Sunday 18th December 2011
The first days at the fortress
MUCH as I would disregard the time spent as the guest of Isobel Luthers, I feel obliged to present more details, dear reader, of the recurring dilemma that prolonged my stay in custody.
The pattern was set from the moment I arrived.
A line of seven or eight figures waited by the main entrance to the mansion, one of whom stepped forward to introduce herself. I ignored the severe Isobel’s attempt to greet me.
“I wish to return to the home of my friend Jenny.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think that will be possible.”
And I turned away, intending to walk back down the long, narrow road, but was stopped, of course, by the uniformed figures who had come with me in the cage. So I sat down on the ground and waited… until Isobel ordered a chair be placed before me, as if making a gesture of sympathy.
I sat thereupon for about an hour – during which time two of her staff took over the sentry posts, enabling the cage and its crew to depart – before declaring that I was in need of a drink and agreeing, with a pout, to accompany my hostess into the house in order to partake of some refreshment.
As the reader will appreciate, my truculent behaviour did little to enhance my standing with Isobel, her staff or any of the many chieftains, inspectors and officials, who, at various times, came to meet, observe, examine, or interrogate the exhibit, specimen or creature being held – for its own safety, apparently – under the protection of the Guvver Munt of the united King Dumb.
Back and forth went the pendulum of arguments, suggestions and proposals; up and down went the tempers and temperatures of visitors and visited; round and round went the hands of the clock, as voice after voice tried to convince me to accept that the only action available to me was to behave as they would have me behave and abandon my ‘unhelpful attitude’.
In these tedious circumstances, I came to rely more and more upon the companionship of my guard and guide, Frances.