Barely six years old, Arrabella Fordyce-Mainwaring was the darling of the First Class lounge and indeed of the entire SS Gloriana, sailing majestically out towards Rangoon, bearing amongst her passengers Empire builders, administrators, military men and wives and well- bred sybarites, with people of lesser station at a suitable remove. Arrabella’s golden curls, angelic blue eyes and engaging lisp brightened every one’s day and put a smile on the face of even the most grizzled seadog. The only person on board not enchanted by her was Reginald Ormsby-Wallerton. He’d arrived at Southampton with apparent glandular fever and was immediately quarantined in the ship’s sickroom. It soon became apparent he was in fact suffering from acute alcoholic poisoning, (and, in the ship’s doctor’s view, extreme moral turpitude). Three weeks later he was delivered, pallid and disconsolate, to his stateroom. He cheered up immediately on realising his convalescence meant he’d made no inroads into the trunk full of brandy he’d brought along against the vagaries of room service. He set to, diligently, to make up for lost time.
They were now cruising through balmy days in the Indian Ocean. On the First Class deck Arrabella, in the cutest of sailor suits, was dancing a diminutive hornpipe and trilling a sea-shanty, under the doting regard of all present. Sailors had stopped to gaze captivated at her darling performance; tally clerks and similar lined the steps up from Second Class to listen.
Ormsby-Wallerton arrived on deck to take his first ruminative breath of sea air. He ignored the crowd of gawpers, but noticed something unpleasant bobbing about him at knee level. It was hairy and nimble and making some ghastly racket. Automatically, he seized it by an extremity and heaved it over the guard rail into the ocean below.
"That’s quite enough of that.”
-Dear readers, wherever you are, I apologise for the hiatus in posting these tales of despair and lost false hopes. The hard disc of my computer commited suicide and I had lost all my files, thanks to Zoly now I recovered them and now we can and will continue posting periodically. All the best. Oscar Grillo