Tuesday 9 September 2014

The Warden Watches his Step

"Septimus! How lovely to see you!"

Old Bishop Grantly of Barchester smiled gently at his old friend.

"Stephanie!" responded the Warden, happily, using the pet name the Bishop had first acquired at Oxford. "I came as soon as Susan told me I was wanted."

The Archdeacon stepped quietly out of the shadows of the inglenook, where he had been warming himself.

"And that, Warden, is exactly the sort of thing you must not be saying from now on. "

Warden Harding looked baffled and sad. He glanced from Archdeacon Grantly, his son-in-law, to the Bishop and back.

"I am sorry - what must I not do?"

"Camp talk, gay ways, marrying other men. The House of Bishops has ruled it out. You can be as gay as you like, Warden. But you can't do as gay as you want. The Bishop and his friends have spoken."

"Well, not all of us," responded his father,  "I fell asleep before the vote. And the bishops of Melchester and Wintoncester are, and always have been, complete raving...."

"Enough, bishop. And that's a completely different author's imaginary southern England  place names. I hope I have made myself clear to the Warden. No gay stuff."

"Gay?" said the Warden. I like to think, when I play my instrument of an evening, that I and indeed all the men of Hiram's Hospital are made somewhat gay....."

"This is just what I feared!" exclaimed the Archdeacon.  "This must all stop. Before you know where you are, you'll be marrying Bunce, and Tom Towers will be splashing it across four pages of the Jupiter."

"Oh, I don't know. Bunce is nice enough, but he's a man.  And, even if he were a woman, he's hardly the right class."

"More your rough tra....?" began the Bishop, but was silenced by a look from the Archdeacon.

"I hope I have made the matter very clear?"

"Yes Archdeacon," replied Warden Harding, while his hands - as they were wont when he was deeply moved - made sweeping gestures across an invisible cellist. 

"But just one question, Archdeacon?" interrupted the Bishop.


"Where do you get your black gaiters and breeches? They're all the rage down Old Compton Street."

The Archdeacon looked grim. His troubles were just beginning.

1 comment :

  1. When will the BBC dramatise it? It would rival Downton.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl