1. Diary of a gentleman, New years day 1920

by Dan

I breakfasted lightly on buttered crumpets, lambs kidneys (devilled) and chicken livers (broiled) washed down with the new type of tea from America that comes in bags and not a pot.

The inbibations of the previous evening, the last of an accursed decade, were still playing ragtime in my head, with cymbals provided by Jenkinson’s noisy attempts to clean my best glassware.

Curse the man and his infernal tinkering, would there be no peace for the wicked?

I sent for alka-seltzer and Rum with lemons, a rejuvenation technique that has never failed me and cast my mind onto that other great remedy, the lovely Daphne; Heiress to the Bougainville millions, flight of my wildest fancies and the only girl who is a worthy match for me. I needed see her forthwith and propose.

I chose a suit of cream flannel, my bearskin coat and straw boater, however frowsy one feels there is no excuse for dowdiness.

At a little after 11 I was ready to depart.

“Would sir like me like me to call him a cab?” asked Jenkinson, I waved him away with a waft. Jenkinson had become a minor irritant to my mood with his silly fussing, I resolved to let the clumsy oaf go upon my return, I couldn’t let Daphne the Divine clap eyes upon such an unseemly manservant.

“Thank you Jenkinson but I shall walk or take the tram!” I responded before sweeping out onto Gloucester Road without a backward glance.

In the end I believe that I was borne aloft by a zephyr of love all the way to her flat in Brompton Street. The new decade lay waiting and with Daphne at my side, I could conquer the world. If the twenties were to roar then I would be their chief lion, Remembered for a hundred years or more for my glorious deeds!

I swept up the stairs and bounded into her drawing room expecting to see Daphne as usual surrounded by those foolish swains who received her every word like drops of nectar from the heavens, but she, and they, were nowhere to be seen. Furthermore a platoon of porters in green uniforms were transporting her large collection of exotic birds via her lift which I’d forgotten existed. Her maid, a brainless fool, but harmless, was standing in the centre of the room with a pile of envelopes.

“Where’s your mistress?” I asked.

“Oh sir” she replied handing me an envelope “She asked me to give you this?”

I opened and read the typewritten note.

“Dear Jerry,” it read (My name is actually Jeffrey but no matter), “I have decided to marry someone else and emigrate to America. Please don’t try to contact me, declarations of undying love are such a bore when unwanted! zedzed! Toodlepip!! D x”, scrawled beneath was a hurried PS. “BTW, I forgot to say my new surname shall be plain old Mrs Jenkinson, me? Marrying a commoner? What larks!”

I returned home having utterly failed, in my misery, to put two and two together. There I discovered that the blighter had not only stolen love from my life and joy from my soul but also a box of my best cigars and my favourite cape.

Alas, my prospects for the new decade are now distinctly uncertain.