The Philosopher and the Groom.(the story continues from last week’s post The Bride and the Philosopher…and there is a reason for taking it in pieces…not merely the imitation of Dickens but the gradual penetration of ordinary life by the extraordinary…it takes time to be certain that what happened really happened.)
Ok here they are, up against the tiles and about to set foot on the treadmill of life. The scurrying ants crossing the visual screens are blurred into newspapers, rolled umbrellas and a uniformity of purpose and indifference. You must be reminded that this couple had never seen anything like this. Where they came from people still raised their hats, and stopped to pass the time of day.
We have prepared an introduction, a spokesman. Lo he comes. Distinguished, very; tall as a ship carving through a small flotilla he strides through the throng with a beacon of white hair about a foot above the average. He is old in the manner of antique, polished, certain of his course. He is one of us. It is not immediately apparent that he is shadowed by two dachshunds who keep their noses to his heels, like slim beavers. Abruptly he turns and changes direction. He has seen our targets.
He stops before our Groom.
‘Young man, why don’t you love your wife? he asks. It is both a question and a challenge. The Groom recoils.
‘Look…’ he takes the Bride by the ear and uses the ear to turn her head. ‘…have you ever looked at her ears?’
‘I think I have seen them before’ says the Groom sulkily who has decided this man, for all the distinction, is a well disguised tramp and can be brushed away like a wasp.
‘Young man…’ says the wasp, now drawing himself to full height ‘ if you want to know what could give you a full and happy life, meet me outside Swan and Edgars at two o clock’ He does not wait for an answer but strides away followed by the dogs.
Well! He has not once addressed the Bride, or seemingly even looked at her. She is galvanised. The start of the honeymoon has received an injection from our syringe of truth, and while the Groom reels in anger our Bride knows that something of importance has happened. They go up to the street for air, and across the street they see ‘Swan and Edgar’. It stands like the gauntlet glove.
‘Well, says the Groom recovering the necessary amour propre ‘ he is probably nuts. Does he imagine after that we would invite any more of it? He surely does not expect us to meet him?’
‘I don’t think he is a man who expects anything ‘ says the Bride.’ But I shall certainly go whether you come or not…’
Hurrah! We had succeeded in getting her attention. Attention usually builds resolve.
At two o’clock our Ambassador was standing reflected in the glass door, and the dogs asleep at his feet. These are dogs that have to take their few chances.
‘I wondered if you would’ he said as the Bride approached him followed by her own cur. ‘ Follow me’ He turned and walked down Regent Street. At a pavement café, he paused and waited while the waitress brought extra chairs for the dogs. The Groom was spinning the cogs of possible escape. Bride sat down. Groom followed, taking the chair next to his wife.
‘My dear, would you mind? I prefer to sit with my back to the road’. The Bride surrendered her chair. Neatly he had severed man from wife and sat between them. The waitress returned with two bowls of ice-cream for the dogs, and waited to take the order…
(….no of course we don’t mind…that’s the good thing about talking to a book, you can close it and re-open whenever you like… I know concentration is not what it was…and blogging is supposed to be focussed…if you return you may realise that this is, but I believe in making life interesting too… yes it is getting late)