Well the Queen had a three day celebration for her Diamond Jubilee and what’s good enough for Her Majesty is certainly good enough for me. Today we begin by making a little piece of history. King George IV of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover, the first ever reigning monarch to blog.
Parties. Used to excel at them, unlike HM Old King whose idea of entertainment was three hours of Handel, scrape, scrape, wheeze, wheeze. One finds them rather wearying now. Getting shaved and powdered, then selection of waistcoat and neck-cloth, etcetera. Exhausting business, and dispiriting. Nothing flatters the figure, unless viewed in a slenderising mirror. We order new coats and the damned tailors so scrimp on the cloth every seam is strained. Shoes pinch too. Can’t dance anyway. Short of puff. Tapping doesn’t help. Surgeons all imbeciles.
Literary Occasion, apparently. How the literati must rejoice to have a monarch who reads. We once gave Miss Austen permission to dedicate a novelette to Us. Strange creatures though, writers. Often stooped and pallid. Not without danger, however. Hidden claws. They offer very little by way of conversation but they’re all the time noting a person’s character, to take it away and make it an object of ridicule.
Tempted not to attend. Breeches too tight… greatly regret… no public engagements until further notice. To hell with literature. Send the barber packing, dismiss the chamber groom, order a bottle of cherry brandy and a roasted chicken. One is King, after all.
His Majesty may find it useful to read on. The Quack Doctor – whose excellent novel, Kill Grief, I commend to you – called by earlier today with some advice for bibbers and topers.
Means of Restoring a Drunken Person
Advice from the Medical Adviser, and Guide to Health and Long Life
As the paroxysm of drunkenness is sometimes so excessive, as to produce apoplexy, the following is useful:—Let the patient be placed in a chair, supporting his head, and then administer a wine glass full of the best vinegar, rubbing his temples gently with a little of the same. If the good effect be not seen in ten minutes, other means must be employed. If the patient is in the first stage of the fit, that is, if his face is red, and his skin hot, let him be stripped, and have a pail of water showered on him from three feet above his head. This may be repeated three or four times. If this does not produce a full effect, give thirty grains of ipecacuanha. Let it be particularly observed, that if the eyes are fixed, and red, and the breathing difficult, to send immediately for a surgeon. Should the patient be in the last stage, namely, paleness of countenance, and cold skin, use no cold water, but content yourself with rubbing his temples and nostrils with vinegar, and give the ipecacuanha as above, with warm water or tea. In cases, where, from bravado, madness, and the like, a great portion of strong spirits is suddenly drank, and the person as suddenly falls senseless, every means must be tried to get a quart or two of warm water (or cold, if warm cannot immediately be procured,) tea, coffee, milk, or even weak beer, so as to dilute, as soon as possible, the spirits taken; also the ipecacuanha as directed above. If the patient vomits the contents of the stomach, then there are hopes of recovery. He should be put to bed, and whey given in considerable quantities, at short intervals, for twenty-four hours.
Of all my guests Nellie Buzzard proved to be the most elusive. I’ve been pursuing her ever since she escaped fom the pages of A Humble Companion and finally caught up with her in Kensington last week. She is, I believe, just about ready to slip back between the covers of the book, but before she does she has this to say….
When Mistress Laurie Graham first offered me a book party I thought I should decline. I’ve spent quite enough of my life as a wallflower, interesting though it is to watch people displaying their tail feathers. A party always puts me in mind of the aviary in a travelling menagerie. There are the Party Pigeons, who bow and bob and gobble up whatever falls their way: crumbs of recognition, leftover opinions, morsels of gossip. And there are the Party Hawks, who perch above the crowd looking very fine but always with one beady eye watching for the arrival of larger, tastier prey.
With the Royalties, you know, one is obliged to stand unless commanded to sit, and that order that may not come, if at all, until after several lengthy concertos. Varicose veins and fallen arches are the painful lot of a Royalty’s poor forgotten retinue. But then I discovered that things are done rather differently in the 21st century.
‘You can be seated,’ Mistress Graham assured me. ‘In fact you can stretch out on a day bed with your hair in curling papers and jot down acid observations. No-one will see you. No-one will be any the wiser.’
I don’t care for some of the advancements I’ve seen during my visit to 2012 – everyone seems to be a servant nowadays, constantly summoned by bells and messages, and they carry their cups of coffee through the street. I suppose they have no tables to sit at in their houses. Also, I find the milk has no taste and the bacon has no fat. But a party at which one is invisible. That is a very great improvement indeed.
W hich just about winds things up, except to say that those who lurk but leave no message have absolutely no chance of winning the strawberry truffles. Zero. Zip.
Thanks to all who’ve contributed and attended. It’s been great fun. Same time next year? And let’s close with a song. No, it’s okay, I’m not going to sing. Take it away, Noel.