Sunday, 25 December 1994

Noblesse Oblige

Fiction ~ short story
First published in the Windsor Magazine, December 1917
Collected in Fine Feathers and Other Stories, 1994
Approx. 1,900 words
(First read 25/12/1994)

Mrs C is the wife of a retired solicitor living in a 'quaint, huddled, red-roofed little city', a spit away from "Dear old [Hatchings] Castle!  What a lot of delightful memories swarm into my mind when I see it!"  Needless to say, her memories of being entertained by the noble Hatchings family owe more to imagination than fact.  But lo! noblesse obliges on this occasion, saving Mrs C's face when she's invited to a garden party at the Big House.  An anecdotal and insubstantial tale of a narrowly averted social gaffe arising from a case of mistaken identity, but diverting nonetheless. 

Mrs Coplestone was chiefly remarkable for her large stores of opulent reminiscences, which bore no very close resemblance to the facts on which they were so insecurely founded.
She lacked the fearless irresponsibility of the more magnificent sort of liar, and when you blew off the copious froth of her memories, there was always some minute sediment of truth at the bottom of the glass, which did not fly into the air like the rainbowed bubbles which overlay it.

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