27 March 2007
The Riddle of the Runaway Romanov
March 27th, 1856
The day began much like any other. That is to say, it started with the morning.
I was busily waxing my moustache when I heard Botter return from the shops, where he had been sent to purchase essential items for the house.
I finished off styling my proud whiskers, then hastened downstairs to the drawing room.
“Ah, my lord,” said Botter, emptying the contents of a bag onto the table. “I have done the shopping.”
“Good show, Botter. I trust you got everything on my list?”
“Everything, your lordship. Everything, except one item.”
“Then I fail to see how that can be classed as ‘everything’, Botter, you wretched buffoon.”
“Oh, right. Well, they didn’t have any lubricant, my lord.”
“Hmmm. No matter. I’m afraid it’ll just mean this evening will leave you felling rather more sore than usual, Botter.”
“I understand, my lord.”
“Now, to more important matters – did you purchase today’s newspaper?”
Botter proudly flourished a news-sheet before my eyes, beaming proudly as he did so.
“Botter, please wipe that stupid grin from your face, or else I shall be forced to remove it myself, using my sword.” I snatched the paper from him, and adjourned to the comfort of my chair.
“Will that be all, my lord?” Botter asked.
“Hmmm? Oh, could you prepare me my morning whisky, Botter? Then you are free to do whatever foul and unmentionable activities you usually occupy your awful self with.”
“Very good, milord,” said Botter, and he scurried away.
I opened up my copy of The Daily English News, and began reading. It was full of the usual garbage, the proletariat robbing and killing each other, members of the government caught engaging in sordid acts with prostitutes, old men dying of old age….then one article caught my stately eye, and made me rise out of my chair in excitement. Unfortunately, at this point Botter had returned with my whisky, and my sudden elevation had caused the drink to be spilt all over his shirt.
“Botter!” I exclaimed. “There is adventure afoot! The Russian ambassador to Great Britain, Ivan Romanov, has apparently vanished without trace, not ten feet from his own embassy! The police are, according to this article, ‘stumped’. I think this sounds like exactly the sort of mystery I should like to solve. Botter…we are going to the capital! Immediately! Just after I have had my morning whisky!”
I set eyes upon my dampened servant.
“Hmmm…Botter, I do not recall asking you to wear my drink. You shall fix me another beverage, then I shall beat you for spilling the first one and THEN we shall head for the capital.”
“Very good, milord,” muttered Botter, and he squelched off to the kitchen.
I sat back down, contented. A delicious glass of whisky, the chance to administer a severe thrashing to my useless man-servant AND an adventure?
This was turning out to be a glorious day indeed.
- Lord Likely.