Monday, October 27, 2008

The Secret Diary of Major Squick 1

Over on another site, I was suggesting British Authors for the benefit of some curious colonials. As it happens, just as I was suggesting a series on a 19th century cavalry officer, some unpleasant scenes in Iain (M) Banks books were described as Major Squick.

This reminded me of a volume I'd picked up in an old map shop[1] glanced at, and then stuck into the "to read" mountain. I ran and looked, and it was indeed the diary of Major Squick, who seems to have gone out to India after committing some sort of act that barred him from polite society in England in the 19th Century. It's not easy to read, so I'll probably only post it a little at a time. Here is the first excerpt, originally published here:
12th M__ 18__

Had a visit from Captain V__ and Mr S__. S__ seemed surprised that I had two umbrella stands - one the foot of a gorilla, the other the hoof of an elefant. V__ found the gorilla stand distasteful. Perhaps it is just as well he did not see the furniture in my private study.

S__ tells me that rumours of that dreadful affair at Lady M__'s that led me to seek my fortune in the East Indies have followed me here. The Vicar's Wife had been sent to her Aunt's for a rest cure. It seems she left her Relative's house on the Moors (by the pantry window) and made quite a scene of herself in the village. The young man involved has gone for a soldier and is now in Bombay where he has been spreading wild stories.

V__ told me a most entertaining story about The Bishop, involving a Eunuch, a Famous Actress and her Punkah-Wallah. It seems the Actress had...

(Page becomes illegible)

S__ is right tobe surprised; it's peculiar that Major Squick would have even one umbrella stand, let alone two. This is, after all, the British Raj; umbrellas come with a servant to carry them, they disappear with the servant to be dried and reappear when you make it known that you're going out. Does Major Squick have visitors that the servants know nothing about, or does he just like to show off umbrella accessories? Hopefully this will be addressed in future entries.

[1] "You can have that for 50p", said the owner, after I'd spent far too much money on maps of the German Pacific Colonies and the Republic of Gran Colombia. I haven't been able to find that shop again.

No comments: