Monday, 15 July 2013

Downturn Abbey

[Previously on Downturn Abbey: Lord Eton found out his banker cousin had lost him almost a million pounds and he would henceforth be only the third wealthiest billionaire in the country. He told his butler that all the staff’s wages would be reduced and everyone downstairs must learn to tighten their belts.]

Butler: Your papers, M’Lord.

Lord E: What depressing news have we today? I see my stocks have risen by a measly 7%. I’m afraid we have to cut back further, Tompkins.

Butler: As you wish, M’Lord.

Lord E: Tell the staff that they will be limited to one meal a day from now on. And this winter, we can’t afford to heat their quarters, so they should save up to buy some thicker clothes.

Butler: Anything else, M’Lord.

Lord E: The party Lady Eton and I are hosting next week, I want it to be a more lavish affair than ever. It wouldn’t do for people to think my position is in any way diminished by my cousin’s buffoonery with my investment portfolio. So make sure we have absolutely the most expensive wine, and the finest caviar. And arrange for the London Symphonic to play in the garden.

Butler: I’ll see to it straightaway.

Lord E: Before you go, Tompkins, tell me, do you think the birthday present I picked out for Dame Elizabeth Crompton is too common? I dare say she must have a fleet of yachts already.

Butler: Would you like me to cancel the order?

Lord E: No, we can give the yacht to Miranda when she graduates next year. But what shall I give Lizzy instead? Oh I know, book her on one of those ghastly space tours to the moon. It’s absurdly costly, I’m told, and something so vulgar would be just her cup of tea. What’s the matter, Tompkins, you don’t approve?

Butler: I wouldn’t have an opinion about such things, M’Lord. Forgive me, I was just remembering a news story I heard on the wireless this morning.

Lord E: Well, do tell.

Butler: It was about a butcher who terrorised his family. He made his ten children do all the work, but while he had a luxurious life with the money he made, and enjoyed the best cut of meat, he kept his children locked up at night in a cold dungeon and only threw them scraps every now and then to keep them from starving to death.

Lord E: Tompkins, that’s a tall tale if I ever heard one.

Butler: How so, M’Lord?

Lord E: If there were ever such a butcher, his children – and you said there were ten of them – would simply have to get together to give him a good beating, kick him out and end his petty tyranny. Isn’t that right, Tompkins?

Butler: Never a truer word spoken, M’Lord.

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