19 September 2009

In the Palace Music Room with Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II and His Faithful English Manservant Hives. . .

The recently acquired Flemish-made harpsichord, played by the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II during his more relaxed, lucid moments.

Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II (poised on bench before his Flemish-made harpsichord, picking out chords and singing):

Oh, Prin-cess, Prin-cess Antonia.
Why'd you invade my ho, ho, ho, ho, home-i-a?
With the setting sun,
My men were on the run,
And my sawmill parts on the way
Back to
Vile Stag-oooon-ia.

(Pauses and writes a few lines on the musical score sheet before him with quill pen, and continues).

Oh, Prin-cess, Prin-cess Antonia.
What do you think they'll say in Pruss-ia?
If I'd had hussars,
You'd have been seein' stars,
But all the while I was avoidin'
The state of Mat-ri-moooon-ia. . .

(His voice fades)

Hives (Entering music room with tray): Your late morning tea, Sir.

IA (Stops playing and looks up across harpsichord toward doorway through which Hives has entered): Thank you, Hives. Thank you. Dreadful business all that with the invasion from Vile Stagonia and losing the sawmill last spring.
But at least we were rained out before things got really serious, what?

Hives: (Placing tray on nearby table and pouring cup of tea for IA): Indeed, Sir. It was most unfortunate.

IA: Still, here we are in the palace on a bright, sunny autumn day, and all is once again right with the world, eh Hives?

Hives (Adds copious amount sugar to the cup of tea): It would seem that way, Sir.

IA (Rubs hands together vigourously): And what could Vile Stagonia possibly have wanted with the parts to our sawmill? I mean, do you think it has anything to do all with the Electorate of Zichenau and its apparent feud with us? I mean, they have that dreadful backwater the Duchy of Schleiz back in their clutches. What more could they possibly want?

Hives (Places tea cup and small plate of shortbreads on table close to harpsichord where IA still sits along with fine linen napkin): I wouldn't be so bold as to hazard a guess, Sir.

IA (Takes his cup, takes sip of tea, scalds upper lip, makes face, and replaces cup in saucer): And what could that awful Princess Antonia want? What could be the possible link between her and those Vile Stagonians anyway? (Takes bite of shortbread and crunches it loudly).

Hives (Winces at Grand Duke's lip smacking): While the matter has indeed cause me to lose some sleep in recent weeks, Sir, an answer continues to elude me.

IA (Swallows and dabs mouth with linen napkin. Face shows mild annoyance): Oh, come now Hives. Surely you have some idea about what's been going on between Zichenau and Stagonia with regard to our purloined sawmill. What is it?

Hives: Well, Sir. Since you ask. My guess is that the matter has something to do with forcing a matrimonial union between yourself and the Princess Antonia, and, in the process, uniting the ruling houses of Stollen and Zichenau, which would put the Princess in a highly advantageous position. If you take my meaning, Sir?

IA (Shows slight alarm): Oh, dash it all, Hives! I don't take your meaning. Stop speaking in riddles all the time. What do you mean, man?

Hives: Well, Sir. It is generally well known in certain circles the Princess Antonia has "ties" to a certain General Phillipe de Latte, a mercenary adventurer from France, and. . .

IA (Interrupts Hives): "Ties" you say? What do you mean "ties"??!!

Hives (Continuing): "Ties", Sir. Of the amorous kind. It seems the two have designs on taking over the Grand Duchy of Stollen and then uniting their ill-gotten gains in an unholy alliance with Vile Stagonia, to threaten Frederick's Kingdom of Prussia on two fronts. That is my understanding of the situation, Sir.

IA (Laughs and dismisses notion with wave of his hand): Why, that's preposterous, Hives! Preposterous! I'm surprised at you. Imagine. Taking on the Kingdom of Prussia? Who would ever try such a thing after all of that unfortunate business in 1756-1763?

Hives (Gathering tea cup and empty plate onto try): Nevertheless, Sir. . .

IA (Returning attention to harpsichord): Tell you what, Hives. Pack my bags and have a carriage readied for later this afternoon. Aunt Charlotte has invited me to Hesslich Hall up north for several days, and she wants you to attend as well. Seems there's a matter of a missing silver creamer and the Prussian ambassador, the Freiherr Heinz von dem Salat, that she wants to discuss.

Hives (Turning to leave music room): As you wish, Sir.
Will you want your lobster costume packed, Sir?

IA: No, Hives. Thank you. Better leave that for another time I think. But you can pack my new Alpine hat. You know, the charcoal grey felt one with the green, bottle-brush thingy at the side?

Hives: (Visibly displeased, replies in mildly curt tone): Indeed, Sir. As you wish (Leaves music room with tray).

IA (Begins picking out chords on harpsichord and singing once more):

Oh, Prin-cess, Prin-cess Antonia.
Why'd you invade my ho, ho, ho, ho, home-i-a?
With the setting sun,
My men were on the run,

And my sawmill parts on the way
Back to
Vile Stag-oooon-ia.

IA (To self absentmindedly): Hmm, that's not half bad, that! (Launches into second verse of song again as curtain falls). . .


tradgardmastare said...

Are you and the guys in the band going to do a cover version at the gigs this winter...
How is the Duchess keeping and preparations too?
best wishes

Fitz-Badger said...

Starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Frye, no doubt, eh? ;) (I have the complete Jeeves and Wooster on dvd I love it)

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Yee gods, Stokes... back to the painting table at once, for all love!!! :o)

Ken said...

I dunno, I like it...though I'm hearing Irwin-Amadeus sing in the voice of Levon Helm for some reason (actually, you may take that as praise, if you like).

Giles said...

Eureka should make a harpsichord to go with their forthcoming string quartet - that would be an interesting model to paint!!

Best wishes


John Clements said...

Great fun, Stokes. Thanks for a little amusement in a working day. And a lovely harpsichord too.

Snickering Corpses said...

I detect a strong note of Wooster in this. I see others have as well.


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