"The master has returned," nanny shouted.
"NOW I have!" I shouted, turning the full fury of my eyes to-ward her. "But only because you rudely woke me!"
But nanny was not speaking of my own homecoming from dream-land. As she must always do, Nanny spoke again to make her meaning clearer: "Your father has come home."
Father has been away for some time now, visiting the dark continent to bring enlightenment to the savages and hunt elephants to bring their precious ivory to England for use in such necessities as comb-handles, suit-buttons, and peasant-pelters. He is a fine, upstanding Englishman, and while I miss seeing him when he's away, I realize his sojourns are a boon to Queene and country.
"Excellent!" I shouted, springing from my bed with great vigor. A minute or so later, once I had caught my breath from that energetic expenditure, I asked Nanny if Father was busy meeting with Mother.
"No, dear," Nanny said. "Your mother has locked herself in her bedchambers to compose melancholy poetry and said she shan't come out for a week. Your father is about to sit down for breakfast, though, and I imagine he'd be happy for your company."
"Break my fast outside of my bed?" I asked aloud, letting the strange notion roll around my imagination. "How very strange it will seem, but I shall try it!"
Much as I would normally avoid such a departure from my daily regimen, I was eager to see father - not merely because of my deep affection for him, but also because I had important business to discuss. For while I have told you frequently, dear reader, of how I loathe my oafish, cotton-headed nanny, she is not the member of our house staff that I hate the most!
No, the deepest reserves of my fiery animosity is reserved for a young serving wench who, coincidentally, Father himself hired last time he was at home. This addle-headed strumpet has more on her chest than on her mind, and has twice - TWICE! - presented me with un-cut Cornish game hen at dinner-time! Am I expected to cut my own meat with my own hands like some kind of common Welshman?
I resolved to speak with Father about the serving wench at break-fast and have her term of service ended immediately!
"Father," I announced. "It is your firstborn son Wintrhop Merriweather Pinfeather-Smythe. I have come to break fast with you."
"Good morning," father said, his boisterous baritone rattling the silverware. "I would rise to embrace you, but..."
"Yes, yes," I interrupted with a wave of my hand as I took my seat, "My chalky bones."
I intended to proceed immediately with my complaints about the young serving wench, but just as I took my breath to begin, the addle-headed domestic in question entered the dining hall carrying various fruits to the table.
"Those melons are looking especially tasty today," Father said.
"Oh, they're tasty every day," the silly wench said in reply. Apparently she is unaware of the process of fruit spoiling. Stupid girl!
She lingered in the dining hall awaiting further commands and I was forced to temporarily delay my treatise against her while Father asked me questions about how my studies were progressing, what I thought of current members of parliament, and inquired as to what my age was.
Eventually, father called the serving maid over to re-fill his tea. The dullard has terrible posture to begin with, but on this day (giggling stupidly as she did) she bent over the table so far that she accidentally overturned my own teacup, spilling the remaining contents on to the table. The hot, dark liquid began to slowly flow towards me.
"Help!" I shrieked in terror. "Boiling tea is making its way towards me and I shall be terribly scalded!"
The silly girl made no move to rescue me at all! What was I to do? The tea spread closer - ever closer! Finally, nanny came running in from the servants' dining closet, grabbed a napkin from an adjacent place setting and tried to stop the encroaching beverage. While her timely intervention did spare me a certain scalding, the ogre was too slow to catch the drink before two drops were able to fall onto my suit-pants!
"I can stand no more!" I shouted, rising to my feet and sending my chair and Nanny toppling away from the table. "One of my most precious little suits has been ruined - RUINED! True, this is partly Nanny's fault as her immense girth prevented her from moving more swiftly, but mostly the blame falls on the shoulders of this consistently inept serving wench! I demand that she be sacked this instance, father!"
"Now, now," father began.
"Throw the simple-minded tart out the door, father!" I screamed. "I demand her service here be terminated immediately!"
"Please no," the serving girl pleaded. "I need this job to help put food on the table for my sickly mother and twenty-eight siblings!"
"You should've thought of that before nearly crippling me with boiling-hot liquid!" I shouted at her. "And before serving me cooked fowl that had not been already sliced into separate bite-sized pieces!"
"Mercy, please!" the girl whined.
"Now, Winthrop," said Father. "What if instead of giving this poor girl the sack, I make sure she is punished?"
"I believe my pride and my wardrobe as suffered too much for that!" said I.
"What if she is punished severely?" asked father.
"How so?" I asked. "Beaten?"
"Uh... yes, beaten!" Father agreed quickly.
"Sacked AND beaten!" I countered.
"I can't beat the girl if I sack her," said Father.
Unfair as that seemed, I suspected it was so. Much as I wanted to be rid of the girl, I did relish the idea of her receiving a sound thrashing.
"Very well," I said. "Flog away!"
"Not NOW," said Father. "We shall get the rest of today's service from her first. Girl, come see me in my chambers following the service of tonight's dinner. You shall receive your flogging then."
Father then winked. I'm sure he meant it as a reassuring wink to me, but he accidentally inclined his head toward the serving wench herself as he did so. Still, he had just returned from a long journey so such occasional mistakes are to be expected.
"Yes, sir," the wench replied, not seeming appropriately worried at all.
After the ordeal I had been through, I needed to immediately retire to my fainting-couch to recuperate.
The rest of the day passed without particular incident. After dinner, I sorted blocks very quietly in the small play-room until Nanny predictably nodded-off in a chair. Once I was certain she was soundly in the realm of the sleeping, I tippy-toed out of the room and toward the kitchen. Something had worried me about the exchange between father and the terrible serving girl, and I wanted to make certain that his natural mercy did not impede father from implementing the punishment the foolish girl deserved.
I waited under the dining-room table until I saw the serving maid exit the kitchen. I quietly followed her from a safe distance until she arrived at father's bedchamber. She knocked softly and then entered before father even had chance to call to her. The boldness of this girl!
I crept over to the doorway and heard the door latch behind her. I could hear father's voice inside, but could not make out what he was saying to her. The silly girl seemed not to understand how much trouble she was in, because I could distinctly hear her giggling! That changed before long, though, and soon enough the beating must've begun, for she began to moan in agony. I could even just hear father grunting with exertion as he delivered her flogging.
I relished the sound of the woman receiving her just punishment. Soon, the beating had grown so severe that the girl began to call out to our Heavenly father.
"Oh God! Oh God!" she yelled.
I needn't have feared Father being to merciful. I was elated that justice was being meted out.
"Give it to her, father!" I yelled toward the door. "Give it to her good!"
At that point the girl must've realized what a terrible servant she had been and accepted that she deserved the punishment, because her next yell almost seemed ecstatic!
"Oh, yes!" she yelled out, clearly aware she was getting what she had coming to her. "Yes, yes, yes!"