Baron Crapulence
The witterings of
Baron Crapulence of Chugley Harvard
As recorded by Felicity O'Toole
'Children Going and Not Going'

baron crapulence he month just gone by has been rather satisfying as far as I’m concerned. Not one but two of my children have at last flown the nest, so to speak. Happily the two concerned are the two that unnerve me the most, wafting silently around Crapulent Towers, quite often in the dead of night, and frightening the life out of me when they suddenly appear. I shall still have to give them an allowance, but at least I shall be less susceptible to a sudden seizure.

I am referring, you will probably have gathered, to the twins. Tarquin — and, so Lady Honoria, my good lady wife that is, not my prize sow, has reminded me — Aneemia. Tarquin’s friend from University, Lord Colquhoun*, heir to the Duke of Klittoria, has recently come into some property and invited my two offspring to move in with him. I believe there is a fourth person involved in this arrangement. Who knows, Aneemia could end up as a Duchess one day, which wouldn’t do our family any harm at all.

I suggested to my good lady wife that we could visit them and see how they have settled into this new house, which I don’t suppose is very large, probably less than twenty rooms not including the servants quarters, but she thought it best to leave them to get on with it for a while. I dare say she is right, she usually is where matters of family are concerned.

What with them going, Ekscreeta living during the week in London and Gonoria spending most of the time in the village, I can’t help feeling we seem to be getting somewhere at last. Not to mention the one that got lost somewhere in the North Tower years ago, when she was about six I think. Nanny was a bit upset about it at the time, but her continuous warfare with our governess soon took her mind off the matter. I believe her name was Mellankolia, or so I am reliably informed. Our daughter, that is, not the governess. Still, she was warned not to go wandering about on her own. We were having some building works done at the time so she may have inadvertently become part of the fabric of the house, so to speak. Alternatively she may simply have fallen down the guarderobe. It was all rather a pity as she was wearing a rather expensive new frock when she disappeared.

There was a bit of a fuss at the time I remember, as my good lady wife reported the young person in question as missing to the local constabulary. The police, quite rightly for once, pointed out that as there was no evidence that she had left Crapulent Towers, she could hardly be described as missing. Mislaid, I think was the term that they used before they eagerly withdrew.

I was contemplating this matter whilst scratching Lady Honoria's belly the other day. I refer to my prize sow, not to my good lady wife. Of course we've had various oddballs turning up from time to time claiming to be our long lost daughter, presumably after my money; they get short shrift I can tell you. A few years ago one of our servants had the damned cheek to claim that she was our missing daughter. Her name was Annie; now I ask you, if you had a beautiful name such as Mellankolia, would you call yourself Annie? She was instantly dismissed of course. The unfortunate thing is that Gonoria had taken a liking to her and now stays down the village with her, in one of my cottages, if you please. Come to think of it all the cottages in the village are mine anyway, but that's not the point. Adding insult to injury Lady Honoria, my good lady wife, insists in inviting her up at Christmas. An ex-servant, and a failed confidence trickster at that, dining in Great Hall, well I am sure you can understand my feelings.

The downside of all this is that the remaining family members have become rather more prominent and I now keep bumping into other daughters whom I had almost forgotten about. Strange how the pretty little daughters that Nanny brought down to us to view now and again have grown into these rather frightening women.

Our children weren’t too bad when they were little, Nanny had them most of the time, but I used to see them on special occasions: Christmas, birthdays and the like. I believe their mother used to visit them up in the west wing from time to time, so no one could accuse us of lack of care towards our offspring. Now they are all adult they seem to have dedicated themselves to irritate me at every opportunity.

One of them, Highperthermia, as my good lady wife has reminded me, has been wandering around the grounds and frightening the gardeners during the summer. She is the one who is in, what appears to me, a permanent state of undress; seldom seen in what I can only describe as not much more than underwear, meandering around the house. Well anyway she was wandering around in very highly coloured if minuscule apparel (which my good lady wife informs me is a bikini). I don’t want Slippage distracted from his chores, nor his cricket practice come to that. Goodness knows, the outfitter's bills that I pay would clothe an army.

Haloosinogenia and Katertonia, as I have been assured, although I'm not quite sure which is which, have a conspiracy to vanquish me from my own library: some of the tomes within which have been in the family for many generations. Not that I have ever spent much time reading them, but I suppose someone might want to read the odd one, personally I think they look much better on the shelves; to be engrossed and engulfed by them I would have thought an evasion of life; I’ve always regarded a library as something that looks good rather than anything that has any use, a place to which to retire for a bit of peace and quiet, where I can relax with a Bruichladdich and a copy of the Financial Times.

Norsia, of course, I have been avoiding whenever possible and two others, Boleemia and Vajeinia, as has been confirmed to me, confine themselves mostly to their beds, the former surrounded by her pharmaceuticals; I'm unsure what the other one does, but Carruthers informs me she gets through an inordinate quantity of batteries.

Those of whom we have rid ourselves will all be back for Christmas I suppose. I wonder if I should invite Lord Colquhoun to Crapulent Towers at some time over the festive season. I expect he will spend Christmas itself at his own family’s home but he might accept over the New Year. After that my good lady wife and I are spending a few weeks in the Caribbean on our yacht and I’d like to meet him before we go away.

NOTE: Colquhoun* is pronounced 'Cuffoon' - Felicity O'Toole

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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