty and fire in one smooth stroke” Lady Grid-Iron cocked the gun in the crook of her arm and imitated firing her revolver, the scullery maids gasped, the household chef looked on with horror, the Butler with patent disgust, “Doesn’t hit the target nearly as well as my Colt, but as a second gun it will do nicely!” she tucked it into the beaded waistband of her skirt. Frances smothered a grin, all the kitchen staff looked simultaneously horrified and fascinated. And since they had gathered closely around her as she showed off the mechanics of this finely wrought instrument of death, they were nowhere near the windows when the first brick sallied forth followed by the cry “Down with Lord Grid-Iron!” Frances eyes twinkled, the game was a foot!

“Ladies to the store rooms! Quickly mind!” with the help of Frances, Lord Grid-Iron’s Butler shooed all the kitchen staff into the vast pantry where food provisions where stored the year round. “Your Ladyship!” his moustachioes bristled with disdain, for it was clear that Lord Grid-Iron had married into scandal, “Your Ladyship!” James unfurled one gloved hand extending it towards Kitty, who smiled most graciously as Frances crept up behind him and sharply rapped him on the head with a little leathern bludger he’d been given quite recently by Boodoo. “Did you need to hit him quite so hard?”

“It will let some air into his head and perhaps teach him the benefit of not getting in the way when his betters are in the process of reaping what they’ve sown Il hamdulillah, your orders m’aam?”

“At this point?” she threw him the Winchester rifle, “Guard the ladies and lay low, I’ll be upstairs in his Lordships library…if it’s still standing” Gathering her skirts up in her gloved hands, and tucking them firmly into the waist band, she fastened on a leather holster slipping a  revolver into each pouch. She made her way quickly into the vast hallway just in time to see the front door splinter inwards and a horde of armed workers begin to fight their way through. Quickly she slid into the library, hurrying towards the desk where Tobias kept all his correspondence, she found what she was looking for almost at once, a cream coloured, scarlet edged list and on that list three names from the bottom, the name of the most infamous American abroad, “Jedidiah Kane Thickett” Kitty Grid-Iron smiled, and it was the smile of a cat about to pounce upon a squirrel, that had, had the great misfortune of meandering her way, but t’was then that she heard a blood-curdling scream…to be continued….

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T’is late at night and the rowdy, brisk, hustle and bustle of London street life has dimmed to a barely audible hum. The streets are pitch dark and mostly empty; save for Inspector Girdy, pristine in his midnight blue uniform, fashioned from garbardine and replete with several well polished brass buttons. He is patroling Berkeley Square in as leisurely a manner as possible taking in every polished and gleaming cul-de-sac and lamp post. He would be about as likely to meet a thief, here on these streets, as he would be to meet an Irish nun, drunk and dancing a jig. And so, humming a cheery tune and waving a lantern before him, he waddles gently on his way. T’is late at night and the streets gleam and are damp with gently downpouring rain as two slender figures slip out of the tradesmen’s entrance to Lord Grid-Iron’s estate, and hurry off into the night.

“I know t’is better to give than to receive Emily, but I can’t help thinking that this game pie would be better off placed back in the pantry”

“Now Maggie, think of them little ones with their bellies all nice and full, and their cheeks all flushed with joy as they wash that pie down with some beer. Won’t that warm thy heart Maggie?”

They hurried on through Clothilde Avenue where sparkling white lace curtains parted, to reveal candles glimmering on the window sills and Oleander Square where gleaming cobble stones lay bathed in the glow of rows of street lamps. Faster they walked as the downpour grew heavier, glossing the slimy cobblestones which lay half disintegrated beneath their boot-clad feet, and causing the soot encrusted bricks to gleam darkly in the amber half-light radiated by lanterns hung from doss-house doors. Faster and faster, past the darkened doorways in which little children huddled over their tiny slates, on which were inscribed the tenets of St. Gove. Past the sallow faced, haggard looking door men perusing copies of Milton’s Paradise Lost, in-between ejecting surly customers soused on tax-free beer.

Down Young Gilly’s pass they travelled, pulling their bonnets still lower over their brows and averting their faces from lascivious sights, which might other wise have accosted them, as they travelled past one dimly lit side street after another. “Homer’s Odyssey” whispered Maggie as they walked into St Giles Square “What?” replied Emily her mind intent upon what lay ahead, “The last alley we passed where the prosser were beating up a customer, it were Homer’s Odyssey she had in her hand” Emily frowned,”Maggie Settleworth, you would do better to focus thine eyes on the words of St. Gove inscribed upon thy heart, to err is human, but to achieve is divine! We’re almost home child, hitch up thy skirts”

Carefully they picked their way amongst the various heaps of wet clothing piled up at the front door, making their way down the steps that led into the basement that had once been Maggie’s home. As quietly as possible Maggie pulled the makeshift door to, signalling to Emily not to say a word, behind the ragged door lay the family hearth wreathed in smoke from the guttering fire, which had barely heated the room. Quickly Maggie turned to the window restuffing the fragmented glass with the damp rag that had fallen onto the floor. Reaching into her pocket, she removed the lump of coal she had stolen from Lord Grid-Iron’s coal shed. Quietly uttering a pray of penitence to St. Gove she tossed the lump of coal onto the fire, stirring it back to life.

“Your ma’s not here” Emily commented as she unwrapped the vast woolen shawl she’d packed into the bottom of her basket and covered the little boy asleep on the hearth with it, he stirred briefly, opening one sticky glue-rimed eye, “Maggie” said he, “Is that you?”

“It’s me” she murmured gently tousling his hair “sleep” she said “sleep” and for a little while she lay down beside him, wrapping her cape tightly around her whilst she stirred the fire back to life. Gradually the room warmed and as Maggie fell asleep Emily laid a clean napkin on the ricketty wooden table in a corner of the room, on it she placed the game pie wrapped in a linen hanky, and the two bottles of beer which she had also purloined from the larder. Emily stepped delicately over the damp & grimy floor boards towards the huddled form tossing restlessly on the dank floor in the far corner of the room. Digging deep into the pockets of her gown she pulled out a bottle of Dr Purkleberry’s Laudunum, much as she loathed it she could little doubt it’s medicinal properties, having administered it so frequently at St Bachanalia’s asylum. She administered it now and at once observed its quietening effect on the restless form of Maggie’s mother. Nudging Maggie awake she got to her feet, her last act before leaving the room was to move the baby’s cot a little further away from the fire, one family member with tuberculosis was more than sufficient she reasoned. ” Maggie” she asked as they made their way back to the Grid-Iron residence, “Who is thy family’s landlord?” Maggie bit her lip, “Lord Tobias Grid-Iron” she murmured.
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Academies, Academy status, Hypocritical Cant

The Musical Scuttle

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Academies, Hypocritical Cant

The Marquess of Muck Lane

SŁUŻĄCY

“What’s the good of ‘avin work as a scullery and kitchen maid for six years if you’re going to change you’re profession now? What’s wrong with you girl? Ain’t mucking out them grates good enough for you no more?!”

Emily LeFevre sighed, it had taken all of her nerve to apply for the job of Chef Patissiere, at the establishment of the Right Honourable Lord Tobias Grid-Iron, but she had done it, the job was hers. Nothing and no one was going to stop her from arising like a phoenix from the ashes of the St Bacchanalia Asylum, nothing.

” I wants to work in a refined establishment what has oil lamps, shiny bed pans and flushable toilets. I wants to wear a linen bustle under me petticoats and  button up boots on me feet, most of all I wants me own bed”

Madame LeFevre frowned, her eyes lit upon the black, leather bound testament of St. Gove which lay on a small table beside her bed, “I recall your Aunt Maggie wanting ‘er little girl to go into service, but she would ‘ave none of it! And now look at her! Swishing her skirts out of doors past midnight and knocking back laudunum like it was pump water.”

“The Grid-Irons are a refined and respected household, Lord Grid-Iron is a man of the people, be ‘appy for me mother, finally, this is a chance for me to improve myself.”

“Lord Grid-Iron..that wouldn’t be the man who reduced beer duty would it? Your Uncle Jim near drove his whole family to penury because of it, his wife is in the poor house still.”

Emily snapped the clasp shut on her carpet bag, she brushed the lint off her dress and wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and bosom tightly.” I wants to earn my keep by working for the best people there is, rich people, like the Tobias Grid-Irons, you know what they say, rub against gold a bit might stick to you.”

“Grid-Irons, that’s a familiar name that is, I think your father knows an Emile Grid-Iron, works as an Ostler down at the The Bunch O’ Keys, they say ‘is mother was in the buttock & twang game, a terrible woman of ill-repute” Mrs LeFevre looked troubled, “She never did tell who ‘is father was. Ow’ much are they payin you?”

“The hours is flexible Ma, it’s what they calls a zero-hour contract, it’s all the rage nowadays, I’ll dare say as I’ll manage.”

Mrs LeFevre smiled gently at her little girl, now a grown woman of eighteen years, it was a miracle she hadn’t died of Cholera, Typhoid or Scarlet Fever, she had even survived her brother. “Well girl if this is what you want to do I can’t see as anything I might say will stop you”

Emily LeFevre choked back a tear “Ma” she said, “Before I go, may we ask aid & succour of St. Gove?”

Kneeling alongside the family bed mother and daughter prayed.

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