The day started with such promise.
Dawn broke bright and clear and Jack and I set in to a mammoth pre-funereal breakfast. The bacon was crisp, and for once Jack showed remarkable restraint in partaking of only two mugs of Posset.
From there, things took a turn for the bleak.
My Ape came down with the pox. His handler, some noxious little Spaniard, indicated that he could not be expected to either caper or gambol, but was only capable of shuffling about morosely. Worse still, the creature refused to wear the hat I had designed for this specific occasion.
Other matters, of which I had labored on the majority of the week, likewise turned to Ash. Instead of a choir, Jack and I had to content ourselves with a group that only sang madrigals. When I asked them to sing “Alasdair MacColla” they gave me a look like I had horns sprouting from my head. The final straw was that the butterflies, to be released when Patrick’s coffin was lowered into the ground, had all died overnight in their box. The leeches were a difficulty in their own right; they resulted in Jack’s maid paying an morning visit to the Physick.
Furthermore, Patrick’s OTHER friends are asses. I speak not of the Royal Society members, who pawed at the possessions in Patrick’s coffin with Unchristian Envy, but of people I had never met before in my life. Scullys and Maxwells and other such dubious “friends” of Patrick came not to pay witness, but instead to hoot and catcall as if they were attending the theatre.
I must also confess that I also made a strategic error in inviting Odyllia and the ladies of the Unicorn. Odyllia’s eulogy, which I can not bear to repeat, was a thing of tragedy. Suffice to say, she repeatedly referred to Patrick as ‘Philip.’
Jack's method of crisis management was to aggressively drink himself into a stupor. Placed firmly at the threshold of the church, he roundly denounced each guest in turn. It almost came to blows with the Maxwell boy after Jack accused him of being a "lob-headed Welshman." By the time we reached Patrick's gravesite, he looked quite green, and was grabbing hold of his nearest neighbors to pull himself upright.
Just as things had reached their calamitous end, a raggedy figure came trundling down the hill towards the gravesite. He moved at a deliberate pace, arriving only when the motley congregation had let out their final ragged “Amen.” At that moment, his visage became clear.