Thursday, 22 July 2010

Friends in low places 4

Mrs Crabtree allowed her maid, Edie, the morning off. The whole village would be at St Botolph’s for the wedding and Mrs Crabtree thought it would both educate her and remind her of her place.

Sir Heston Blissett was marrying the Honourable Cynthia Butterwick; they were the shire’s most eligible couple. Edie had for a time served as an upstairs maid to the Butterwicks, followed by a sojourn with the Blissetts before Sir Heston offered her to Mrs Crabtree, a cousin of sorts, in the weeks leading to his marriage.

So, on a gorgeous summer’s morning, in a packed St Botolph’s, Major Butterwick gave his daughter away, with the County looking on in fervid admiration.

“If any man knows of any just cause or impediment why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, may he speak now…” rumbled the Reverend Smiley.

“Please Vicar, I do,” came a diffident voice from the last pew.

There were gasps and mutterings. The bride-to-be blanched, her porcelain complexion now chalky. Sir Heston turned with fire in his eyes. The Major’s monocle hit the flagstones. Lady Blissett sat heavily enough to cause her stays to squeak.

“What is the meaning of this, child?” the Reverend’s voice was cold.

“I’ve attended Miss Butterwick in her bath a great many times, Vicar, “offered up Edie helpfully, “And I have to say she is not blessed with a comely appearance below.”

“What are you saying, girl?” bellowed the Vicar. As the bride-to-be pulled her veil back over her face and collapsed into her father’s arms.

“Well, Sir Heston said I had the prettiest part he ever did see,” Edie continued to discharge her religious duty, “And I should hate his wife to be a disappointment to him.”

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