Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clouds of Witness ch 2 cont

“Well, after all,” said Mrs. Marchbanks, “as Helen so rightly says, does it matter? Nobody's really got anything to be ashamed of. There has been a stupid mistake, of course, but I don't see why anybody who wants to shouldn't go to church.”
“Certainly not, certainly not, my dear,” said the Colonel heartily. “We might look in ourselves, eh dear? Take a walk that way I mean, and come out before the sermon.
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of preaching include exposition, exhortation and practical application.
I think it's a good thing. Shows we don't believe old Denver's done anything wrong, anyhow.”

“You forget, dear,” said his wife, “I've promised to stay at home with Mary, poor girl.”

“Of course, of course—stupid of me,” said the Colonel. “How is she?”

“She was very restless last night, poor child,” said the Duchess.

“Perhaps she will get a little sleep this morning. It has been a shock to her.”

“One which may prove a blessing in disguise,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson.

“My dear!” said her husband.

“Wonder when we shall hear from Sir Impey,” said Colonel Marchbanks hurriedly.

“Yes, indeed,” moaned Mr. Murbles. “I am counting on his influence with the Duke.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, “he must speak out—for everybody's sake. He must say what he was doing out of doors at that time. Or, if he does not, it must be discovered. Dear me! That's what these detectives are for, aren't they?”

“That is their ungrateful task,” said Mr. Parker suddenly. He had said nothing for a long time, and everybody jumped.

“There,” said Mrs. Marchbanks, “I expect you'll clear it all up in no time, Mr. Parker. Perhaps you've got the real mur—the culprit up your sleeve all the time.”

“Not quite,” said Mr. Parker, “but I'll do my best to get him. Besides,” he added, with a grin, “I'll probably have some help on the job.”

“From whom?” inquired Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson.

“Her grace's brother-in-law.”

“Peter?” said the Duchess. “Mr. Parker must be amused at the family amateur,” she added.

“Not at all,” said Parker. “Wimsey would be one of the finest detectives in England if he wasn't lazy. Only we can't get hold of him.”

“I've wired to Ajaccio—poste restante,” said Mr. Murbles, “but I don't know when he's likely to call there. He said nothing about when he was coming back to England.”
Ajaccio is a commune on the island of Corsica in France. It is the capital and largest city of the region of Corsica and the prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud.

Poste restante (French, trans. post remaining) or general delivery is a service where the post office holds mail until the recipient calls for it. It is a common destination for mail for people who are visiting a particular location and have no need, or no way, of having mail delivered directly to their place of residence at that time.

“He's a rummy old bird,” said the Hon. Freddy tactlessly, “but he oughter be here, what? What I mean to say is, if anything happens to old Denver, don't you see, he's the head of the family, ain't he—till little Pickled Gherkins comes of age.”
The gherkin is a vegetable similar in form and nutritional value to a cucumber. Gherkins and cucumbers belong to the same species (Cucumis sativus), but are from different cultivar groups.

They are usually picked when 4 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) in length and pickled in jars or cans with vinegar (often flavored with herbs, particularly dill; hence, "dill pickle") or brine to resemble a pickled cucumber.

Why the son of the Duke of Denver is nicknamed Pickled Gherkins is anyone’s guess.

In the frightful silence which followed this remark, the sound of a walking-stick being clattered into an umbrella-stand was distinctly audible.

“Who's that, I wonder,” said the Duchess.

The door waltzed open.

“Mornin', dear old things,” said the newcomer cheerfully. “How are you all? Hullo, Helen! Colonel, you owe me half a crown since last September year."
The half crown was a denomination of British money worth half of a crown, equivalent to two and a half shillings (30 pennies), or one-eighth of a pound. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1967. The half crown was demonetised (ahead of other pre-decimal coins) on 1 January 1970, the year before the United Kingdom adopted decimal currency on Decimal Day.

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