|At the Club-2
The Home and Colonial Club, (Not its real name, but I don’t want to risk a Libel action.), was the last refuge for the men who had put the “Great” into Britain. It was a Member’s Club and was run by a committee. The Club leased the building for a peppercorn rent from its shadowy owner.
Between you and me, Rajah had bought the freehold just after he had made his sudden arrival in Blighty. Raj was entranced when he saw the building. He thought it a gem and well worth a ruler’s ransom which was what he paid for it. But that’s another story.
Membership was up to its limit in a few months. Raj had sent out one of two sorts of letters. One said that “In recognition for your services to the Empire you have been elected to the club. Fees will be waived for the first year.”
The other said the “The Club Membership Secretary was sorry to have to inform you that though your name had been put up for membership you had been “blackballed”. However you could make a formal application to join the club (Form attached.) and we will sympathetically consider your case.”
The chaps were sat round the Club’s High Table. The normal gang, in their usual places and of course Raj was enthroned at its head. Thursday was “School Dinners’ Day”. The main course had been scraggy mutton stew with cabbage and stodgy grey mash. As they waited for afters, Raj started off on one of his monologues.
“Next Wednesday is the Club’s 25th Anniversary. Membership is held at a thousand and the Membership Fee is a very reasonable £1,000. Of course the fee is reduced for cases of social hardship or as recognition for services rendered in the cause of Empire.
We are renowned for our charitable acts, I mean during the Great One we were able to pay for a Dreadnaught. That was the late “Squiffy’s” idea; throughout his life he’d had a soft spot for sailors.
Yet some members have the temerity to complain. I mean the club is manned by my “Gherkins”, good chaps but bloody awful cooks. I shall have to send them on a “Kukri” class. The British Empire was built on good sound eating habits. Look at the French Johnnies, all that Gordon Blue or whatever and if it hadn’t been for us, the old Bosche would have been in Paris by Christmas.
Now the Bosche, I take my hat of to them, they could teach us a lesson about sensible eating. I believe that the “Wind of Change” that Bismarck yapped on about was powered by sauerkraut and that fizzy “temperance” drink they call Lager.
Could you imagine what England would be like if we all drank Lager. No, it’s too horrible to imagine. Nothing can beat a good flat cloudy warm bitter for slaking the thirst.
Now where was I. Oh yes complaints, I’m sorry but I can’t agree about the Fees. They’re just right and we’re not increasing them because the chap that owns the place might just put the rent up.
I mean if money was the only criteria we’d wind up with all those recently deposed Monarchs that come racing over here with Crown in one hand and the National Treasury in the other.”
He added with a delicious leer,
“And we mustn’t have too many of them must we?”
He was saved by the afters, Jam Rolly-Polly Pudding with oodles of lumpy custard. This would be seen off by Brandy, Cigars and Camp Coffee.
Footnote-Camp Coffee was one of the first “instant coffees”. It was a black oily liquid and sold in bottles that carried suitably martial labelling.
(only the first draft and needs work on it.)