It was supposed to be a happy day, that Glorious Twelfth, and yet we could not find it in our hearts to even try and look happy. For the portrait, at least. But how could we? Each of us knew Bagby was missing from our renowned Royal Hunting Flush and worst of all, it was permanent. Every single one of our haunting thoughts was painted on our faces: no more trophies, no more running, no more being on top of our five-piece game and no more Bagby. Not in the flesh, anyway. What was left of him was this hat; Trent could not be separated from it. He carried it around for days as if Bagby was somehow attached to it. He wasn’t. If anything, it gave us a sense of his absence.
Madam Gullifer inspected her daughter’s appearance one more time and straightened the sapphire pendant.
“This is it! The most important day for the rest of your life. You have to shine, and beam and radiate. No one will do that for you. Sit up straight, don’t look down, and whatever you do don’t forget to smile. No one likes a sad face, even if…”
“And remember,” Sir Gullifer interrupted. “Intelligence is not encouraged, nor any interest in politics. Know your place, Imelda! And you shall be going places. Now off you go, make the Gullifer name proud!”
In the City of Blinding Nights one family reigns above all…
A Serious Hoot
He took off his hat and hung it by the door.
“I have one demand,” he said. “Not my right side.” Then pointed at a silver-grey line next to his right ear.
“I’m not ready to show my crown of glory just yet. Not in this all-seeing world: a sign of weakness at the least. My image should say bird of night. And this argent, off-putting line makes me look…Shall we say…Conspicuous. At night. And it’s not right, you see? Right! Shall we start? Let me put on my glasses. Do they sit straight?”
Unlike Father Like Owl
Father says being young is a temporary gift. Like the full moon. And not to capture it constitutes a capital crime. His exact words. I tend to agree with Father. Most of the times. To his face at least. Surely there are greater crimes. I find suits to be a crime. And punishment. For one thing they tend to make the young look old. In my defence, I chose this one myself. With Father’s guidance, of course.
A Mother Load of Owl Love
She arrived earlier than planned, but chose to wait outside until my apprentice let her in. I was facing the window when I saw her come through the door. That reflection on the plain, night-stained glass appeared nothing short of a miracle. I could not take my eyes off her pale, royal face. Salient in her devoted beauty, she was fit for hymns of gratitude. The moon covered the vision with an envious glow.