Song of Trout: eighth Pale Knight
Song of Trout
There is no harm in others underestimating one’s fortitude
Matthew Piers Trout has reason to be sure of it
Sure as he’d known, from school days, loneliness
mutate into priestly hauteur
Mysteries performed behind the darkroom door
Life given purpose, on discovery of the art
He’d known as well, at the first pass—thirteen when
the war ended—he would not be called
But yet the day would come
The authoress had wanted a shorthand-typist.
‘You haven’t the face of a man with a hobby. I ought to hire Lady Newtonmore’s niece. Do you know how many years I scrounged for a publisher? The little upstart tells me she’ll look on it as an apprenticeship. Well, with the aristocracy, it is never a wise thing to burn one’s bridges. But, young Trout, I believe I’ll take you. And then,’ she’d said, Miss Keltenham…after he’d barely got used to her trend of thought, ‘you’ll take me!’
He had. She had come from the hairdresser without her specs, another woman altogether. After that, got testy, when he’d suggested, ‘Here you are putting an adverb between had and been. You do that rather often. Shall I correct them all?’
‘I’ll tell you what. Go down and speak to MacCreasey. He’s brought dull papers to read. A treat for you, lad.’
Months afterwards, going to Colonel Llewellyn’s safety talk, Trout, of all members of his camera club, bore about with him among ordinary shutterbugs, a certain celebrity, for having been hauled up by the collar into possession of this glamourous title…publicity agent.
‘Keltenham. Wife reads her. Bit of a humourist. Now there’s a danger worth putting a stop to, this joking habit. Gives comfort to the enemy.’
He hadn’t explained.
But, of course, the enemy.
(copyright 2018 Stephanie Foster)