24 January 2008
The Disturbing Dilema of the Disappearing Diamond
Mr. Harry Flashman, my man-servant Botter and my fantastically fabulous self made quick on our collective legs, and dashed off to try and escape the oncoming police, who had been alerted to our presence by our fantastically furious bout of fisticuffs just moments before.
As we sprinted through the bustling aisles of the Crystal Palace, I mused upon the fact that I seemed to spend a great deal of my time fleeing from the police, more often than may be expected of a man in my exalted position. I wondered if one day I would be rewarded for my services to the police force, in keeping them so fit and healthy throughout the years.
“Look! Over there!” cried Flashman, pointing to a large crowd assembled around one of the many exhibits in this Great Exhibition. “I reckon we can shake off the peelers if we join that crowd! What do you think, your lordship?”
“Capital idea!” I found myself agreeing. Sometimes, moments of great peril can somewhat cloud one’s judgment, it would seem.
Nevertheless, we dove into the throng of gawking faces, and made our way to the front of the crowd to better avoid detection. As Botter and Flashman faked interest in the nearby exhibit, I kept an eye out for our pursuers. Surely enough, mere moments later, a couple of police-officers appeared. They came to a stop rather too close for comfort to our present location, and stood looking this way and that in complete befuddlement.
“I’m sure they went this way, sarge,” said one of the officers, scratching his head.
“Well, where did they go then, Hopkins?” asked the sergeant, evidently frustrated with his lack of progress in apprehending us. “Did they disappear into thin air, Hopkins? Maybe they slipped between the grills of one of the drains, hmmm?”
“That’s a thought, sarge,” replied Hopkins. “They could be down in the sewers underneath right now, making their escape!”
“I was being sarcastic, you dolt!” cried the sergeant, slapping Hopkins about the body with his hat. “Bleedin’ hell, how on Earth did you ever become a copper, Hopkins? Was everyone else out of the country at the time, eh?”
“Officers! Please!” interjected a third man, whom I instantly recognised as being the Queen’s personal assistant, the self same toss-rag who had been instrumental in seeing my noble form carted off to the cells earlier in the day. “We must find these felons right away! Her Majesty’s Great Exhibition must not be disturbed! Get to it at once, or mark my words I’ll have your badges for this!”
The weaselly old coot prodded the officers back into action, and I watched with growing satisfaction as the three fellows scurried off in freezing cold-pursuit of their men. I let out an audible sigh of relief as they left.
“‘Ere, mister. What d’ya reckon to this diamond? It isn’t as good as I was ‘oping,” piped up an awful, common old crone standing next to me.
“What?” I snapped, then I realised that we had come to a stop by a diamond being exhibited for the first time on these shores, hence the fevered excitement among the assembled proletariat.
“I mean, it’s quite big, I suppose, but it ain’t all that shiny and sparkly, is it?” continued the woman.
“Oh?” I scoffed. “And I suppose you have a bountiful array of diamonds back in your wretched hovel, have you? Do you perchance own dozens of unique gems pertained from the far-flung reaches of the globe, proudly on show in your filth-sodden mud-hut? Maybe you’ve got the Regent Diamond on display upon an upturned crate in the middle of your rat-infested lounge, next to your other treasured, priceless artifacts? Hmmm? Does the Orlov sit atop your grubby little mantle, next to a shockingly tacky porcelain clown and a poor-quality photograph of your slab-faced mother? Honestly. You commoners are such a frightfully ungrateful bunch, you know. I mean, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert put on this fine exhibition for you all, and all you can do is waltz in here, reeking of piss and cheap cider, picking holes in everything you see. Well, madam, in light of your beguiling lack of respect for Her Majesty, I should like to take my belt off to you, and lash you firmly about the -”
“She’s got a point, your lordship,” Flashman interrupted, just as I was approaching the apex of my furious rage. “This diamond is a bit…shoddy, you know. “
“What?” I barked. “What is all of this talk about shoddy diamonds? Here, let me see it!”
I elbowed my way through the assembled wretches, as I made my way to the front. There I found Botter, regarding the diamond much like one might regard a dog-dropping smeared on a sandwich. I pushed him out of the way, and beheld the gem on display before me.
I have seen a lot of diamonds in my time, as you would expect of one who lives in such opulence and luxury as I do. Indeed, I did, for a while, posses a diamond-studded cock ring, until the ring itself snapped during a particularly vigourous bout of intercourse with Lady Muphdyver, back in ’45. Alas, I lost the ring for ever more up milady’s quim, but on the plus side I was able to auction off Lady Muphdyver at Sotheby’s for tens of thousands of pounds. I believe that even to this day, she still has the most valuable vagina in the entire Empire, excluding Her Majesty, of course.
On a curious side-note, I believe the practice of having one’s cock-end pierced in such a manner has become known colloquially as having a ‘Prince Albert’, after His Royal Highness. Whether getting a cock-ring is named after him because he has one or is one, I cannot say. If he does indeed own such an article, then it a wonder that Her Majesty can sit on the throne at all.
Anyway, I digress. Upon clasping my eyes upon this particular diamond, I had to concur with the vile old bag and Mr. Flashman; the gem did not seem to have any fire in it, no shine. It was possibly the dullest rock on the planet, not including Guernsey.
“It says it’s the Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” said Flashman, indicating to a sign affixed to the display. “I”ve seen the Koh-i-Noor many a time1, your lordship, in all sorts of unexpected places, believe me. An’ that, that ain’t it, or my name’s not Harry Flashman.”
“Are you trying to say that this is…a fake?”
“Well slap my todger and call me madam, then we have a mystery!” I cheered, my mood brightening. “I must say, it is about cocking time.”
- Lord Likely.
In Memoriam: This adventure is written in tribute to George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman books who died last week, aged 82. It is not intended to infringe upon any copyrights, but simply to pay homage to Fraser’s excellent work as a writer.
For more about Fraser and Flashman, read Mr. Andy Fanton’s article ‘Flash Men and Likely Lords‘.
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Other places of interest:
His lordship’s glorious group, The Upper Crust