“So, I said to her, I said to her, blue parasols are sooo passé. So last year. Only the lower orders go for blue parasols. You’re not much better than a milkmaid in your Sunday best if you carry a blue parasol around with you. So common. Well, I said it so loud she turned and fled red-faced and hasn’t dared to show herself here at Eastwick Towers again. Everybody who was there who saw and heard it thought it frightfully entertaining.” And with that Fanny dissolved into rather undemure laughter while her good friend and confidante, Jane, applauded her for her cutting-edged wit and prettily voiced cruelty.
It was at that moment that Mr D’Arcy presented himself to them both with his cheeks flushed and a little dappled with perspiration.
“Well, hello, Miss Fanny and Miss Jane, what splendid luck to find you both here. I confess I am rather ebullient in my sentiments today for I have just published my own pamphlet to sell to the good people of London. Pray take a look and tell me if it is to your liking.”
Mr D’Arcy forthwith inserted his glossy looking tome into the hands of the suddenly quivering ladies.
“Oh I say, what a jolly funny name,” said Fanny. “Put It In Your Pipe And Smoke It.”
“Indeed.” Replied Mr D’Arcy. “It has a certain ring to it and reflects my own personal viewpoint. It is merely my own opinion which thanks to the laws of this great and noble country, I am at liberty to express freely.”
Fanny began flicking through the pages and suddenly her face paled and fell. She looked suddenly distressed. “Oh Mr D’Arcy how could you? You have written a piece here attacking the red parasol. How could you be so brutish and cruel when you know I am never seen without a red parasol.” And with that Fanny waved aloft her parasol which was indeed red.
“Oh my.” Stammered Mr D’Arcy. “Madam, I had no idea you carried a red parasol, truly I didn’t. Besides my piece does not attack your parasol specifically only certain red parasols generally. And, at the end of the day, good lady, as my disclaimer clearly states, the views contained within this publication are purely my own personal opinion and are not meant to be authoritative.”
“Tish tosh.” Said Fanny. “That makes no difference to my case. I feel personally slighted therefore the slight is real and I have been most certainly slighted. What you have written there, sir, is slander and defamation and infamy. You have slandered my good name by my known association with red parasols in bold print, sir, in your infernal publication, and it causes me upset and hurt. Every court in the land will surely see it so.”
Mr D’Arcy composed his face a little after this outburst and strove to speak calmly and measuredly. “Come, come, Miss Fanny. Consider this: you yourself not two minutes before reading my pamphlet did speak uncivilly about blue parasols. Indeed you recounted how you sent the owner of a blue parasol packing with your cruel barbs ringing about her ears and you did so in full view of witnesses and furthermore have recounted the story to Miss Jane thus exacerbating the damage done to this anonymous lady’s name. You have made your views and opinions public in a manner which also caused hurt and upset. Is this also not slander and defamation and infamy? I wager every court in the land will most certainly see it so.”
And turning upon his heel forthwith Mr D’Arcy made his excuses and left Eastwick Towers for, despite the transparency and glassiness of its walls, the occupants within were wont to throw stones with appalling regularity in order to not be able to see their own reflections staring back out at them from the glass.