Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 10: A spy by any other name is still a spy

Previously our heroine met three ghosts at Haggismarshe. They convinced her that she should do some travelling. After all, she could afford it.

To prepare for her journey, Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott needed a wardrobe. She was off to London and shopping. She outfitted herself in the best that Bond Street had to offer for the well-dressed lady who wants to gadabout. And, as we all know, no gadabout would be a gadabout without gadabout hats. So she filled seven hat carriers. Each carrier held six hats.

Lady P. P., as she was now affectionately referred to by the servants of Haggismarshe, and by the press, donned her best pink pantaloons, corset and hooped skirt, her bright white dress and her pithy pith helmet and her dainty black boots. She bid her household fare-thee-well. Then she had Leavers leave her at the docks. Her ship passed the White Cliffs of Dover and landed in France. On to Paris she went, arriving in time to catch the Orient Express.

The train made its way through France and toward Istanbul. Lady P. P. noticed a mysterious woman dressed to the tens and more across from her. The woman was exquisitely embroidered into an outlandishly revealing dress. She had accoutrements of jewelry decorating her body in various and sundry places.

And, yes, dear reader, she was the woman in black, standing outside the Abbey during the wedding in Chapter Four. The very same woman arrived too late to marry Lord Dunnie which was her Plan A. Her Plan B to have an affair with the Old Cootster fell through as well. He went and died. In the meantime, she had come up with a Plan C. Hook up with Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott, get in her good graces, and use her to do dastardly deeds. As they used to say, “All’s fair in love and war and getting your own way.”

“May I, how you say, introduce myself?” the young woman asked in a deep Franco-German accent with a tinge of Polish-Italian to it. “My name eez Mata Hari.”

“Oh, just call me Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe,” our heroine returned. She was not happy with the familiarity of the other woman.

“That eez such a looonnnng name to call someone of your obvious common background, don’t you think?”

“That’s what I am called. I’ve read that you are a spy. Is that true?”

“I spy, Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe. But eet eez not as eef I could help myself. I do eet for love.”

“I’ve always wanted to ‘do it’ for love,” Marye said. “But I seldom find the opportunity. Most of the men I know are regular prissypotts. There was one but that’s been a long time gone. Now I am on my own and gadaboutting ‘round the world. Mostly I find myself dilly-dallying about like some dolly on the Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

“The Chattahooga Shoe Shoe? I love ze shoes. Where can I find a pair of those? Hope zhey are more comfortable than the ones on my feets. My feets eez killing me.”

“You will find them in Chattanooga.”

“Where this Chattahooga?”

Before Marye could respond, Mata Hari suddenly appeared distracted by a noise from outside the compartment. “Pardon. Excusez moi.” She was on her feet lickety-split and out the cabin door and heading down the hall.

“That was so strange,” Lady P. P. said to herself. “Such a delightful woman. I mean, for a spy. Just as I was getting ready to let her call me Marye, she up and ups out of here.”

Two gendarmes appeared at the door.

“Madam?” the one with the mustache said.

“Yes?” Marye pulled out her compact and began to powder her nose.

“Have you, by some way, zeen a woman dressed elegantly with jewelry perched all hover her body? She eez Mata Hari, the notorious spy. Have you zeen her?”

“Can’t say that I have. Only us Americans here.” She smeared lipstick onto her lips.

The gendarme closed her door. Within minutes, Mata Hari, disguised as a mustachioed man in a tuxedo, appeared at the door and came inside. She had a dagger in her hand. “I will get you for telling ze gendarmes that I was here.”

“But I didn’t.”

“Then I will get you for lying.”

“But I didn’t.”

“Then I will get you for being such a bad liar.”

Then the dagger was gone, and so was Mata Hari. Mata Hari’s Plan C had fallen through. Now onto Plan D and a certain Eager Beaver.

PARLIAMENT PARLIAMENTS

In the House of Lords called “Lords” for shortsky, Baron Duffield said, “We can do anything we want. After all, we are the lords of Lords. We can take her title if we want. As far as her lands are concerned, we will repossess them and remit them to the Queen’s Estate.”

“If we do that,” Sir Myles said, “none of us will ever get another American heiress to marry us.”

“We could get the marriage annulled,” Tucksmeyer said. “Who knows if Lord P. P. ever consummated the union. I doubt he did.”

“Then there can be no objection to an annulment,” Baron Duffield said, “can there, Myles?”

QUILLS

It was a dark and moonless night on the Rock of Gibraltar. Quills, whom we met in a previous chapter, Chapter Six, stood on the beach at Catalan Bay, reflecting on his life. Twenty-five years old and he, Quilip Thomas St. James Loopsey, had no prospects for the future. Possibly his father, the Governor of Gibraltar, would buy him a parish to provide him a comfortable living. Then a wife of his father’s choosing. After that, children and soon old age and death. What a bore that would be.

Seeing Lord Dunnville Percival Wimpleseed-Prissypott’s face plop into his soup and die brought to Quills’ mind how mortal he was. At that moment, he knew he wanted more than his life of British privilegedom promised. He wanted passion, adventure, true love. He wanted his freedom.

He looked out into the darkness, a darkness that reminded him of his bleak future. He sat down on the beach and pulled off his shoes. He rose and walked into the water. When the water reached his waist, he began to swim, one arm in front of the other taking him farther and farther out to sea. And farther and farther into his future. He swam deep into the night. Joy and exhilaration cruised through his body. He was free.

Next Week: Istanbul, Constantinople.

Ballerinas

This is Uncle Bardie’s Stories & Such 600th Post!
Hooray.
Only 999,999 Posts to go.

Ballerinas are always lovely. Guess that’s because they are ballerinas. In those dresses with those graceful moves. At what cost? I’m told they do things that the body was never supposed to do. That’s because they are ballerinas. Giving the music a physical substance. Making the music alive with their toes and their legs and their arms and their complete bodies. Sailing across the floor as if the floor was water. A calmness at first. Then their bodies turn the water into a sea and then a sea of storms. Faster and faster they move. Their whole bodies telling a story. These dancers creating magic with their bodies as if they were magicians. Their arms rising and falling. Then the sea calms. The dancers make for shore and become beach bathers as they fall on the floor, returning to what has changed from water to a wooden stage. Ballerinas are always lovely.

My Stuff Writing Challenge

I don’t usually do writing challenges. But, then again, who can resist a challenge from Greg at Almost Iowa. That’s the very Greg who keeps posting about the fiendish Stan. Yes, that Greg. Greg’s challenge: Look around me and see an object and write a flash piece about it. So here goes:

The lamp’s name is Irving. I am not sure how he came up with that name. He tells me his mother at the Ikea factory gave it to him. I don’t believe him. He has told more fibs than can be counted in a month of Sundays.

Ever since we moved into this house, Irving seems to have a hiccup problem. I keep asking what the problem is. He keeps replying that he’s hungry. It’s getting to the point that I am going broke supplying him light bulbs. I even gave him one of those new fangled LED lights. He keeps saying, “More, more, more.”

I do like Irving. He was given to me when I was in college. Getting rid of Irving would be like getting rid of a pet. I would never ever get rid of Rover or Kitty. My wife keeps saying that I should just get rid of him. I keep threatening him but he just won’t listen. What am I to do?

Then I hear a voice coming from Irving. It is not Irving. Irving has a high pitched voice. This one sounds very low pitched in the bass range. All of a sudden Irving’s lampshade is spinning. It’s getting out of control. The voice is laughing. It’s telling me that it wants my soul.

Can somebody help me? Can somebody suggest an exorcist for a lamp?

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Derek Walcott, Poet

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the poet, Derek Walcott:

Derek Walcott on writing and painting.

Oh, what a beautiful language we have, this English. We strip it and we tear it down, we ignore it and abuse it and lose a bit of it along the way. It not only survives. It rises like a phoenix and soars. Especially when it is in the hands of a poet. William Shakespeare was that kind of poet, and Seamus Heaney too. So was Derek Walcott.

Derek Walcott was an island man, so he gave us islands and the sea. He showed us that poetry could rise out of the least of places. That it was possible for a black man from a very small place could become a great poet. And he did it with this magnificent language of ours.

 

A Thursday Special: Short Stories

There are a lot of novel recommends out here in the blogosphere but very few short story recommends. So I thought I would remedy that.

I love short stories. I love to read them, and I love to write them. For me, there’s nothing like finding a good short story. So here’s sixteen absolutely perfect short stories. Some are well-known, a few not-as-well-known.

If I were building an anthology of short stories, these would be the ones I would choose. Each I have read at least ten times. Some more. So, if you are looking for a quick read, here are some suggestions. Enjoy.

1.       Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken
2.       Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin
3.       An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
4.       Killings by Andre Dubus
5.       Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway
6.       The Last Leaf by O. Henry
7.       The Dead by James Joyce
8.       A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri
9.       To Build a Fire by Jack London
10.   Walker Brothers Cowboy by Alice Munro
11.   The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
12.   I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen
13.   The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
14.   A Perfect Day for Bananafish by J. D. Salinger
15.   After Rain by William Trevor
16.   A & P by John Updike