Digby Thew

Digby Thew, oh Digby Thew! What are we doing to do with you?

If it please Your Worships, I would like very much to be a conductor on the sleeping car of an important railway line. I would wear a cap, and have a sash, and fill out dockets, and attend to the passengers’ every need. I would hope the sleeping car, like the rest of the train, at least in its first class compartments, was fitted out to the brim of luxury.

Digby Thew, oh Digby Thew! What on earth’s come over you?

I realise my request is an unexpected one, Your Worships, given that until now my place has been in the fields, tilling. And tilling hopelessly, I might add. But I must confess that, like a number of characters in the great dramatic tragedies, I have a vaunting ambition. I have not actually seen any of these plays myself, indeed I have never been within ten miles of a theatricum, but I have heard of them, repeatedly, from my more learned colleagues in the fields, when tilling.

Arbogast, what say you? What’s your take on Digby Thew?

As you know, Your Worships, I have compiled a lengthy and exhaustive report on the Tiller Thew. I think you will find it appended to Bundle Six. My conclusions there set out are that Digby Thew is a hopeless tiller of the fields, as he himself acknowledges. It is high time he was dragged away from said fields, to till no more, in perpetuity, and found some other line to which to apply his talents. For let there be no mistake that talent he has, oodles of it, oodles. Our quandary is to discover the nature of that talent. It may well be that the wearing of a cap and a sash, the wearing of them alone, leaving aside the dockets and the attending, will help to reveal it.

Put Digby Thew in cap and sash? That may be considered rash.

It may indeed, Your Worships, but think how you would be commended for boldness if everything worked out ticketyboo.

Very well then, Digby Thew. Now prove yourself to be ticketyboo.

I will do my utmost, Your Worships. In cap and sash I shall prance along the corridor of the sleeping car of the important railway line, filling out and issuing dockets. Oh, I am almost physically sick with excitement! To think that a hopeless tiller of the fields such as me should be given the chance to prove himself ticketyboo! I shall not let you down, Your Worships!


Newspaper reports on the following day told a terrible tale of mayhem and chaos on the railways. In the sleeping car, nobody got a wink of sleep. They were kept awake all night by the antics of the conductor, who wreaked untold damage to the purple and gold luxurious deep plush pile carpet in the car, by hacking at it all night long, hopelessly, with a hoe.

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