Of Headwear and Social Etiquette.
A Perkin Perkins Steampunk romp.
Another social gathering at Buckingham Palace and manservant to the Royal Household, Perkin Perkins, is on yet another hiding to nothing.
“Poopkins,” sighed Her Majesty.
“All my life, Ma’am.”
“Then why change it?”
“I haven’t, Ma’am.”
“Then why did I address you as Plopkins?”
“You didn’t, Ma’am. You addressed me as Poopkins.”
“Are they not the same?”
“Only if you say so.”
Queen Victoria tapped brass fingers on her steel plate jaw. “Then, I do.”
“As you wish, Ma’am.”
“So, Porkins, tell me. Why is that gentleman wearing his underpants on his head?”
“I cannot be sure they are his.”
“And why not?”
“He’s French, Ma’am.”
“Does that explain anything?” The Queen’s eyes blazed ruby anger from behind her owllike goggles.
“The French are very particular. To some they are trendsetters, to others, not. The onus is on the viewer to decide which shoe fits.”
“I was addressing his headwear not footwear.”
“A term, Ma’am. Merely a term.”
“Do we as Britannia’s finest think him a fool?”
“Oh, indeed we do, Ma’am. I can only speak as a humble servant, but I should imagine there anarchy if you were to don such a hat.”
Queen Victoria removed her horsehair wig, scratched at the metal beneath and replaced it at a jaunty angle. “Any ideas, Porkling?”
“I could have him politely ejected, I do speak French.”
“Can you be discreet?”
“Then do it, and don’t return until he’s off the property.”
Perkins bowed low and marched over to the giant of a man in question, his walrus moustache the only feature of note protruding from his underpants headwear. A whisper in his ear, inaudible to all else, and the Frenchman set to gesticulating, as is their way. Once he’d had enough, he allowed Perkins to lead him from the room and away from a hundred prying eyes, the gentry and usual toffs allowing their upraised noses to communicate their displeasure.
Only when long gone did the Chief Scientist of the Ministry for Empirical Advancement, one Sir Magnus Monk, sidle over to his monarch.
“What is it, Monk?” Snapped the Queen.
“We appear to be missing Sir Belvedere, Your Highness.”
“He is too tall to misplace, Master Monk. I suggest you look again. His moustache stands out at thirty paces, so it shouldn’t be hard even for you. And hurry up about it, too. I know he hates these shindigs, but it’s no excuse for non-attendance.”
Sir Magnus sidled off in his Quasimodo way, aquiline nose to the ground and hump raised.
He said he searched everywhere much to his monarch’s anger when he eventually returned. And to be fair, he had. Other than the Palace’s cellars, a cold, dark place where a man with a walrus moustache sat drinking with a manservant, both of whom wore their underpants on their heads.