A Small Price to Pay, Sir
'We had been invited to the Farrington-Browns because they wished to show us their drawing room; they had just had it
redecorated and refurnished, in the regency style, by one of the top London designers. It was I have to say, not to my
particular taste for a room intended to be relaxed in, however be that as it may, they had invited this young man as well.
An almost fatal flaw in any gathering it might be pointed out; however we arrived as requested and Gwendolyn, Mrs
Farrington-Brown, took us through to the room in question. After the necessary inspection of its many and varied
qualities we were invited to sit and chat, during which coffee was served. At this point I should tell you that the
Farrington-Brown's have two corgis, two rather highly-strung corgis. Joshua here somehow managed to so sufficiently
antagonise one of them as to get it to bite him on the ankle, whereupon he promptly kicked over the small coffee table,
dispatching coffee and biscuits and assorted chinaware over a wide area, which caused the other corgi, the least stable
of the pair, to bite the maid. The poor girl in shock fell against an antique glass-fronted china cabinet, rendering it
and it's contents beyond repair. Luckily the poor girl, though much alarmed, was unharmed save for a few minor scratches.
One would have considered this to be sufficient catastrophe for a single occasion, but not so. The disaster goes on. George,
Mr Farrington-Brown, was not with us in the room at the time, but hearing the commotion came rushing in to find out its cause;
seeing the maid in great distress he made swiftly to assist her, stepping as he did so on a jagged piece of glass. Since he
was at the time wearing only carpet slippers, this caused him an injury, which had him limping with a stick and a heavily
bandaged foot for many weeks. Even this is not the end. Whilst hopping around clutching his injured foot he inadvertently
fell against the large coffee table, upsetting it, breaking one of its legs and several of Gwendolyn's prized Crown Derbyshire
plates. To prevent himself from falling he made a grab at Gwendolyn for support and knocked her spectacles to the
floor in the process, then managed with his very next hop to render them also to an unusable condition. After making
suitable apologies we left to allow these poor people to commence the unenviable task of rebuilding their home and lives,'
said Aunt E., and she gave me a withering look.
'It must have been very upsetting for your friends,' said Liz, keeping a straight face with a great effort.
'It has taken many months to rebuild our friendship following the incident; so you young man,' and here she gave me
yet another withering look, 'will be on your very best behaviour.'
'I say Aunt E in my defence…'
'There is no defence, if only there were a defence…'
I gave it up.