Oh Prunella!

Oh Prunella! Thou art fair! But is it true that thou has lost thy marbles? Just now I was engaged in breezy chitchat with old Greavish the retainer, by the filbert hedge, and he said you had taken to hiding behind the arras waving a new-darned sock from your dainty hand, to and fro, to and fro, while humming a bawdy song. That is why I came bounding across the lawn past the box hedge and the serried rows of owl traps, and dashed into the house and up the stairs to your boudoir, to find out if Greavish spoke the truth. And now I find you here, so fair, not behind the arras at all, but slumped on a divan, toying with pickles in a jar, and by your slipper-shod feet another jar, sealed, in which there appears to be a creature of the sea, enbrined, globular, and luminous. The sock you were wafting has been tossed aside against the wainscot, where it is being gnawed by a little mouse. Thou art not singing, now, but keening, a low, melancholy keening, redolent of untold centuries of historic wrongs unrighted. I shall bring you a flan from the pantry, oh my Prunella! And then I shall lift you to your feet and carry you all the way to the house of Dr Slop. It is an untidy house, dilapidated and falling down, but within the good doctor maintains a laboratory in which he conducts his brain sluicing experiments. I shall pay him a few sous and hand you over to his care until springtime. Come, Prunella dear. Let drop your pickle jar. Think no more about the sock. I will take your sea creature to the aquarium as soon as I have you safely installed with the doctor. Do not, oh! do not scamper behind the arras where I cannot reach you. Sing not that bawdy song! It assails my ears and I must stuff them with cotton wool. Greavish! Greavish! Come quick! The sea creature has broken the seal upon its jar and is slithering across the rug towards the arras! Oh God in heaven. Glubb … glubb … glubb …

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