Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 17: Ballroom Dancing

In the previous episode, Lady P.P. confronted Smythie Smathers with a knife. S.S. revealed that he arrived from the future in a DeLorean. He was pursuing of Mata Hari. That did not let him off the hook-ski.

That evening our heroine wandered into the ship’s only ballroom alone. So far, it was an interesting voyage. She had found her womanhood, and she was bound and determined not to lose it again.

Soon Alexandria, that mysterious city built by the Great, would be in sight. First Istanbul, then the S. S. Twit, and it had been two weeks since she had slept under clean sheets. Nothing brought a smile to a rich American girl’s lips more than clean sheets. Maybe she might find them there.

A short man wearing a monocle approached her. “Pipsqueak Pimplesquat at your service.” Mr. Monocle clicked his heels together, saluted, and offered, “Madame, would you care to dance the light fantastic?”

“I do believe I will,” Marye agreed to his proposal. “But don’t get too friendly. I am not an easy lay-di.”

“I assure you that I am a gentleman,” he said, offering her his arm. He took her into his arms. They moved onto the dance floor, the dashing German dashing across the floor with the lovely young American widow with lots of moolah and a title.

On the stage before the orchestra stood the world famous Tootles “The Tootler” Tootle Lou. She crooned her song, “The tub may be sinking but the water’s fine.” Everyone watched the couple move body to body over the floor, ooh-ing and ah-ing their admiration. Then the band went into a ragtime swing. The couple did the do, dancing the Doodlebug.

Suddenly, from the ship’s crow’s nest, a sailor called, “Iceberg! Iceberg!”

This stunned everyone. The ship was in the Mediterranean. There shouldn’t be an iceberg anywhere near the Mediterranean. Panic set in.The voyagers didn’t know what else to do, except panic. It was a lesson they’d learned many times over. The Dancing Panic of 1518. The Penis Panic of 1843. The Wall Street Panics of 1873 and 1893. If it was good enough for dancing, penises and Wall Street, why not on board the S. S. Twit?

They were doing what the Wall Street rag, “Rooster Tooth”, suggested in a twenty-first century incarnation. They were “People Acting Normal in Crazy-Ass Situations.” The passengers and the crew ran hither and thither, thither and hither aboard the ship.

The sailor in his crow’s nest called, “Just kidding, folks. No iceberg.”

But it was too late.

Next Week: The Return of Quills

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 16: A Ship of Fools

A Texan saves the day

Previously Daddykins hired a lawyer to make sure his daughter kept her titles.

Dear Reader, I suspect that you have been wondering when our story occurred. If you look on the map of history, you will find it located somewhere between the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War, that fiasco called the War to End All Wars. Of course, that was the Big Lie. That war didn’t end anything. If anything, it created even more stress on the world stage.

Actually, one could say the time of the novel was around 1896. In fact, I think I will state that very thing. It was 1896.

In those days, Great Britain was the Big To-Do and America some backwater colony. However, the Americans were sneaking up on the British. Soon they would have to bail their cousins across the pond out and save them from the Kaiser. But that is another story.

Science was sciencing. But Albert still had not discovered his e=mc two Einsteinian theory. The Curies were still dating, and I don’t mean carbon dating. The only Big Bang anybody had heard of was the toilet flushing; indoor plumbing was all the rage.

The last we heard of her ladyship, Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe, she was on the S. S. Twit twit-twit-twittering toward Egypt. After a night of rolling in the hay with a certain Smythie Smathers, she awoke alone. No British troubleshooter for the Royal Beeswax and Petroleum Jelly Corporation of East Potterdam next to her.

In the dining room, she found him carousing with a certain Frenchwoman, Crepe Suzette.

“Dear, do not make a scene,” Smathers demanded, a smirk on his smirk of a face.

“I’m making a scene?” she said. “I’m making a scene. I’ll show you a scene.”

The American picked a sharp knife off the table and raised it over her head.

Someone behind her grabbed her hand and wrenched the knife from it. She turned around. Before her stood a long, tall Texan in a big white hat. He placed the knife on the table.

“What the–?” she went to say.

“Ma’am, this piece of British trash isn’t worth it.”

“I resemble that remark,” Smythie Smathers said from his table, his face white from his close call with a knife.

“Who in the name of Brooklyn do you think you are?” Marye said to the Texan. Our heroine was angry and getting angrier by the second.

“Studdley Duddley at your service, ma’am,” he tipped his hat toward her ladyship. “I am a Texan.”

Her ladyship thought, “But of course. Every adventure must have a Texan in it. It doesn’t matter if he has anything to contribute. They just drop from the sky to dirty the waters of the story. And this story has to have this fool.”

“Go try your risk at whist,” Smythie Smathers said to the Texan. “You’re not wanted at this party.”

“Many prefer the game of whist,” Studdley said, standing there with his tongue hanging out staring at her ladyship’s morning bosoms. “But me, I am a stud poker man. The emphasis being on ‘stud’, ma’am. As all my lady friends will testify, my war cry is ‘Stud, poke her’. Old Studdley does try his best. But it seems my services are not needed here. So, it’s onward and upward. Remember what old Studdley told you. If you ever make it to Texas, you will have the bluest eyes in the state.” He tipped his hat and dropped out of sight.

She looked at S. S. and frowned. “What do you have to say for yourself, you Smythie Smathers?”

He looked at the knife on the table, reached over and removed it from danger. Anything to get it out of the way of this Madwoman from Brooklyn Heights by way of Haggismarshe.

“It isn’t what you think,” he said quietly, then turned to Crepe Suzette. “Crepe, go feint a faint or do something quaint and make yourself scarce. I have to straighten out our American friend.”

Crepe slipped off into the morning to sweeten up some other man’s breakfast. After all, that is what she did.

“What do you mean,” her ladyship demanded, “straighten out our American friend? You’d better have a damned good answer or this Brooklyn Heights girl is going to be doing some straightening out herself.””

“I am sorry, Your Ladyship,” Smythie said. “I only meant … I certainly would be much more comfortable if you sat down and joined me for a cup of morning tea.”

“This had better be something on the better side of good,” she said. “I won’t have tea. I am a coffee-drinking woman and I like my coffee strong and straight-up, no cream, no sugar. Like I like my men. And you don’t qualify.” She pulled out a chair and sat down and stared at him with a don’t mess-with-me stare.

S. S. called over to a waiter. “A cup of coffee for her ladyship.”

The waiter frowned. He would get the coffee but it wasn’t right. One had tea, not coffee. He had a cup of the black drink once. It tasted awful. And he couldn’t sleep for a week afterward. But he would get it. After all, that was his job. Getting things.

He went and pulled a cup off the counter. He poured coffee into the cup. He whispered to another waiter nearby, “When she is through with her coffee, we’re going to have to destroy the cup. The dishwasher will never get the awful taste of the black brew out of the cup.”

The coffee arrived with sugar and cream.

“You can take that away,” her ladyship said to the waiter. “Can’t stand sugar or cream with my coffee.” She lifted the cup to her lips.

S. S. leaned over and whispered, “I am on a mission for the government.”

The black coffee shot from her mouth and onto his face. She laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding. You mean to tell me that the government asked you to bop me while I was mopping up the floor bopping you last night. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Let me just say plastics,” Smathers whispered some more as he wiped the coffee off his face.

“Plastics?” her ladyship quizzed.

“Yes, plastics,” Smathers whispered even more.

“What in the name of Abe Lincoln are plastics?” her ladyship asked.

“Shhhh,” Smathers whispered. “Someone who shouldn’t might hear you say the magic word. It might even be He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named.”

Our heroine was almost on the floor with laughter. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. What had made her think that this Smythie Smathers was worth her time of day, much less her night in bed? Her taste in men … could it get any worse? Compared to this clown, Dilly was Prince Charming.

Then again maybe he was on to something. She sat up straight and calmed herself. “Okay, I’m all ears. But remember John Smith did not raise a fool for a daughter. I may be a British ladyship but I ain’t some gullible rube you can reel in with your line about some plastics.”

“Yes, plastics. Oh, you mean you haven’t seen the movie ‘The Graduate’?”

“What’s a movie? It’s 1896 and I have never heard of this thing you call a movie. What the—is a graduate? I mean I graduated from high school. Guess that makes me a graduate. But I am not sure about you, fellow. What loony factory did you come out of?”

“I am from the future, old girl. I came here via a Delorean but I ran out of gas. Since I am on a secret mission, I had to practice my missionary work last night.”

“That had better be practice,” her ladyship leaned over and whispered. “If that is the best you can do, you had better find another position. Because you’re not that good at this one. And just what in the name of everything that is American is a Delorean?”

“No, no, no,” Smythie Smathers whispered back at her. “You misunderstand.”

“You deflower my honor,” her ladyship complained, “and now you’re coming up with some cock and bull story that you’re from the future. It’s slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am. Well, no thank you, sir. No thank you.” She goes to stand up.

S. S. puts his hand on her gloved hand.

“Let go of my hand,” her ladyship said, “or I’ll call Mr. Tex back over here. And he can wax up the floor with you.”

“Please let me explain,” he pleaded.

“First let go of my hand. Then explain.”

He released her hand like it was a hot potato.

“Make it fast,” she demanded. “I am in the mood for a good lunch. And you’re starting to turn my stomach.”

“Yes, yes,” he said, getting on with it. “As I said I am on a mission from the government in the future. I have to stop some woman named Mata Hari. If I seduce you, I will be able to seduce her. I realized that you would be the much harder to seduce. Now I know I can seduce her.”

“Mata Hari? I know that name. I met her on a train but I never knew she had fame, that dame. She promised me a knife in the heart if she caught up with me again.”

“Yes, that sounds like the one and the same. She’s a spy. If I seduce her, I can slow her down and she won’t be able to meet up with the world famous American big game hunter, Johnny Eager. He has a package for her.”

“I see. I am still not overly convinced you are being absolutely truthful. The future and all? Do you think I am one of your Crepe Suzettes? I am not a tart, French or otherwise. Sounds like you and your conscience ought to have a conversation. Spy indeed.”

“I am afraid I don’t have a conscience. When you are in the missionary game the way I am, you can’t afford one. It is the white man’s burden after all. I say, would you care to help me practice some more later. I could use another session and you’re quite good, you know.”

She jumped up and slapped him with one of her white gloves. “You cad. How dare you? You’re after one thing and it is not Mata Hari. You want to get back into my pantaloons, don’t you? Well, thank you very much, but no thank you.”

“May I be of service, ma’am?” A large man in an even larger uniform extra-large stepped up beside her.

“My, my, what big stripes you have,” her ladyship said. She smiled her largest smile of the day, even larger than she had smiled the night before.

“Sgt. Mack Truck of the United States Gyrenes at your service, ma’am.”

“Kind sergeant,” Marye said, “would you please take my arm and escort me from these proceedings? The stench is getting too much for me, and I fear I shall faint.”

He took her arm and the two walked away from Smythie Smathers’s table. Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott looked back at the spy’s table. He had been rejoined by Crepe Suzette. “May I offer you a treat, Sergeant,” she asked the big fellow, “for your gallant rescue?’

“I do like pastry, ma’am,” the Truck offered.

“I am sure you do.” She smiled an even wider smile than before.

Next week: Will Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott ever make it to Egypt?

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 13: Disappointment

Things seem to be heating up for our heroine.

Previously the Queen was not happy. No sirree. None too happy at all. And when the Queen is not happy, the Prince of Wales is not happy. When the Prince of Wales is not happy, the Prime Minister is not happy. And when the Prime Minister is not happy, well, you get my drift.

The steamer to Egypt was old and decrepit, though it had been a ship of the line in its heyday. That was a long heyday ago, at least half a century. One wonders why Lady Marye booked passage on a boat named S. S. Twit. It was the only ship available that would get her out of Istanbul fast. After her experiences with Dilly and the Brittish Ambassador, that seemed best.

As the ship twittered along, sailing through the Dardenelles and past Cyprus, it squeaked noisily. The squeak was so loud that Lady P. P. became concerned. She hemmed and hawed and harrumphed until finally Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe bucked up her courage and blurted out to the captain, Captain Pedro Emmanuel Montoya Henandez Gabriel Garcia de Toledo San Cristobel y Mendoza Cantabria, “Won’t the ship sink?”

“Dis old tub, she eez quite seaworthy, Señora,” Captain Pedro Emmanuel said, winked and kissed her gloved hand like the old-world gentleman he was. He could have called her the Gloved One, but he didn’t.

She only wore one diamond studded white glove. The other hand, her left, was free of encumbrances. In fact, she had freed herself from a variety of encumbrances, such as her corset. If an emergency showed its face, she wanted to be prepared. The best preparation she could think of was to be decorseted. It was the American thing to do.

Then Captain Pedro Emmanuel offered, “Perhaps the Señora will join the captain in the Captain’s Bed. It is safe there. It will float if the ship sinks. I have tested it myself.”

“Please this lady is a lady,” the Señora Wimpleseed-Prissypott harrumphed. “And I am not that kind of lady. I have my pride.”

“I know, Señora, this I know,” Captain Pedro Emmanuel said. “One can see that by the way your bosoms heave and ho in my presence. Only a lady’s bosoms heave and ho like that. I have experience in the ladyship department. Señora should understand, it is a quite an honor to be invited to the Captain’s Bed.”

“This ladyship has been honored again and again,” her ladyship said. “I have the medals to prove it. Despite my ample pulchritude, my breasts cannot hold all those medals. Something has to give and give soon.”

“Ah, but what magnificent bosoms they are,” Captain Pedro Emmanuel  said. “They are very ladylike.”

“I think I will pass on your kind offer today,” her ladyship with her lady-like bosoms said. “But if the offer is still open, I may take you up on it tomorrow. Especially if this is old tub hits an iceberg.”

“Señora, there are no icebergs,” Captain Pedro Emmanuel  said, “in the Mediterranean. Nada. Not one.”

“Well, one never knows,” she said. “I’ve seen Gibraltar and that Rock is one big iceberg.”

While dining in the ship’s dining room that night, her ladyship encountered the famous English oilman and troubleshooter, Smythie Smathers. He was returning to Nigeria to explore the oil fields. Recently the troubleshooter had knocked about Africa, knick-knack-patty-whacking-giving-a-dog-a-bone and knocking the knackers in the head to get oil. And Nigeria was the place all that knocking had led him. He also had the knack to knock a lady’s knickers down nattily well. And here was a lady on-board.

Standing on deck, he looked out over the water and into the night, lit a fag, and offered her ladyship, our heroine, a smoke. The two discussed their precarious position aboard the steamer and instantly liked each other. They conversed on this and that and the other things.

Then he offered the following observation, “We’re two lonely hearts at here at sea, facing God-knows-what iceberg over the horizon. We should have some jolly good fun. It may very well be our last chance. I can see that you are a lady, and I assure you that I am a gentleman of the first degree. I have a black belt in gentlemanship. We should take advantage of such an opportunity as this. After all, we are missionaries taking our gospel of progress to the colonials.”

“Those are the very words that Moms said to me to convince me to go off to Merry Olde England. She said it was time to return all that English goodwill we in the colonies had received and seed our dear cousins across the pond. She thought I should do missionary work and sprinkle the Motherland with the blood of New Money. Besides I was getting a title out of the deal.”

“Would you care to join me in my chambers to enjoy a bit of the whimsy?” Smythie Smathers leaned over and kissed her on her cherry-lipsticked lips. It was the thing to do, and he was always one for the thing to do. That was how he had risen so far in his company, the Royal Beeswax and Petroleum Jelly Corporation of East Potterdom.

“I suppose we do have to rehearse our missionary work,” her ladyship sighed. “And what better place than a gentleman’s chambers.”

“Beside your bosoms look as if they are in need of the Smythie Smathers treatment.”

“You do know the Missionary Position on things?” she looked up into his eyes and quizzed. “I am one for moving forward. No coming in through the backdoor for me. The natives will respect our efforts only if we are upfront with them.”

“I agree,” Smythie Smathers said as he escorted her ladyship toward the stairs to below deck. “That is the sort of terpsichory the Greeks and the Frogs use, sneaking up from behind. We Brits, like you Americans, prefer the forward charge strategy.” The oilman opened the door to his cabin.

“I must admit I do need experience,” she said as she allowed him to guide her toward his oilman-sized bed. “I am so new at being a missionary.” She gazed down at the bulge in his pants. “You look like you will be a very good teacher. You don’t dilly dally around, do you?”

He sat her down on the side of his bed, and sat himself down beside her.

“I have never dillied or dallied in my entire professional career. It isn’t done in the fields I explore. It takes a lot of drilling before there’s a real gusher.”

She felt his bulge. “Feels like we may get a real gusher tonight.”

“I would say that it is very likely,” he said, touching her heaving and hoing bosoms. “It certainly feels as if the geology is in favor of a gusher.”

She stood and dropped her dress. It rushed to the floor in a hurry

“My God, your ladyship, how glorious,” he said. “I have been around the world many times over. Those are definitely two of the wonders of the known world.”

“Remember. No dilly dallying.”

In the throes of his passion, he cried, “I think I have struck oil.”

“The hell you have,” she screamed. “Drill deeper. Deeper, damn it.”

“But I’ve got a real gusher coming.”

“How can you call yourself an oil man if you leave a well only half-drilled?” She withdrew from the situation, rolled over on her side and fell asleep, disappointed and bored and thinking, “One of these days, damn it, I am going to have to find myself a real man. One with lots of get-up-and-go who’s get-up-and-go has not got-up-and-gone.”

The next morning he was gone. Besides that, Smythie Smathers was not in the bed beside her.

“Where the hell is he?” she said. “He must be costing his company a fortune, leaving the wells half-drilled. Some oil man.”

Her ladyship was famished. She was hungry enough to eat a horse. Not a real horse. She liked horses. She would never have eaten one.

She dressed and headed back to her cabin for a change of fashion and a new hat. She could not go out in last night’s leftovers. She needed a freshover before meeting her public.

Her ladyship walked from her stateroom to the dining room of the ship. Lo and behold, who was there? Smythie Smathers and he was feeding upon Crepe Suzette, a lovely young French tart who might have put the ooo-la-lahs in ooo-la-lah.

Seeing the young French woman on Smythie’s lap, Lady P. P. slapped the juice out of the smugness of his orange of a face. “So? You have a little French tart for breakfast, do you? All because I wouldn’t allow you to bring your reinforcements from behind the lines. I hope her boorishly flat bosoms are a tasty little treat for you because you shall never ever never dine with me again. I thought you were hungry last night but all you wanted was a little snack. You were saving up for the main course. All you want is sugar and no substance. That’s what tarts are for.”

She slapped his right-smug face again. Then a third time. She was angry and her anger was becoming angry. Before she could slap the juice completely out of him, he stopped her hand.

“Please. Don’t make a scene, old girl,” Smythie said in his best Smatherss manner. And he said the words quietly.

“I’m making a scene?” she said, grabbing her hand out of his. “I’m making a scene. I’ll show you a scene.”

She picked a sharp knife off the table and raised it over her head.

Next Week. Other Parts of the Jungle to explore.

 

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 11: Reader Alert, Sex Scene Coming Up

In which our heroine explores the city of Istanbul.

Previously Mata Hari escaped, the House of Lords debated, and Quills went for a swim.

Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott stepped off the Orient Express. She was in Istanbul, Constantinople and Byzantium all rolled into one. After checking in at a hotel, she went directly to the British Embassy to report the Mata Hari incident. After telling her harrowing tale to the British ambassador, she concluded, “I wanted you to know that there are spies out there. And they want to hurt people. People like me.”

“Duly noted.” The ambassador scribbled something on a notepad on his very large desk in his very large ambassador’s office. Looking down upon him was Queen Victoria, Empress of India with her dour, mourning look. Her husband, Albert, had been dead for quite some time, and he was still dead. She would never smile again.

The white-haired ambassador with his white mustache straightened his Rule Britannia tie. Then he rose from his desk and walked over to her ladyship. He took her by the hand and escorted her out of his office. After all, it was getting late in the morning and he needed a nap. He hadn’t had this many visitors in weeks.

In every embassy no matter the country, there is an officer, or should we say a clerk, whose primary responsibility is to handle those citizens the ambassador thinks a bother. Some are called Mission Executive Secretary, some are the Ambassador’s Assistant, some are the Secretary in Charge of Propriety. Whatever the position is called, many foreign service people begin their careers with this position. They are the ambitious ones, the fawners who will use it as a springboard to more lucrative responsibilities. On this springboard, future secretaries of state and foreign ministers, even a Prime Ministers or two, have been born. Others end their careers in this position.

Nyles Chowder Rucket of the Sprucket Ruckets, the Ambassador’s Gofer, was the latter. He had a small desk in a very small space outside the ambassador’s office. It was a closet. The Ambassador gently pushed her ladyship over to Nyles’ closet and opened the door.

“What did you say was the nature of your trip to Istanbul?” the Ambassador asked, his hand pushing our heroine inside the closet. “Here. You can tell my assistant.” He glanced over at the bureaucraft with gopheresque face and asked, “What was your name?”

Nyles burrowed out of the ton of paperwork on his desk and popped his head out of the hole he created and went to say his name.

He was cut off by the Ambassador, who said to no one in particular, “I have so many employees in the embassy I can never remember their names. Anyway, he is very capable. After all, he is British. You can tell him your business in Istanbul. Or is it Constantinople?Oh, well, never mind. I have some very urgent matters to attend. The Prime Minister and the Queen, you know.”

He closed the closet door and returned to the nap in his office.

The near-blind Nyles stood and reached across his desk. Lady P. P. grabbed his hand to avoid him the embarrassment of missing hers.

“Nyles Chowder-Rucket at you service, Madame.” He returned to his chair. ”What is the nature of your visit? Perhaps I may help.”

“First, there was this…,” our heroine said, almost telling him of the Mata Hari incident. Then she stopped herself. She was not up to another brush off. “Oh, never mind. I am here to do some travel journalism. Seeing the sights and writing them up for the newspapers back home. So, the homefolks may live vicariously through my adventures.”

“Well, I am afraid I am no good at sights.” Nyles straightened his glasses. In the best of days, everything was a blur, and this was not a day that had been going well for him. He could barely see his nose, much less the woman before him. She could’ve stood there a la Godiva and she wouldn’t have gotten a stir from the small man behind the very small desk in the very small closet. “But if I can be of any other service, please feel free. I am at your disposal.”

“Perhaps you can, my dear Rucket,” she said. “Give poor little moi the benefit of your advice on some of the high points of the city not to miss.”

“Of course, Madame,” Chowder-Rucket said. He began a description of the city that droned on and on and on, and then on some more.

After three minutes of this tedium that seemed like three hours, our heroine was ready to leave the bureaucrat’s cupboard screaming.
She interrupted his monotone voice. “Thanks for the tour, my good fellow,” she said. “Think I’m getting the hang of the city.”

She shook his hand and came out of the closet. Then it was off to her hotel. She dusted herself off and donned a new attire and a new hat. She had heard from Two Ems that Istanbul’s bazaars were the place to go.

“And always wear a new hat,” Two-Ems finished her advice. “A lady is never seen without a new hat.” It was advice Lady P. P. took to heart. She had a hat case filled with hats for every occasion. She opened the case and pulled out her bazaar-shopping hat, fitted it on her pretty head and tied it on with a perfect bow. “There,” she said, admiring herself in the mirror. “I feel better already.”

On her way to the Le Grand Bazaar, she took a hankering for lunch. She came to a small brasserie named the Big Salami. She entered and found a table. Lo and behold, behold and lo, the waiter before her was Dilly O’Jones.

“Well, ain’t that a how-do-you-do and a skip-ta-ma-loo-my-darling,” she said when she gazed upon his muscles flexing before her. It was enough to give a girl the blushes. So she blushed, then continued, “If it ain’t a small world. Dilly, it’s me.”

Dilly leaned across the table and kissed her ever so succulent lips, then said, “I missed you a bunch, hon. Would you care to bonk?”

She hesitated. After all, she had already disappointed one man, her former husband. Doubt and confusion gripped her deeply. What if she wasn’t a real woman? She held back.

“An English lady does not bonk,” Marye spoke with a slightly affected English accent. But the hair on his chest showing through his open shirt and the bulge in his pants were simply irresistible. Perhaps … perhaps. Well maybe. Maybe Dilly was the one man who could save her from a life of virginity. After all, he was a red-blooded American male, not a stiff-upper-lipped British lord. Yes, he would save her from a life of spinsterhood and virginity. “Oh, what the hell,” she said.

Dilly handed his order pad over to the gray-haired waitress at the next table. He retired to the room above the eatery with his darling, ready for some daring do. There in his bedroom she undressed. Off came her dress and her hoop skirt, then, with Dilly’s help, her corset. Onto the floor fell her chemise. Her breasts were de-breasted. And her holy grail was unveiled.

“What nice melons you have, baby,” Dilly complimented.

“Why, thank you, dear,” she said, a smile filling her face as she stood before her fellow Brooklynite in her all-togethers.

Then Dilly fainted, overcome by her seductiveness.

“I never knew he was that kind of guy,” she said out loud, stunned at the turn of events. “The first sight of my bosoms and he’s out. What a mistake this was.”

He shook himself awake. “No, no. It wasn’t you. I mean, it was you. I was overcome by your … I mean, you. Baby, please stay. I want you, and you want me. You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted. Look at you. You’re amazing.”

She looked at herself in the mirror. “Yes, you’re right. I am amazing.”

His “please stay” turned into his feeding at the trough of love and the big fellow planted one for his gipper.

After an afternoon of foreplay, afterplay and in the middle-of-it-all play, each of the two were lost in their own thoughts. Dilly lit a cigar and misquoted Kipling, “A Cuban is a Cuban, but a woman, now that’s smoking.”

“Are you saying that I am a woman?” She didn’t feel like a woman. The earth had not moved. The stars had not twinkled. And where were those fireworks Two-Ems had promised? What a letdown this sex business had been. Dilly just had not been up to the dallyinng she expected.

He blew a smoke ring through another smoke ring. “Did you ever doubt it?”

Later that afternoon the two kissed goodbye. Dilly went back to his brasserie; Marye made a quick exit stage left for her streets of adventure. She had decided that the back of a motorbyke wasn’t much of a ride. Much later, much much later, our heroine would remember the time she bonked in Turkey. Then there would be an enormous smile on her face, glad she escaped the pickle a life with Dilly O’Jones would have put her in. But not that evening.

Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe, formerly Mary-Mary Smith of Brooklyn Heights, New York, decided Istanbul was not her cup of Yorkshire Gold after all. She went to the pier, looking for a slow boat to China. Instead she took the first boat out of town and went on the ship bound for Egypt, the Pyramids and all points beyond.

“Perhaps I will change my name to Jayne and find Mister Tarzan,” she mused thoughtfully. “I could really use an ape man right about now. Dill’s fainting about did it for me.”

Next Week: The Queen makes an appearance.

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.