Thursday, July 28, 2011

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 20: "Wolverington"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo *

illustrated by rhoda penmarq and konrad kraus

*Ass’t Professor of Classics and Elocution, Olney Community College; editor of No Place Like Nowhere: Selected Early Poems of Horace P. Sternwall (1936-1941); Olney Community College Press.

Contrary to what nearly everyone thought, Lord Wolverington was in fact legally entitled to the term of address “Lord”, being the 25th (and last) Baron Wolverington, but he could never go back to England, no, not after being cashiered from the 5th Royal Horse Guards for conduct unbefitting an officer in 1914 (something involving a French farm lad and a bottle of absinthe on the eve of the first Battle of the Marne),

not after selling off the family lands acre by acre to pay his gambling and legal debts, not after finally losing the familial manse itself in a game of whist in 1922 (his old school friend “Poof” Smith-Jones had written him recently to inform him that the present owners had turned the old pile into a “country inn”; the ground floor front was now a pub, complete with jukebox and pinball machines, whereas the big hall had been turned into a dance hall, complete with a traditional jazz band),
not after that terrible scene at Pratt’s in 1927 when Wolverington’s special chum Lord Messingham fell or jumped or perhaps even was pushed out of the window of the steward’s quarters to his untimely death impaled on the spiked railing below on the pavement of Park Place.

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