Today we paid a visit to Lost Clinkers to see our old friend, the writing master, Benskin.
Benskin teaches fancy and copperplate writing and has improved Goodman's writing skills a great deal.
The scenery on the way to Lost Clinkers is very pretty at first. There are lots of woods, with great purple flowers as big as shields, and some ponds full of yellow fishes, but the nearer you get to Lost Clinkers the uglier it becomes.
Lost Clinkers is really an old deserted gasworks. There are great piles of cinders and rubble and everything is black with soot. There are bluish pools that contain some sort of chemical. You would imagine the place to be really awful but surprisingly the air there is very good and the industrial landscape has a strange beauty all of it's own. The Gasworks has its own railway yard and train-loads of tourists come everyday to enjoy the invigorating air and walk around the desolate landscape.
We had a splendid lunch, in the retort house, including more than twenty bottles of ginger ale and raspberryade. The we walked over some slag heaps to the big reservoir and had a good swim. It was very interesting swimming there because there are great big pipes and iron ladders in the reservoir, and a big iron thing in the middle like a buoy. We all climbed on this and paddled around in the reservoir.
After this we climbed to the top of a rusty iron tower by means of a spiral staircase.
"Oh, Please, Sir, do sing for us again!" begged the Old Monkey. On our last visit to Lost Clinkers I had given my followers a rendition and they were keen to hear my singing again.
As you know I don't like to show off in anyway, praise does so embarrass me, but they all insisted that I favour them with a song so I reluctantly agreed.
"Flowers in my garden grow
Of which gardeners brag;
But the sweetest flower I know
Is a daisy on the slag
"Honour to the daisies
On the slag-heap high;
Let us sing the praises
Till they reach the sky!
"They say the loveliest flowers cling
Beneath an Alpine crag;
But the sweetest flower I sing
Is the daisy on the slag.
"Honour to the daisies-"
The Old Monkey broke down at this point and was led away weeping, but he soon came back so as not to miss anything.
As I finished, loud applause broke out from beneath the tower. "Bravo, Bravo," yelled out a dwarf "Well worth 5 shillings... so beautiful and ethereal."he added. We looked below. A huge crowd of dwarfs surrounded us.
"Allow me to say," said Benskin. "that I have heard the greatest artists, but without any flattery, I should put your singing by the side of that of Signor Maletti of Trieste, and I think the Signor would have to say he was defeated. What a surprise to here such a small sound from such a big personage - so different from your usual thunderous tones."
I must admit I blushed somewhat. But one thing concerned me. I asked the dwarf what he meant by paying five shillings to hear me?
"Why a gentleman in a raggedy suit told us that you would be singing for charity this afternoon and sold us all tickets." he answered and added "I must say it was well worth it - your singing is so fairy-like so.."
"Mincing !" shouted a raucous voice. It was Beaver Hateman.
"What is the meaning of this! " I roared. "Have you duped these poor dwarfs into paying to hear me sing?" I asked - incredulous at the effrontery of Beaver's actions.
"Yep, Cheers Unc - we knew you would not be able to resist showing off again so we thought we could make a bob or two from your wailing!" shouted Beaver.
By the time we had got to the bottom of the tower he and his cronies had disappeared.
The least I could do for the poor dwarfs, who had paid out money to hear me sing, was to perform a proper concert for them. So I sang a number of the most popular songs from my repertoire.
There was, of course, rapturous applause and a loud cheer when I told them that we would lay on a feast, for them all, at the top of the largest slag heap.
I was determined, however, that Beaver would pay for this latest outrage.
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