The Lexus, sleek and shimmering in the darkness, inched majestically along Stokes Croft. Momentarily arrested by the lucorum mutandum junctioning Ashley Road, it took its sussurant repose upon the camber opposite the steaming windows of Bar Wanque, whereupon Sir Hearty Luncheon’s gaze chanced to settle upon certain vey desolate individuals smoking angrily on the pavement.
“What a thing is a man,” he murmured, vey faintly, “Australopithecine, one supposes. Positively exuding cant. I never did bear the cant.”
“Those gentleman are officers in the Unauthorised Enema Squad, Sir Hearty,” said from in front Mr Jagtar Singh, who somewhat reluctantly kept himself au fait with such particulars.
Sir Hearty leant back upon the naugahyde plush, whence emanated in response a sigh of ineffable bliss. There ensued a silence, whilom the Harbourside David de Rothschild digested this new intelligence. Beside him, Sir Gerald Inhali masticated with studied unconcern a slim volume of post-theory.
“From time to time,” opined at length Sir Hearty, “one finds oneself prompted - put under the necessité de moeurs, even - of revising one’s initial prognoses. Indeed, upon the present occasion in particular, one finds oneself obliged to withdraw a certain epithet acknowledged to have been infelicitous. The personages upon the pavement are to be accorded their dignity, if it be perhaps, in view of a certain roughness of manner which they have about them, more properly as honest yeomen rather than as gentlemen. Nevertheless, they are most certainly not, let it be known, australopithecine.”
A further silence, the awkwardness whereof being substantially mitigated by Sir Gerald’s venting, not unhappily, a post-theoretical eructation.
“Cant successfully avoided then,” murmured at length that other garter snake Sir Ezra Tertiary-Syphilis from the bucket seat opposite.
“Quite so,” said Sir Hearty, “I never did bear cant, and would not wish myself to be the originator, howsomever inadvertently, of solecism of so egregious a variety.”
“I meant, of course, Gerry’s little burp,” said Sir Ezra rather off-handedly, “very neatly executed, I thought. Nothing escapes his mouchoir.”
“God no,” chuckled Sir Gerald whilom inwardly wincing, “although I have to confess that the theory theory theory repeated on me. Rather tough on the old oesophagus, wotwot.”
Sir Hearty Luncheon disclosed by his silence that he considered the foregoing proceeding, thus explained, adequately free of the marks of cant, and as such to be borne on his own part.
Tandem mutantes luces, the Lexus nosed forwards into Cheltenham Road. As it purred past … er … Squattocrat Heights and swept left up Cotham Hill, Sir Hearty Luncheon found that his thoughts turned from the unbearable cant of titled bohemians, and dwelt more upon the continuing indisposition of Lord Handjob, whom they were presently visiting in a vey discreet sanatorium in Westbury-on-Trym.
The entire episode had been utterly provoking. That he should have found himself being addressed - in person - by that ghastly little man from the trauma cleaning service. Quite unconscionable. What was it to him if Lord Handjob and his personal therapist chose to defecate all over the inside of the executive jet? Such matters fell quite beneath his consideration. He had made abundantly clear his susceptibilities regarding the bearing of cant.