‘Helium is a bit of a sticky wicket you see. Had you requested Hydrogen that would have been easy,’
Sir Robert had been informed by his chief science officer. The scientist, whom Sir Robert suspected was a man who would struggle to identify the difference between a sticky wicket and a good one, let alone play a straight bat, had gone on to explain that in his esteemed opinion.
‘Hydrogen was in any regard ‘the better choice for the purpose concerned,’ as, ‘It would apparently lift ten percent more weight or allow a ten percent smaller gas envelope’.
There was also the added benefit that hydrogen
‘Can be extricated via relatively simple chemical processes involving oxygenation, which would release the gas.’
While Helium on the other hand, well, getting hold of high quantities of helium was a problem.
‘I would advise you Home Secretary, to inform the party in question of the benefits of Hydrogen.’
This had been the oily little man’s official position on the matter.
Sir Robert, on recite of this advice, had hastily scribbled note to the West residence to that effect, which had invoked a swift reply on scented note paper, in an envelope attached to a small box.
‘Dearest Sir Robert.
Please find enclosed one cigar, kindly supplied by Mr West and an airtight jar.
The jar contains slightly compressed Hydrogen.
Please light the cigar then proceed to open the jar.
Miss Eliza TuPaKa
Having followed the instructions exactly as they were laid out Sir Robert appeared in public clean shaven later that day for the first time in ten years. He also wrote another memo to the Chief Science Officer.
‘I asked for Helium, helium you will supply’.
Sir Robert Peel, Home Secretary,
Overall, he found what most annoyed him was the wasted cigar, being as it was, a rather good Cuban of the type reputed to be hand rolled on dusky maidens’ thighs. That said there was one dusky maiden in particular he determined would at some point pay in the end for the loss of his moustache.
There were somethings that a man cannot forgive, even for sake of Queen and country.
Note: The little story above is from the opening pages of Gothe, the forthcoming book 2 in The Ballad of Maybe’s series