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26.11.08

George

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Meet up with some of our Indian agents to tell them about the world situation.  Sudha loses interest and starts to dance so I start dancing as well, then, after distributing some of Juan’s Special Reserve; we all dance until we collapse.  Heading out of town after the meeting,  I come across George and his bunch of flunkies, taking a break from killing tigers. I can tell by the way George says ‘God!  It’s that maniac again’ that he is not happy to see me.  This is because George has become such a pompous twit that, whenever I meet him, I always insist on asking after Helle Cristina, his lovely daughter, and Mary Elizabeth, his beautiful wife: and loudly reminding him of his behaviour when we served together on H.M.S. Bacchante.  As the existence of Helle and Mary is an embarrassing state secret, and the horrifying details of George’s behaviour in Fiji, Yokohama and Shanghai, not to mention his sordid activities in Bermuda, Jamaica, Trinidad and Monte Video, would bring the monarchy to its knees, everyone looks uncomfortable.  I decide to lighten the atmosphere by reciting some humorous verse.  As George is meant to be a true Englishman and does not appreciate being reminded in public that he comes from the Saxe-Coburg family; on this occasion, I decide not to recite German verse also, to be truthful, I can’t think of any German humorous verse.  Fortunately, I remember some of the stuff my old friend, Charles Godfrey Leland, used to spout, to relax himself in Paris, while we were manning the barricades. Normally, Charles spoke in Shelta and my German is lamentable but, out of respect for Georges Teutonic affiliations, sipping Juan’s Special Reserve, I march around in circles, goose-stepping and saluting and singing Hans Breitmann’s Barty:

 

“HANS BREITMANN gife a barty;

Dey had biano-blayin',

I felled in lofe mit a Merican frau,

Her name vas Madilda Yane.

She hat haar as prown ash a pretzel,

Her eyes vas himmel-plue,

Und vhen dey looket indo mine,

Dey shplit mine heart in dwo.

 

Hans Breitmann gife a barty,

I vent dere you'll pe pound;

I valtzet mit Matilda Yane,

Und vent shpinnen' round und round.

De pootiest Fraulein in de house,

She vayed 'pout dwo hoondred pound,

Und efery dime she gife a shoomp

She make de vindows sound.

 

Hans Breitmann gife a barty,

I dells you it cost him dear;

Dey rolled in more ash sefen kecks

Of foost-rate lager beer.

Und vhenefer dey knocks de shpicket in

De deutschers gifes a cheer;

I dinks dot so vine a barty

Nefer coom to a het dis year.

 

Hans Breitmann gife a barty;

Dere all vas Souse and Brouse,

Vhen de sooper comed in, de gompany

Did make demselfs to house;

Dey ate das Brot and Gensy broost,

De Bratwurst and Braten vine,

Und vash der Abendessen down

Mit four parrels of Neckarwein.

 

Hans Breitmann gife a barty;

Ve all cot troonk ash bigs.

I poot mine mout' to a parrel of beer,

Und emptied it oop mit a schwigs;

Und den I gissed Madilda Yane,

Und she shlog me on de kop,

Und de gompany vighted mit daple-lecks

Dill de coonshtable made oos shtop.

 

Hans Breitmann gife a barty --

Vhere ish dot barty now?

Vhere ish de lofely golden cloud

Dot float on de moundain's prow?

Vhere ish de himmelstrahlende stern --

De shtar of de shpirit's light?

All goned afay mit de lager beer --

Afay in de ewigkeit.”

 

With this, I crash into, and fall on top of the table then, trying to stand up again, become violently entangled with the tablecloth. Sitting amongst the rubble, in the few awkward moments that follow, feeling that I might not have hit exactly the right note, I crawl away quietly and join aunt Humperdink in watching Hiragaz, the Royal Elephant who, because of his refusal to budge, is being dragged across country on his bum.

 

Professor Humperdink’s Diary