Last week a new neighbour moved into the grand estate next to ours. It’s not quite as big as our manor, of course, and the land surrounding it is several centimeters smaller. However he seemed to be making an impression on those at the gentleman’s club my husband frequents (and I in male dress, but more of that later).
The impression was not altogether favourable. It seems he had, being filled to the brim with Lord Gibson’s illegal whisky, announced he could shoot anything from a hundred yard distance. He then tore the decorative blunderbus from the wall and aimed through the window, which was unfortunately shut at the time. Deriding the blunderbus for being unwieldy he removed his garments to afford himself ‘streamlining,’ as he put it, taking aim at a young man he denounced as having ‘feminine ears.’
Of course no shot occured but by coincidence the lad saw the puffy naked body of Lord Trump and promptly fainted, causing the afore-mentioned to run into the streets and place a triumphant foot on the lad’s prone body, extremities flapping in the breeze.
After this incident my husband was reticent to associate himself with such vulgarity, but I urged him to accept the invitation that had since landed on our doorstep. “One must be seen to be forward thinking,” I said, but also I wished to see for myself this eccentric.
We arrived for dinner on the eve of Frog Rolling Day and were greeted by a butler with the most haggard expression. We had not too long to see the reason. We were led into the Great Hall to a banquet table laden with fish, fowl and a bowl of alarmingly active squeaky things. At the head of the table sat a man of advancing years wearing some variety of ferret or pine martin fur atop his head. “I see you met Jenkins,” bellowed the ruffian in a brash American accent, “had one o them foreign fellows before but ya can’t trust ’em, always watching me with that…face. Had him arrested.” Here he casually tore a lump from the chicken before him, stuffing it into his waiting maw.
“Heavens,” I said, “whatever for?”
Lord Trump shrugged and made the noise unequivocally representing “I don’t know.” He chewed noisily. “You gonna sit down or what?” We did so, attempting to converse on pleasant subjects such as the morrow’s Frog Rolling. This seemed not to interest him, however, for within a few moments he had risen from his seat. “I can shoot anything, at any time, anywhere.”
“My,” said my husband graciously, “that is most impressive.” I, however, was not feeling so charitable.
“What if the thing is in America and you yourself are in Britain?”
He puffed out his chest, “I can shoot it.”
“I CAN SHOOT IT.” He called for Jenkins, bidding the man stand against the wall at the far end of the Hall. We attempted to intervene but he was having none of it. He gathered a pistol and stood upon the table facing the wall on the other side, not even noticing his feet had trampled the jelly trifle. “Watch this,” he smirked, and pointed the pistol over his shoulder. It emitted a mighty ejaculation whereupon Jenkins fell to the floor.
My husband and I were immediately at his side. He opened his eyes and whispered, “Just leave me. If I pretend to be dead long enough, he drains his flaggon of ale and forgets that I was supposed to be dead in the first place. If I keep this up I might live long enough to seek other employment.”
“Nonsense,” said my husband, “you shall leave with us and we shall find you alternative means.” With hope shining upon his craggy face, Jenkins leapt to his feet and followed us to the door.
“You’re alive again,” slurred Lord Trump.
“Indeed,” I said, “and he is leaving.”
“No he’s not,” said Trump in a childish manner.
“Yes, he is,” said my husband. We turned to exit when Lord Trump threw himself to the ground and banged his fists and feet upon the flagstones.
“You can’t leave, you have to do what I say, my daddy will be very cross,” he wailed, the very room reverberating with his terrible cries. We hurried out before he could do more damage.
To this day we have not spoken again with our new neighbour. He hired a building firm to erect a brick wall to separate us but they revoked their employ after more shooting incidents. Now sometimes, after clearly too much refreshment, we see him wobbling on the green, placing one brick upon another, before collapsing in a heap of weeping. On a particularly cold day my husband will lay a blanket upon him. He’s always gone in the morning.