Friday, June 26, 2015

at the club

a drizzly november day.

old baines, who was no longer as young as he once was, had somewhat neglected the fire, but sir gerald hardly noticed, engrossed as he was in an article in the gazette about an uprising in the chilean back country.

sir gerald was reading the account with keen interest, as he had a fair amount invested in some copper mines in the threatened area.

in the corner of his eye sir gerald noticed sanderson, the club bore, approaching.

sanderson, in his usual fashion, took the seat nearest sir gerald, without speaking, but fixing his prey with his enormous sad brown eyes.

sir gerald knew that it was no use ignoring sanderson, as he would speak, eventually, after what he regarded as a proper interval.

“look here!” sanderson finally exclaimed.

“yes?” sir gerald did not look up.

“it’s the damnedest thing!”

“what is the damnedest thing?” sir gerald enquired politely.

“i have the damnedest time shaving in the morning!”

“you do not say so.”

“i have indeed.” sanderson touched a spot on the left side of his pale face, just above the jawline. “i have a patch here - right here - where the charge must be returned to again and again before i can get my whiskers clear.”

“perhaps you need a better trained valet.”

“valet! ah - i wish i could afford a valet. but in times like these - with the markets as they are, i have had to economize - a sad thing to admit, but it is so. i can no longer afford a decently trained valet.“

sir gerald turned his page in the gazette with a forceful snap. “the markets are indeed volatile. especially in south america.” he finally turned his gaze on sanderson. “do you have investments in south america?”

“i only invest where the union jack flies.”

“ah. a prudent course.”

“i have always followed the advice of the late lord morseby - to only hunt where the rain falls, and only invest where the british flag flies.” sanderson shook his sad head. “but as i was saying - as i was saying - “

“yes? as you were saying?”

“it’s this damned face of mine. and shaving in the morning. sometimes i feel as if a curse has been placed upon me.”

“perhaps you need a sharper razor.”

“that may be. that may be! but where to find one?”

“the czechs are reputed to make fine razors.”

“you do not say so?”

“it is what i have heard. they are said to be the most expert in europe for all things pertaining to iron.”

“indeed! superior even to the germans?”

“so i have been told.”

“eh?’ sanderson pondered. “perhaps the czech gentleman have particularly stout whiskers - stout whiskers - and this has caused them to develop a sharper razor. what do you think?”

“that may well be,” sir gerald answered with a shrug.

“well. it is worth thinking about at any rate.” suddenly changing the subject, sanderson asked, “what is this you are saying about south america, eh?”

tapping his gazette, sir gerald gave sanders a brief précis of the situation in chile, and its effect on the copper market.

“the devil you say!” cried sanderson. “the devil! someone should take these rascals in hand - round them up - round them up and hang them all. no nonsense!”

“perhaps easier said than done, “ sir gerald replied.

“not at all. not at all. just needs a bit of push. a bit of anglo-saxon push, none of your damned gauchos lying about in the shade.”

sir gerald did not reply, but neatly folded the gazette and placed it on the table beside him.

sanderson, as if exhausted by his outbursts, leaned back in his chair. “damned rotten weather, eh? looks like we are in for some rain.”

sir gerald glanced toward the window. “i believe it is already raining.”

sanderson followed his gaze. “why, yes, so it is. so it is indeed.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015


by alice marston sternwall

amanda was a solemn child - her nurse
oft found her wandering barefoot in the fields
sad victim of an ancient family curse
against which truth and beauty were no shield

such times with farm folk would amanda speak
and quest them on the symbols in the skies
and though her speech was most exceeding meek
no comprehension glowed in her pale eyes

the nurse, a hawkfaced old frenchwoman stern
with little patience and less charity
to no avail could make amanda learn
that naught was gained by talking to the trees

the trees, the rocks, the running streams, the clouds
were all recipients of amanda’s words
although they never answered her aloud
unlike her truest, dearest friends - the birds

anon upon a rock the old dame sat
and left amanda to her babbling cries
the verdant meadow spread its welcome mat
a hive of life whose buzzing never dies

all unrecorded went amanda’s dreams
vanished like dew upon the sun warmed grass
like bubbles in the slow meandering streams
like sunbeams in the long days as they pass