News from Bath

Young Cainy Ball, back from a week's malingering in Bath with a "felon" - a whitlow, or inflamed finger-tip to the rest of us - which kept him off work at the peak of haymaking in Weatherbury.

Cainy has, we hear, seen Miss Bathsheba Everdene, out and about with our old friend Sgt Troy. I'm starting to think, if you live in Wessex, there's only so much fate you can dodge. On the bright side, Fanny Robin is safely ensconced in Shepherd's Row. On the down side, all that our brutality has achieved would appear to be a hastening of the elopement.

Somewhere in the empty skies, there is a hollow laugh. And the longer I stay here, the less I can remember who that universal humourist is.

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