Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 12: Dismissed

In which the P.M. goes to meet the Queen and it’s not pretty.

Previously: Her Ladyship, our heroine, reported the incident with Mata Hari to the British Ambassador in Istanbul, then went shopping in the bazaar and ran into her ex-boy friend. When they parted, he was still her ex. It was then she decided to take a cruise to Egypt. Little does Lady P.P. know, the House of Lords is threatening to take away her title and lands, even though her Daddykins paid up the wazoo for them.

It was a lovely spring afternoon in England, but, in the affairs of men, winter was on its way. Wars and rumors of wars. Droughts, floods, depressions. The Great Wall of China was cracking. The Chinese blamed the Japanese and readied for war over the matter.

The pyramids of Egypt were crumbling. The Sphinx had sneezed and her nose fell off. In India, the Sikhs were after the Moslems who were after the Hindus who were after the Sikhs. The Boers in the south of Africa were up in arms. Cecil Rhodes was stealing their diamonds. The Zulus were mad because the Boers were claiming their diamonds. The French were hanging Dreyfus out to dry. The London dockworkers were striking.

And Gibraltar appeared to be sinking. The waves from the Krakatoa explosion finally reached the Mediterranean. This was some twelve years after the volcano had blown its top in the Indian Ocean. According to H. G. Wells, the planet was being overrun by Martians. Martians indeed. If anyone was doing the overrunning, it was the Venusians.

The British Empire’s arms stretched around the globe and it appeared they were growing tired. How much longer could the British maintain their control over the affairs of mankind. As the song says, “We’ve got trouble right here in River City.”

The Prime Minister stepped into his carriage at Number 10. He began the ride over to Buckingham Palace for his weekly audience with the Queen. The sun shone upon his worried face as he passed the Changing of the Guard and Whitehall. He always liked the view out his window, driving through St. James Park. He loved the pelicans, the lake and the scarlet geraniums. He especially loved the trees: the Plane, the Black Mulberry, the Scarlet Oak. All this loveliness, yet on this particular day it could not change his mood.

Queen Victoria, Her Imperial Majesty, Empress of India, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Egypt and Lots-of-Other-Places was agitated. And her agitation was agitated. She paced the room in her long shroud of a black dress, her mourning gown. Not a curve, not a bosom, not an ankle showing. Only a drape draped over Her Majesty’s anatomy.

“I am distressed, deeply distressed,” she mumbled. When Her Majesty mumbled, everybody in the Palace understood that the Queen was to be left alone.

“Madam is distressed,” the Queen’s Privy Purse told the Prime Minister as the P.M. made his way down the long corridor from the entrance of the Palace to the lift.

“Madam is distressed,” the Queen’s Lift Operator said as the operator pressed the lever to take the P.M. to the Queen’s Floor.

“Madam is distressed,” the Queen’s Physician said as the good doctor took out the Queen’s toilet from the night before for inspection.

The Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting went to speak but the Prime Minister interrupted. “I know. Her Majesty is distressed. My God, I can hear the mumbling. The whole of the Empire can hear the mumbling.”

At his insistence, the Lady-in-Waiting opened the door to the Queen’s Audience Chamber and pushed him inside. He felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter, all this talk about the Queen distressing over God-knows-what. “Patience, man,” he whispered to himself. “After all, she is Her Majesty.”

He walked into a large dark room. The curtains were drawn shut, hadn’t been opened since the night her beloved Bertie died.

The Prime Minister softly closed the door, then stood where prime ministers stood for their weekly audience. Melbourne, Peel, Russell, Palmerston, Disraeli, Gladstone had all stood there. At the edge of the room. He waited to be beckoned by Her Majesty to do her bidding. Every muscle in his body urged him to leave. The meetings with the Old Lady never went well. But today’s briefing was going to be more unpleasant than usual. He could feel it in his bones.

The rather large Queen, her body filling her half of the room with her majestic majesticness, stopped her pacing. She sat down in the rather large chair below the rather-large portrait of her beloved Bertie. She looked the Prime Minister’s way, hemmed and hawed several times, then beckoned him to come sit on the footstool like the dog he was.

He lowered himself before Her Majestic figure and knelt on the footstool. He never was sure whether he should bark or pant and beg for a bone. Today he did neither. He waited for Her Majesty to speak. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes stretched into an hour, then an hour and a half with barely an ahem along the way. Finally…

“Well?” Her Majesty demanded.

“Yes, Your Majesty?” he said.

Well, what do you have to say?”

“Say, Your Majesty?”

“Don’t appear an imbecile.” The large figure stared down at the dog of a Prime Minister at her feet.

“An imbecile, Your Majesty?” The dog tried to wag his tail to please his master.

“Yes, or would you prefer I call you what my Beloved Bertie called an imbecile?”

“And what would that be, Ma’am?”

“A dummkopf. Are you a dummkopf, Prime Minister?”

“If you say so, Your Majesty.”

“And if I say not, Prime Minister?” Her distress had abated. She was now enjoying this Game she conducted with her Prime Ministers. The one exception had been Benjamin Disraeli. She missed him. He had been such a great spot of tea. An enjoyable tête-à-tête always passed between the two as they had high tea together. He knew how to serve a queen. The rest was a joke and deserved her royal scorn. So scorn was what she gave them. “And if I don’t say so, Prime Minister?”

“As you say, Your Majesty.”

“But I didn’t say.” She was tiring of the Game.

“Yes, Your Majesty.” The Prime Minister’s knees were getting tired. They were beginning to buckle.

“Why were you not going to tell me, Prime Minister?”

Instead of saying what he felt, “What the hell are you talking about,” the Prime Minister continued to play his part. As all the prime ministers before had. And all her prime ministers-to-come would. “I apologize, Your Majesty. You know I wouldn’t have secrets from Your Majesty, but I am getting old. Things slip my mind easily these days.”

“I can see that, Prime Minister. But things of importance you always reveal to me, do you not?”

“I do indeed, Your Majesty.”

“Then why this time did you not tell me? I had to learn it from the Prince of Wales. You know how hate getting news from Little Bertie. Do you think that is right?”

“I can only beg Your Majesty’s pardon for being so reticent. I did not wish to disturb Your Majesty’s dignity on trivial matters.”

“Do you consider the removal of a peerage a trivial matter?”

“No, Your Majesty. I do not.”

“Of course, you do, Prime Minister. After all, you are only a commoner commonly born.”

“’Tis true, Your Majesty, sadly ‘tis true. I am commonly born. But that does not mean I do not care. All matters of governance throughout Your Majesty’s reign concern me. Any concern of Your Majesty is a concern of my government.” My God, my knees hurt. How much longer must I endure this torture?

“Prime Minister, you must speak to Lords and rectify the situation.”

“I will, Your Majesty. But in my burdens of governance I haven’t been following the business of Lords lately. I have been concerned with other matters.”

The face of Queen Victoria, Her Imperial Majesty, Empress of India, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Egypt and Lots-of-Other-Places turned white. She was angry. She stood up.

“Prime Minister, this audience is ended.”

“But, Your Majesty.” His face too had turned white. Fear gripped every bone in his body. If he did not please Her Majesty and continue the audience, his career might well be in jeopardy. And he knew it. “I am so sorry, Your Majesty.”

“This audience is over, Prime Minister.”

The queen turned and left the room, walking into her private chambers off to the side of the Audience Chamber.

The Prime Minister was stunned. What matter had he ignored? My God, what had Lords gone and done? What act of complete idiocy had they moved on? Whatever they had done, there would be consequences. And this very afternoon.

Behind the Prime Minister still kneeling on his toad stool in his doggie position came a sound. He turned and saw the maids dusting. Soon he would be dusted out of office if he didn’t act. He could not allow things to fall into a freefall with the lords or his government would fall. He had to take charge. He must rectify the situation. But first he must find out what the situation was.

He rose and stalked out of the Chamber, his feet marching to the tune of the swishing of the dusting. Past the door with the big knocker on it and down the empty hallway and to the lift he plodded, his body stooped. He had aged ten years in the hours since he entered the Queen’s Audience Chamber.

The lift on its way down kept repeating, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?”

As he made his way back to Number 10, the Prime Minister’s carriage wheels kept repeating, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?”

Next Week: Ship Ahoy

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 4: Nuptialling All Over the Place

In which our heroine says her I doeses

Previously Mary-Mary Smith agreed to marry Lord Dunnie and become a lady. Mother di Fussye-Pants gets her a title. And now on with the show.

Mary-Mary Smith, or Marye Caterina Olgastoya, Viscountess dat Renalla-Macedoni as she was now known, arrived in England on Monday. On Thursday, she was to marry a titled, land-rich, money-poor, one hundred and nine-year-old, prune face of an English lord. To say that Lord Dunnville, or “Dunnie” as he was called by his nearest and dearest as the reader has learned, was a wrinkled old prune of a face could be construed as a compliment for the antiquely wrinkled old gentleman.

The wedding was The Event of the Season. The Abbey—Westminster Abbey, that is—was rented for the occasion and Everybody-Who-Was-Anybody attended. Anybody-Who-Was-A-Somebody was there. Nobody-Who-Was-A-Nobody was there as well. Sir Quentin Nobody, the Lord Mayor of London, that is. Only the Queen and Her Majesty’s Prime Minister’s Personal Secretary absented themselves. But one or two less or more was no matter to the future Lady of Haggismarshe. As one American tourist said to her husband afterwards, “I’m telling you, Henry, the house was packed.” It was the bit of spot-on that London Society needed to conclude a successful Season.

Only Moms complained. Mary-Mary’s parents were put behind the P. M., and his party and they couldn’t see as well as they would’ve liked. The P. M.’s very bald head kept bobbing around, blocking the view.

Prime Minister Argyle Mactavish’s Personal Secretary, known as the P. S., not the B. S. as some claimed, he was away on business, in very delicate negotiations with the Duchy of Pimpletonia. England desperately needed to access the Duchy’s vast deposits of politicians for a secret project the British government had recently instituted. If it worked, there would never be an energy crisis in Merry Olde England again. All that hot air and all, you know. And Her Duchiness had been a very modicum of Pimpletonia touchiness about the whole affair. P. M. had his P. S. rsvp that the P. S. was to represent P. M. as the P. S. often did when P. M. was unavailable. After all, the P. M. did not want to miss The Event of the Season.

Her Majesty was still in mourning. She had been mourning the death of her beloved Albert for decades. In her stead, Prince of Wales and his Princess attended to show their support for Uncle Wimpie, as Wales liked to call the grand old bridegroom. They put in their brief appearance as the nuptials were about to be nuptialized by the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Lord Englewood Buckett.

Other than Her Majesty and the P. S., only Wales’ mistress, Carpilla Baggs, was absented from the ceremonies. Wales called her affectionately his carpe diem; the press disaffectionately referred to her as Carpet Bagger. However, the Prince would see his much-loved C. B. shortly after the marriage ceremony. That is, if he could lose the Princess at Buckingham and hail a cab.

The crowd of commoners gathering around the Abbey was enormous. It was large. Bigger than big. Besides that, there were a lot of people there. They stood outside to observe the aristocracy doing their aristocratic thing. It was a rare occasion for commoners to glimpse or even see a real live lord or lady out in the world. It wasn’t done in Society. This was one such occasion indeed and most Londoners were reticent not to be there. It was like a holiday. They brought their picnic baskets. They brought their beer to do a right good sendoff.

It was raining. So it was out with the brollies. Very English, you know. No red, blue or purple umbrellas. Only black brollies. They were not about to give up a glance of the new bride. It wasn’t often that they had a chance of seeing an ancient lord wedding a foreign princess and they were not about to miss this one for the world.

At the sound of Big Ben big-benning one in the pms in the afternoon, Lord Bishop Buckett, the Arch of Canterbury, looked down upon his audience. An audience of lords and knights, ladies and dames, earls and earlesses, baronets and barons up to the tuckus, the best dressed gang in the whole of the realm of England. He smiled his most benevolent of smiles, then delivered a sermon to beat all sermons, a list of the doeses and don’tses that a marriage of the nobility should follow. His melodious voice filled the Abbey with such melodiousness many felt it was one of his finest, one that he could proudly add to a long list of his fine sermons better known as the “Buckett List.”

Then the nuptuals were completed. The lord and his lady were now wedded with a suddenness that surprised her ladyship with its suddenness.

As the rain, stopped the Bride and Groom stepped out of Westminster to the sound of the Abbey bells, while confetti confettied down upon them.

As the couple entered their carriage, a dark-haired woman watched from the distance. Elegantly dressed in black, she frowned. After all, her plan to marry the aristocratic old coot of a bridegroom had failed. She had arrived too too late to make the connections for an introduction. Since Plan A had failed, it was on to Plan B. If Plan B failed, it would be on to Plan C. And if Plan C failed, she would continue through the alphabet till voila, Success.

Next Week: Cheer up and have a spot of tea

Politics in America 42: The Great Bunion Act of 2019 

One wouldn’t think that the President losing a bunion would be that big a deal. But the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA, the Dept. Of Homeland Security and the Congress were not letting it go. Especially Senator Butt Nekkid.

He rose to the floor of the United States Senate and spoke eloquently on the loss of the bunion. “The Secret Service has been caught with its pants down,” he began. He continued with a history of famous bunions. There was Alexander the Great’s bunion. There was Julius Caesar’s bunion. On and on he went.

It was Henry VIII’s bunion that brought about his divorce. Ann Boleyn had fallen for that bunion. Their daughter Elizabeth’s was so prominent that people from all over came to see it. All that tourism business made England the richest country in Europe. Cornwallis didn’t have a bunion and, of course, he lost to GW at Yorktown. Napoleon lost at Waterloo because his doctor had operated and removed his bunion. Abe Lincoln kept that Gettysburg Address short because his bunion hurt so bad.

By the time the Senator finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the Senate. Senator Butt Nekkid brought his speech to a grand finale. “This dastardly act must be dealt with. This assassinator, Stever the Cleaver, must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. He will be executed for the traitor he is. And an illegal alien at that. Then, after we have our justice, he will be sent to the depths of hell and the devil his ownself will take care of his eternal soul.

“And finally we must pass an Act of War against Canada. Not only do we have to deal with those darn geese and jokes of mass destruction. They are now attacking our bunions.”

Then there was the United Nations Comedic Weapons Commission. The Commission’s inspections had discovered Jokes of Mass Destruction in Ottawa, in Toronto, in Montreal and in Vancouver. They didn’t find any in Yukon Territory because they weren’t about to go up there and freeze their you-know-whats off.

Under the leadership of Senator Boll Weavel, the Congress voted a Declaration of War against Canada.

Upon hearing of the war, John Tory, the British prime minister, said, “Things just aren’t, are they?”

“I’m afraid so, PM, I’m afraid so,” said the Minister for Affairs-Having-to-Do-With-the-Americans, better known as AM.

“Now they’ve gone and mucked it up. And if I know them, they’ll muck it up some more.”

“I say, it is rahther, isn’t it?” AM commented. “It is rahther late in the day to stop this back-and-forth in the Colonies. Before you know it, it will be high noon. And what then?”

“I suppose it’s jolly good fun for the Americans. At least for now. But just you wait. Those Hockey Pucks will make tea and crumpets out of the Rebels. If they don’t, then my name is not John Tory.”

But, of course, his name was John Tory, the Jolly Good P.M. who would later become Sir John Tory, the Jolly Good Lord. And eventually the Jolly Green Giant. And that was all that the Brits and their stiff upper lips had to say about the matter.

Next Week What about the Aussies?

Politics in America 32: What to do? What to do?

As we learned last week, Betty Sue Pudding, First Lady Extraordinary, wanted to redecorate the White House. Give it that Weazel Sneaze look. When she went to the President and told The Great Man that she needed fifty million to do the do, he saw that as reasonable request. “We’ll take it out of petty cash.”

“No can do,” his Chief of Staff said. “We don’t have any money. And Congress isn’t giving us any either.”

As I said then, this was the horns of a dilemma. But The Great Man thought, “Nothing a president can’t solve.”

So he called in his Cabinet and asked for suggestions.

“There’s just one thing we can do. We’ll sell Mississippi,” the Secretary of the Interior declared. “It’s river front property and they’re not doing anything with it down there.”

“To whom?” Secretary of State asked. “I mean who should we sell it too?”

“We could sell it to China,” Defense interjected. He loved to interject, so he did it all the time. “They already have a lot of our money, making a lot of those thing-a-majigs.”

“The Big Guy tried that,” State informed everybody. “China doesn’t want it. They have their own Mississippi. In fact, they have about five Mississippis.”

“How about Russia?” Energy said. He hated to be left out. “I hear the Russian Premier has been looking for a summer home. Mississippi would be perfect for that.”

“Can you imagine a Russian Premier saying, ‘Y’allski’,” Defense again. “I don’t think so. Besides they don’t have the money. They can’t even afford that mess they did in Crimea.”

“Cry me a river?” The Great Man asked.

“No,” the Chief of Staff said. “Crimea Peninsula.”

“England? We could sell it to England,” Betty Sue chipped in all excited-like. “I love the English. All that fish and chips and rahther. Bowing before the Queen. And that Prince Charles. He’s just the handsomest. Don’t you think so?”

“Just what does a Prince do?” The Great Man wanted to know. After all, he should know. He was President and he should know things.

“Waiting for Mommy to die,” the Chief of Staff offered.

“But what’s his job?” The President asked again.

“That’s his job,” State liked questions like this. Easy ones. “Wait for Mommy to die. Let’s just say that he’s like the Vice President.”

“Oh,” the President said. “So what are we going to do about Mississippi?”

“We’ll rent it out to Canada” Betty Sue Pudding said. Amazing how many bright ideas she had. And all in one day.  “For all the snowbirds.”

The Cabinet was really impressed. Betty Sue Pudding was a bright lady. So any screw-up the pig farmer might do, she’d fix. They applauded, then rose from their seats and exited. They were glad to get out of there. The seats were hard as rocks. One Cabinet member always left saying, “My butt hurts.” Usually it was the new guy. Since most of them were newbies, there was a chorus of, “My butt hurts.”

This was the reason the Cabinet was in favor of the redecoratin’. They were hoping for some comfortable chairs.

The President picked up the Venetian Red Phone, then realized that was for the Italians. He set it back into its bed. Then went for Vermilion Red Phone. The Chief of Staff was amazed that the President knew exactly which Red Phone was the right one for Canada.

The Personal Secretary of the Prime Minister of Canada answered. He said, “Hold on, Mr. President sir.” His hands were shaking. It was the new President of the United States. The President of the United States never called the Prime Minister of Canada. It hadn’t been done in over…well, over a long time. Since that Iraq thing, at least. He put the President on hold and ran to get the Prime Minister.

The P.S. said to the P.M, “Sir, sir.” The P M ignored his P S. He did that a lot. After all, he had gotten tired of his P S running to him to tell him that it was snowing. It was Canada. It was always snowing.

“Sir, the President is on hold for you.”

“The President? Which President?”

“That President,” P S said, frantic-like.

“You put the President of the United States on hold? You idiot. This is bad. Really bad. We never put the President of the United States on hold. That’s like putting the Queen on hold. You know how she gets.”

Whatever he was doing, and being the Prime Minister of Canada, he may have been doing just about anything. At that particular moment, he had been peeking out the curtains, admiring the snow that was always coming down.

He quit that and ran to the phone. He picked it up and pressed the Un-hold button. “Mr. President,” his voice was out of breath. “I’ve been meaning to call you but I’ve been so busy. It’s the snow. It is always in need of watching.”

The Great Man just laughed. “I’ve never seen snow. Maybe I should come up and see your snow.”

“Please do,” the P M responded. “Canada has the most unique snow in the world. We should build a pipeline through the United States and ship it out to countries that don’t have snow.”

“We could do that,” the President negotiated. “It would be good for jobs.” The Great Man liked this guy. He could tell that Canada and the United States were going to get along just fine.

This Snow Pipeline would be a win-win for everybody. Jobs for Americans. Getting rid of some snow for Canada. And giving the snow-less countries snow. It would really make their Christmases. And kids who had never seen snow before was about to get to see snow. It could create a whole new industry. The Snow Ice Cream Industry. It was definitely a win-win-win.

Next Week Mississippi Or Bust