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24.11.08

Generez and Seymour


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Arriving at a small town, the first thing I notice is s parade coming down the street and, to my delight, I recognize Hiragaz, my old elephant. Then someone shouts, “Humperdink, thank God you’re here, do you know how to stop this thing?” and I look up to see Seymour, one of our top agents, peering down at me. I climb up beside him and he whispers that he is masquerading as the Maharaja of Gwailior. Although don’t ask him why he doing this, as I have my own problems, I do ask him where we are, he shrugs, says that he has no idea and explains that they started out holding a parade in Morar, but that the elephant just kept on going. I tell Seymour to relax, and using our old code, I shout ‘Mouse!’ Hiragaz doesn’t like mice and immediately stops. We all tumble forward and collapse in a heap on the street.

 

I comment that this does not seem to befit the dignity expected of a great Maharaja. As a crowd is gathering, telling Seymour that I would extol his glories to the people and restore their appreciation of his true majesty, I leap out in front of the crowd and, pointing at Seymour, jumping up and down, trying to get his hat back from Hiragaz, ennobling words slip my mind and I recite the first thing that comes into my head, which happen to be ‘The Splendid Bankrupt’ by my old friend Arthur Sykes, or Psycho Sykes, as we used to call him. I pronounce the first few lines with as much solemnity as I can muster.

 

“Under its spreading bankruptcy

The village mansion stands;

Its lord, a mighty man is he,

With large broad-acred lands;

And all the laws that baulk his creditors

Are as strong as iron bands.”

 

“His laugh is free and loud and long,

His dress is spick and span,

He pays no debt with honest sweat,

He keeps whate’er he can,

And stares the whole world in the face,

For he fears not any man.”

 

Feeling that I am getting the attention of the crowd, I wave my arms around, and continue shouting out the verses more and more excitedly, until I finish, frothing with derision and spitting with fury at Seymour:

 

“Scheming, promoting, squandering,

Onward through life he goes;

Each morning sees some “deal” begun,

Each evening sees it close;

Some coup attempted, someone “done”

Has earned a night’s repose.”

 

“Thanks, thanks, to thee my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught!

Thus, in the busy City life

Our fortunes must be wrought;

Thus does the Splendid Bankrupt thrive

While honest fools get nought!”

 

It occurs to me, in the silence that followed, that I could have chosen verses more appropriate for praising the magnificence of the Maharaja of Gwailior and inculcating a sense of awe and respect his personage should naturally inspire. Seymour straightens his clothes and his hat and tries to look suitably important, unfortunately, Generez, who either does not understand the gravity of the situation or has a peculiar sense of humour, wraps his trunk around Seymour’s left foot, lifts him high in the air, holds him upside down and swings him backwards and forwards in front of the crowd. This is an unedifying sight and, seeing that Seymour may have lost some of his authority, I wish him the best of luck, and leave immediately.

 

Professor Humperdink’s Diary