Baron Crapulence
The witterings of
Baron Crapulence of Chugley Harvard
As recorded by Felicity O'Toole
'More about Cook'

baron crapulence paid a visit to my mother, the dowager Baroness, at the Dower House some days ago but as usual had difficulty in communicating with my mother. The principle reason for visiting her, come to think of it the only reason, was to see if she remembered our cook's name. It was a forlorn hope as we had our usual communication difficulties. In the end I had to resort to my accountant, Bogle, for the information. I was thoroughly shocked to find that she has had the nerve to have a double-barrelled surname. How can someone rescued from an orphanage lay claim to such? I can't remember exactly what it was, Dixon-Wright or something but perhaps I am thinking of someone else. I do remember her Christian Name, Rose, as it struck me as inordinately inappropriate. I can't believe she ever looked anything like a rose even as a child.

She certainly hasn't been behaving like one. We employed five undercooks with a view to her eventual replacement and not one of them survived Cook's histrionics more than two days. It really was most inconsiderate of Cook because at that rate we wouldn't have had anything decent to eat when she finally shuffled off this mortal coil. It has suddenly occurred to me that she might have some horrendous stroke but not die, what happens then? Who will look after her? I'd be a laughing stock by employing a servant to look after a servant. The government or local authority must have institutions in which to shove people in these sort of conditions, God knows we pay enough taxes, or at least I would if it were not for the splendid efforts of Bogle. Strange how these Scotch chappies are always so good with money, even Mr. Brown at the treasury. Lady Honoraria, my good lady wife that is, not my prize sow, would never wear putting Cook in an institution — but she did come from one after all. I don't even want to think about it.

We do finally seem to have sorted our kitchen problems out, however. After going through the regiment of new assistants, Cook has finally surrendered and acceded to one who can actually cook rather well. Her name is Hortense. After we finally convinced Cook that we weren't intending to pension her off she has suddenly become very fragile retiring to her room frequently so that Hortense has prepared some of our meals unmolested and a fair stab she has made of it too.

On top of this I've been plagued with relatives for the last month. My youngest brother Pereguine, Perry as he is usually known, came to see us a couple of weeks ago. When my relatives visit they always want something. What they usually get is a couple of decent Whisky and Sodas. Perry's never been much use and I don't suppose he will suddenly change now. The only time I would consider financing him is if he wanted to emigrate far away and then only on the condition he didn't come back. My cousin Guy I've always thought a far more level headed chap so I actually invited him to dine wih us. There was no way I could avoid his being accompanied by his dreadful wife Agatha, a veritable Gorgon who really shouldn't be let out in polite company. Seven courses of her acidic tongue and boring scandal is enough to lose the will to live. After what seemed like a whole weekend the ladies finally withdrew and over the port I did pay attention to Guy's proposals, but I wasn't in the best of humour by this time and as he obviously came to me as a last resort I didn't see why I should put my money where others have refused. I had a couple of stiff drinks after they left, I don't mind admitting. I suppose relatives are just one of these crosses we all have to bear. I wonder if orphans with no other relatives appreciate how lucky they are.

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More of Felicity O'Toole's reportage can be found on The Interag
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Introduction


Introduction

I: Noblesse Oblige

II: London

III: Cook

IV: Some Daughters

V: More about Cook

VI: A Cricket Match

VII: A brief engagement
and cider

VIII: Children Going and Not Going

IX: A Shoot

X: Christmas, Now
and Then

XI: A Night in Soho




 
 
The Watley Review