Here's episode two at last :)
REPORTER: Little pig, little pig, can I come in?
FIRST PIG: Who’s that?
REPORTER: Colin Millar, Sunday Times
FIRST PIG: Not a wolf?
FIRST PIG: Promise?
FIRST PIG: Sure, come on in.
REPORTER: So, why did you choose to build your house out of straw?
FIRST PIG: Well, I’ve never built a house before, certainly not one designed to withstand wolf attack, but I have read a lot of stories. And in stories it’s always the youngest brother with the humblest approach that wins the day
REPORTER: And that’s why you didn’t go for twigs, or bricks?
FIRST PIG: That’s right. Anyone who’s read a story knows those stronger houses will be destroyed, and only my humble straw house will defeat the wolf in an unexpected way
REPORTER: Like what?
FIRST PIG: I dunno. Hayfever?
REPORTER: I see, well - good luck
REPORTER: Little pig, little pig, may I come in?
SECOND PIG: Of course, welcome
REPORTER: So why did you choose to build your house out of twigs?
SECOND PIG: Well, I’ve never built a house before, but I have read a lot of stories, and in stories it’s always the compromise between the two extremes that wins the day
REPORTER: So that’s why you didn’t go for straw or bricks?
SECOND PIG: That’s right. Anyone who’s ever read a story knows the straw will be too weak and the bricks will be too strong
REPORTER: How…will the bricks be too strong?
SECOND PIG: I dunno. Subsidence?
REPORTER: I see. Well, good luck
REPORTER: Little pig, little pig, may I come in?
THIRD PIG: Yeah, but what’s wrong with the doorbell?
REPORTER: Oh. (rings doorbell) Nothing.
THIRD PIG: Right, in you come then
REPORTER: So, why did you choose to build your house of bricks?
THIRD PIG: ….because it’s a house?
REPORTER: Right, and that’s why you didn’t go for straw or twigs?
THIRD PIG: Well, that didn’t even really cross my mind.
REPORTER: Right, well, I’ve spoken to your brothers, and they both say that in stories-
THIRD PIG: Yeah, well I’ve never read a story, but I have seen a lot of houses. And they’re usually built of bricks, so…I’ve built this house out of bricks
REPORTER: Aren’t you afraid the apparent stability of the bricks makes them all the more at risk from a narrative twist?
THIRD PIG: …No. Are you afraid of that with your house?
THIRD PIG: Well then
REPORTER: So you’re sure the wolf won’t be able to blow your house down?
THIRD PIG: …blow it down? What, with his breath?
REPORTER: No, I just-
THIRD PIG: Look, basically what I’ve done is…build a house. Robert has built a kind of ethnic hut, which is nice. I don’t even know what Ethan thinks he’s built, an art installation? I mean, never mind a wolf, he’s in trouble if it rains. This is a house. Well, it’s getting late, the wolf will be here soon. Are you off?
THIRD PIG: I thought you might want to stay with one of the other guys. With their “narrative protection”
REPORTER: Actually, if it’s alright I might stay here
THIRD PIG: Well, blow me down.
ANNOUNCER: RAF Corfe Mullen, Top Secret Air Ministry Research Station, June the 3rd 1940.
WING COMMANDER: Prime Minister
CHURCHILL: Wing Commander. I trust you have good news for me
WING COMMANDER: I hope so, sir. If you’ll follow me.
You’ll be aware, sir, that we’ve been putting out the story that our fighter pilots are on a strict diet of carrots, and the resultant Vitamin A boost is improving their eyesight and allowing them to see in the dark.
CHURCHILL: Yes, rather childish nonsense, isn’t it?
WING COMMANDER: Of course
CHURCHILL: And are the Germans falling for it?
WING COMMANDER: No, sir. No, we think that they have discovered that this is merely a cover for Mr Watson-Watt’s experiments with electro-magnetic waves, the so-called “radar” system.
CHURCHILL: Indeed. And are they falling for that?
WING COMMANDER: Well, sir, as far as we can tell - we think they are.
CHURCHILL: Excellent. Whereas the truth is…
WING COMMANDER: The truth, sir, lies behind these doors
(opens doors, cats miaow)
CHURCHILL: Ah, a room full of cats, just as I thought.
WING COMMANDER: As you thought, sir?
CHURCHILL: What other explanation could there be? Suddenly our crews can inexplicably see in the dark? To the thinking man there is but one explanation - clearly you are training cats as navigators
WING COMMANDER: You’re a great man, sir, and we’re lucky to have you. Yes, sir, we are. After all, we have long used dogs in the military, cats are not only far more intelligent but have exceptionally good night sight. Let us give you a demonstration. Chovers!
CHOVERS: Uh, yes, sir. Hello, sir
WING COMMANDER: Bring me Flight Navigation Officer Sooty
CHOVERS: Right away, sir. Here he is, sir
WING COMMANDER: Put him through his paces, Chovers
CHOVERS: Yes, sir. (unfolds map) Alright, Sooty. Don’t let me down, old chap. Church with a spire.
SOOTY: Miaow (places paw on map)
CHOVERS: Church with a steeple
SOOTY: Miaow (places paw on map)
CHOVERS: Well done!
CHURCHILL: May I?
CHOVERS: Uh, please
CHURCHILL: Bridal path permitted for public use
SOOTY: Miaow (places paw on map) Miaow (places paw on map) Miaow (places paw on map)
CHURCHILL: The Krupp Munitions Factory near Essen
CHURCHILL: Well, can’t he do that? That’s what we need!
CHOVERS: Well he can, sir, but -
WING COMMANDER: It is the one drawback, sir. we’re used to working with dogs, of course. And dogs love us and want us to do well. Cats are indifferent to us and don’t care if we die. So we have to keep a constant reward system in operation. Chovers, rub the navigation officer’s tummy
CHOVERS: Yes, sir
CHURCHILL: But this is ludicrous, man! We can’t have our pilots breaking off a dogfight every ten minutes to rub the navigator’s tum-tum
WING COMMANDER: Actually, Prime Minister, we’re not calling them “dogfights” anymore. It does seem to be paying off, sir. And so tomorrow night, Prime Minister, we would like, for the first time, to send a Spitfire squadron into action against the enemy, navigated entirely by cats. Do we have your permission, sir?
CHURCHILL: I suppose so. What do you call this method, by the way?
WING COMMANDER: Feline navigation system, sir. Or, for short, CatNav
CHURCHILL: Good job
PRESENTER: This week I’m talking to Andrew Wilson, Professor of Biogenetics at the University of York, and tireless champion of the Theory of Evolution. Good evening
WILSON: Good evening. If I may though, the fact of evolution - it’s no longer considered a theory
PRESENTER: Perhaps not by you…
WILSON: Not by any competent authority. Those who contest it are either under informed or willfully ignoring the evidence. The proven scientific fact is that almost all life on Earth is the result of cumulative change resulting from random mutation of the genes
PRESENTER: Almost all?
WILSON: That’s right, yes
PRESENTER: You mean there are exceptions?
WILSON: Not significant exceptions, no
PRESENTER: But there are?
WILSON: Yes, but the overwhelming-
PRESENTER: I’m sorry, I’m going to have to press you on this - what are the exceptions?
WILSON: Yes, I think God probably made the hummingbirds. But that’s all!
PRESENTER: Why hummingbirds?
WILSON: Well, look, a scientist must take each case on its merits, free from prejudice. And I have to admit that hummingbirds…. Have you seen one? They’re amazing! They beat their wings eighty times a second. They can fly backwards! They can’t have just happened by accident, so in this extremely unusual case the most credible explanation is that they were formed by a superhuman creative intelligence.
WILSON: Well you can call it what you like…
PRESENTER: Can you call it God?
WILSON: Yes. But, look - this is the exception that proves the rule
PRESENTER: The rule that God doesn’t exist?
WILSON: Look, what I believe - what I believe is that the overwhelming majority of all life that has ever existed came about by the blind application of natural selection upon replicating entities. All God did was make the hummingbirds. And Elizabeth Roberts.
WILSON: My granddaughter. She happens to be the other exception
PRESENTER: God made your granddaughter?
WILSON: Yeah, I know it’s a coincidence, I know. But as a conscientious scientist I have to record that when my daughter recently gave birth it was immediately obvious God had come out of retirement to try to top the hummingbirds
PRESENTER: How can you tell?
WILSON: You just have to look at her. Her little chubby feet alone rule out the possibility she randomly descended from a pre-Neolithic hominid like the rest of us did.
PRESENTER: And Elizabeth is the only exception - you never felt this way about your daughter, for instance?
WILSON: No, no, the hominid explanation works fine for her.
PRESENTER: So, now you’ve discovered all this, Professor, what next?
WILSON: Well, I’m publishing a new book in the autumn: “Intelligent Deceit, The Tyranny of Superstition”, and I am founding a very small church.
PRESENTER: How small?
WILSON: It’s basically a Wendy church.
QUESTIONING MAN: Ah, Monsieur Voltaire, est-ce vous?
VOLTAIRE: Oui, monsieur, c’est moi, Voltaire. Bonjour!
SIMON KANE: Are we doing this whole sketch in French?
VOLTAIRE: Assuredly not!
QUESTIONING MAN: Are we doing this whole sketch in outrageous French accents?
VOLTAIRE: Assuredly mais oui, bien sur! Permit me to introduce to you my friends. This is the quick tempered Comte Guy de Lombard, the finest swordsman in all of France, and a man who’s accent is if anything even more outrageous than our own.
DeLOMBARD: Charmed to make your acquaintance, monsieur!
QUESTIONING MAN: Dieu, I see what you mean
VOLTAIRE: And this is my English friend, Mr Simon Kane. Who does not want to do the outrageous French accent
SIMON KANE: I just think if we’re doing the voices we should do them pr-
VOLTAIRE: And hence will be getting no more lines!
SIMON KANE: Oh come on-
VOLTAIRE: Silence! Now, mon ami, what can I do for you?
QUESTIONING MAN: I am not your ami, mon ami. I wish to know if it is true that you once said “I do not agree with what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it.”
VOLTAIRE: Yes, that was one of mine. It is a phrase most elegant, n’est-ce pas?
QUESTIONING MAN: No, n’est-ce pas at all! I think it is a vain and foolish boast, and you would never actually do it
DeLOMBARD: What? You question my friend’s honour to his face? I have killed men for less!
VOLTAIRE: Peace, Guy de Lombard! Monsieur, I do not agree with you when you say that I would not defend to the death your right to say something I did not agree with. But I would defend to the death your right to say it.
SEVERAL: Oh, thank you.
QUESTIONING MAN: Alright, Monsieur Voltaire. I say someone should stab you to death
DeLOMBARD: This time you go to far, you insolent puppy! Take that back or prepare to die
VOLTAIRE: Peace, Guy de Lombard! Our friend is entitled to his view.
DeLOMBARD: I am sorry, Voltaire. But now I have challenged him my honour will not allow me to back down, he must die
VOLTAIRE: Then you will have to kill me first!
DeLOMBARD: …that would be stupid
VOLTAIRE: None the less, I will defend to the death his right to say someone should stab me to death.
DeLOMBARD: I don’t want to fight you, Voltaire, but I will. And remember, I am the finest swordsman in all France.
VOLTAIRE: Oh yes. So you are. Well, bof. Uh… It would be quite a silly way to die, would it not? Very well, on this one occasion, philosophy must make a concession to pragmatism. You two sort it out between you
DeLOMBARD: Wait, wait! You’re going back on your word? You’re not going to defend him to the death?
VOLTAIRE: In this one case most exceptional…no.
DeLOMBARD: But, that makes him right about you. So I have challenged him wrongfully and brought shame upon me for defending you, miserable dog. Honour demands we must duel, prepare to die! (draws sword)
VOLTAIRE: What? Alright fine, I take it back, I will defend him to the death!
DeLOMBARD: Ah, there speaks my noble old friend. Prepare to die! (draws sword)
FRENCH MAN: And so we say farewell to our friend Voltaire who died, as so many Frenchmen do, in a freak philosophy accident. A tragic loss made perhaps yet more tragic by the cruel irony that Voltaire never actually even said that.
FRENCH MAN: Yep, it’s a common misattribution. It was actually said by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
JF: Well I never
FRENCH MAN: Yeah. Also this is what a proper French accent sounds like, so
PILOT: Alright, chaps, let’s take the old crate up for a spin, see if we can’t bag ourselves a Jerry. Ready, Archie?
ARCHIE: As I’ll ever be, sir
PILOT: Ready, Lofty?
LOFTY: Yes, sir
PILOT: Ready, Mr Pickles?
PILOT: Then tally-ho. Right, turn on the CatNav
ARCHIE: Mr Pickles, where to?
PILOT: Left it is, tally-ho!
WING COMMANDER: So you see, sir, it all started terribly well
CHURCHILL: So what the hell went wrong?
WING COMMANDER: Well, as far as we can tell, sir…the cats didn’t realise they were going to be shot at
WING COMMANDER: Yes, it seems that came as a surprise to them and, well, sir…have you ever squirted a cat with water?
CHURCHILL: I have, Wing Commander. It didn’t like it, not one bit
WING COMMANDER: No, sir. Well it seems they like it even less with bullets, sir. And so we now have Spitfires landed in trees and garage roofs all over Switzerland
CHURCHILL: Ye Gods, the whole squadron?
WING COMMANDER: Yes, sir. Well, except for one that didn’t even get as far as Germany and is currently following a mackerel trawler around the North Sea
CHURCHILL: And what the hell are you planning to do about this?
WING COMMANDER: Well, we think we can recover the planes, sir. And then, one of our lady boffins has a plan
CHURCHILL: You have lady boffins?
WING COMMANDER: Lovely lady boffins, sir
WING COMMANDER: Lady Boffin! Step in here, please
LADY BOFFIN: Good morning, Prime Minister
CHURCHILL: Eugh! I thought you said you had lovely lady boffins?
WING COMMANDER: Oh, yes. Uh, Lady Boffin, take off your glasses
CHURCHILL: Ah. Ooh, yes
LADY BOFFIN: This is my plan, sir
WING COMMANDER: Lady Boffin, glasses back on, please
Yes, what have you done about these damn scaredy cats?
LADY BOFFIN: A two-pronged strategy, sir. Firstly we’ve modified the flight controls and trained the cats to actually fly the planes as well. That way we need never risk another human life in the air.
CHURCHILL: But dammit, if they’re alone in the aircraft surely they’ll just fly off somewhere safe and comfortable. Nowhere near the Germans
LADY BOFFIN: Hence my second prong. I suddenly realised, sir, that the cats simply saw all humans as the same. They had no idea of the ghastly fight we’re in. So I put them through a series of films and lectures outlining, in simple, cat-comprehensible language, the nature of the Nazi menace
WING COMMANDER: The cats were appalled, sir. Lady Boffin was quite right. They had had no idea what they were fighting against. They’re all lined up outside now, sir, ready and eager for the fray.
CHURCHILL: Oh, you now want me to let you launch a squadron of Spitfires navigated and piloted solely by cats, yes?
WING COMMANDER: Yes
LADY BOFFIN: Yes
CHURCHILL: Well, why not - after all, I am very drunk
SINGER: Where’ve they gone, all the days of summertime? Who can find, last September’s rose? Where’ve they gone, all the snows of yesteryear? Where have they vanished to, where’ve they gone, do you suppose?
COMPUTER: File not found: “days of summertime”. Invalid search: “last September’s rose”. Address unknown: “all the snows of yesteryear”. Please check your spelling, or else search for “other snows”.
SINGER: How can I once more return, to my youth?
COMPUTER: Please wait. Database updated, search initiated…your route can’t be calculated
SINGER: Where’ve they gone?
COMPUTER: Not in this directory
SINGER: Who can find-
COMPUTER: Unfulfilled request
SINGER: Where’ve they gone, all the girls I used to know?
COMPUTER: Unknown recipients, message failed at this address
SINGER: Is there a point to human strife? Or is it all simply absurd?
COMPUTER: Finding file: “the Meaning of Life”.
A fatal error has occurred
BOTH: Please check and retry
RADIO MAN: And now on Radio 4 it’s time for The Archers, the way it sounds to people who don’t really listen to The Archers, but you know, sometimes it’s on. And there’s a new arrival at the Bull, which doesn’t mean a baby, it just means someone’s come in.
(John Finnemore sings the Archers theme tune, sort of)
JOLLY MAN: Hello, look who’s turned up again
WOMAN: It’s one of the men who always sound tired
TIRED MAN: ‘fraid so, like a bad penny. Hello, one of the men who always sounds jolly, and one of the cosily wry women, which is all of them, except two
JOLLY MAN: Hello. I dare say you could do with a drink
TIRED MAN: Well, I wouldn’t say no
WOMAN: You look like you’ve been in the wars
TIRED MAN: Yes, it’s been a bit of a hectic week
JOLLY MAN: Here you are. And it’s on the house if it turns out I own this pub
TIRED MAN: Thanks. Ooh, that hits the spot
JOLLY MAN: You look about ready for that
WOMAN: I reckon he’s earned it, too
TIRED MAN: Do you know, I think I have, at that
WOMAN: So, what is it you’ve been doing so tiredly?
TIRED MAN: Well, I’ve just come from helping Andrew do the costings and financial breakdown audit spreadsheet remittance return for that box he wants to put down
WOMAN: Andrew wants to put down a box?
TIRED MAN: That’s the plan, yes. It’s a shoebox, I think
WOMAN: A shoebox? Well, I wish him luck. I must say, I never really saw Andrew as a shoebox-putting-down-er.
TIRED MAN: I don’t know, he seems really keen on it. He cleared a place on the kitchen table for it weeks ago
WOMAN: A box on the kitchen table? Well, I’ll believe that when I see it
TIRED MAN: He seems serious about this one. But of course this is The Archers, so first he’s got to cost it out, and draw up a financial plan, and visit the bank, and clear it with the council, and the EU. And of course his brother has had his eye on that bit of the kitchen table to put a roll of Sellotape down. So you can guarantee that any time you accidentally listen to this in the next six months, we will all still be going on about Andrew and his sodding box
(John Finnemore sort of sings the theme tune)
RED: My friends, there isn’t much food, God knows, but there is enough for all of us. And when we scrabble for it between us we demean ourselves before our oppressors. So this time, when our food is contemptuously thrown to us, we will not fight for it, but with dignity we shall each, in turn, take a piece, until it is fairly divided. In that way we will all eat sufficiently, and we will show our captors our unity, and our power. Agreed? My comrade in blue!
RED: My comrade in green!
RED: My comrade in yellow!
RED: And I, your comrade in red. Very well then, I hear them approach. Remember, one at a time
CHILDREN: Three, two, one, go!
RED: Oh, my poor friends. They cannot help themselves. They are such hungry, hungry hippos.
CHURCHILL: Well, Wing Commander?
WING COMMANDER: Uh, not great news, sir
CHURCHILL: Let me guess. Despite your high-minded lectures, the moment they got in the air the cats all flew straight off to hide in the Bahamas.
LADY BOFFIN: Uh, no, sir
WING COMMANDER: No, it’s worse than that, sir. They defected to the Germans
LADY BOFFIN: Yes, sir. You see, it turns out that the Nazi message of territorial expansion, cruelty, and the triumph of the strong over the weak - that’s pretty much the philosophy of cats as a species. They were rather cross they’d been fighting against it
CHURCHILL: You’re telling me - cats are Nazis?
WING COMMANDER: It does look that way, sir, yes.
CHURCHILL: So. Not only do the Germans have our cat technology, they also have a squadron of our Spitfires, piloted by our cats, ranged up against us
WING COMMANDER: I’m afraid so, sir. Sorry, sir. But all is not lost. We’ve been talking to the Navy, sir, and we’ve developed a rather exciting counter measure. First, we fill a submarine full of owls
CHURCHILL: I love it!
JF: Well, since you ask me for a tale of mysterious deaths, and a witch’s curse, I will tell you a tale of those two things. Though obviously I’ve slightly given away the twist.
I was weekending with an old school-fellow, know to me as Charlie, but to Debrett’s as the Duke of Kent - a trap for the unwary this, incidentally, for it is of course pronounced as if it were spelt Wim-bim-king-sim-sham, whereas it is actually spelt “Kent”. Many is the grammar school parvenu who’s fallen foul of that little test. And paid for it, or course, with his life.
My host had implored me to treat the place as my own, and I was therefore employed in demolishing the East Wing, which was blocking my sea view, when Charlie asked to speak to me.
CHARLIE: Ah, Finnemore. I wonder if you would keep the twelfth of next month free
JF: “Why of course“, said I. “What is the occasion? A bean feast, or a bun fight?”
CHARLIE: Neither, sadly. I’m afraid I have feasted on my last bean, and fought my last bun. The twelfth will be my funeral
JF: “Good God, man!” I ejaculated - which is an old-fashioned word for exclaimed, as you know perfectly well. “Whatever can you mean, are you sick?”
CHARLIE: Not I. Why only this morning I swam the English Channel, punched a Frenchman on the nose, and swam back just for sport. No, I’ve never felt better
JF: “Then what in the world is this morbid talk of funerals?”
CHARLIE: Well, Finnemore, would it surprise you to learn, I wonder, that the Dukes of Kent…are cursed?
JF: I considered the question. “I think it would have done if you’d just come out and said it.” I replied eventually. “But now I don’t think it will, much.”
CHARLIE: Well, we are cursed
JF: “Oh my God!” I shouted, for I fear I have always been terrible at gauging how surprising things will turn out to be
CHARLIE: Yes, I’m afraid so. For generations now no Duke of Kent has lived past thirty-nine. My great-grandfather, for instance, was killed in a hunting accident when someone foolishly gave the fox a gun. My grandfather - killed on the very eve of his fortieth birthday by a runaway train. My father was also killed on the eve of his birthday, and not only that -
JF: “If you tell me,” I interjected, “that he too was killed by a runaway train, I shall faint dead away with the shock.”
CHARLIE: Yes, he was
JF: “Oh, really?” As I say, I really am terrible at surprise prediction
CHARLIE: But not just any runaway train. The selfsame runaway train that killed his father
CHARLIE: Yes, it was never recaptured. It escaped to live wild on the moor, only returning every so often to steal some coal, water and passengers and kill one of my ancestors
JF: “But why are the Kents so cursed?” I asked
VICAR: I believe I may be able to answer that
JF: …said a voice. We turned, and beheld an elderly gentleman whose dog collar, surplice, cassock, vestments, wide-brimmed hat, clerical trousers and vicar’s socks told me he was either a vicar, or a non-vicar in fancy dress. Of one thing I could be sure - he was not a vicar in fancy dress
VICAR: Forgive my intrusion, I am a passing vicar
JF: “I knew it!” cried I
VICAR: I’m just on my way, you see, to a fancy dress party I’m attending
JF: “I didn’t know it” cried I. “Where is your costume?”
VICAR: Why, I’m wearing it. I am attending in the character of an Abyssidian Adda Baptist, whereas I am of course a Non-Conformist Gideonite. But, leaving that aside, I believe I have the key to the riddle
JF: Intrigued, we begged him to continue
VICAR: eh? What are you doing that for?
JF: …he said in some confusion
VICAR: What made you think I wouldn’t continue? I was just about to continue. I only stopped continuing to listen to you two begging me to continue
JF: Chastened, we asked him to continue continuing, but promised not to beg him to do so
VICAR: That’s better. The trouble began, sir, with the first Duke, your great-great-great-great-great-grandfathe
JF: “I see,” said I, “and how do you come to know so much about it”
VICAR: Oh let’s just say I have…a long memory. Heheheh!
JF: “I’m sorry, I don’t get it”
VICAR: Nothing. Heheheh!
JF: “Oh, unless you mean you are the spirit of the witch taking corporeal form in order to gloat over her next victim”
VICAR: What? Why would- Why would you- How’d you-
(fluttering noise as vicar becomes witch)
WITCH: Oh, bloody hell, how did you know?
JF: “Well you made it pretty obvious, didn’t you, all that “hahaha” business. Very witchy”
WITCH: I’m not a witch. Weren’t you listening? It’s just the first Duke was desperate to burn someone. When he couldn’t find anyone practicing witchcraft he widened the definition to any ugly women who owned a cat. And when he couldn’t even find one of those, he made the women of the village have a beauty contest. First prize was a night with him, last prize was a cat. I won the cat.
CHARLIE: But look here, is there nothing I can do to lift the curse?
JF:…said Charlie, rather tactlessly, I thought
JF:…cried the hag
WITCH: My implacable vengeance will forever fall on all who bear the hated name of my murderer, the Duke of Kent!
CHARLIE: Kent? No, no, I’m the Duke of Kent. It’s just spelt Kent
WITCH: Oh? Really? Well, well this is embarrassing. Very well, the curse is lifted from you, and I shall seek out the real Dukes of Kent, wherever they may be found!
And with that, she vanished, and sure enough Charlie lived to see his fortieth birthday, and indeed to have a long and happy life. Until just last year, when at the ripe old age of eighty five, at home, in his own bed, he was peacefully killed by a runaway train.
But there is a postscript to this story. And I think you will agree it is the most astounding and shocking circumstance of the whole affair. That same evening, returning exhausted to my room, I happened to glance at the calendar, and realised that all of these curious events had taken place on no other day than…Tuesday. I really am terrible at gauging surprises. Goodnight!
In that last sketch I felt I had to spell it "Kent", since it is explicitly stated that that's how it's spelt. But to minimise confusion I made it bold when it was pronounced "Wimbimkingsimsham". So that's what's going on there
For those who don't know (I didn't): "Debrett's" refers to Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, a book which gives a "genealogical guide to the British aristocracy" (hurray for Wikipedia)
And a "parvenu" is "a relative newcomer to a socioeconomic class" (Wikipedia again) - in this case, the upper class
As before, please do point out any mistakes you notice, however minor :)