In mufti on Houndsditch my foe lay in wait. Foes are often described as implacable, but I could not say that about my foe. In spite of our vendetta persisting through several generations, my foe for the most part let me be. He did not dog my every footstep, brandishing a stiletto and waiting the opportunity to eviscerate me. Years might go by without my catching even a whiff of his existence. Yet I knew he was somewhere out there, that our enmity was scorching to the soul, and that one day he would strike. So I was prepared.
I did not carry a stiletto myself. I took the precaution of wearing much padding under my outward apparel, so were my foe to stab at me with his stiletto, in broad daylight, on Houndsditch, with a cry of vengeance, the blade would meet not flesh but soft cushioning material, straw and hay and impacted wool all blended together. Though I am thin, even rakishly thin, the padding gave me the appearance of a proper fatso, and I waddled and galumphed along the streets.
One such street was Houndsditch, where I had an appointment to meet a man about a dog. I was under the impression it was a whippet, so I was none too pleased to learn it was another type of dog entirely. I berated the dog person, using intemperate language. As I flailed my arms, he revealed himself as my foe, in mufti, and took from his pocket his stiletto. With a cry of vengeance, he stabbed at me, twice, thrice, but of course I came to no harm, by dint of my padding. I gave him a clean decent sock on the jaw, and he crumpled upon the paving.
I unbuttoned my coat, and my shirt, and I deposited the padding, the straw and hay and impacted wool, upon my foe. I hoped it might suffocate him., in Houndsditch. And I sashayed off, thin and sprightly, to a snackbar for a snack. Before I reached the snackbar, however, the heavens opened, rain fell in sudden torrents, there were several booming thunderclaps, and I was struck by lightning.
As I lay sprawled, my bouffant frazzled and sticking out in all sorts of directions, the dog, which had followed me, a tiny white petulant Japanese dog, yapped in my face. There was no mistaking the meaning of that yap, I swore vengeance upon my foe.