Saturday, 15 November 2014

What disapproving item should a lady of means, who is predisposed to thoughts of social justice, send to a supporter of Gamergate?

What disapproving item should a lady of means, who is predisposed to thoughts of social justice, send to a supporter of Gamergate?

In her ongoing column – The Parson's Hassock - Lady Margaret Seacombe is compelled to forgo a formal nine-course dinner at Kensington Palace, and must instead meet the terms of her community service order by answering the interminable inquiries of the common folk on matters of etiquette in the 21st century.

Lady Seacombe successfully removed a rootkit from my ageing PC using nothing more than good manners, a half-spent tin of Beecharms Furniture Polish and the family duster that my distant ancestor captured from the French in 1083AD. I am forever in her debt and have awarded her five stars and the freedom of Cambridgeshire.”

- Lord Julius Anderton.

Dear Lady Margaret Seacombe

I write you this letter having reached the end of my wits, for I am beset with a most vexing problem:

Recently a gentlemen - a Lord no less - by the name of Milo Yiannopoulos has taken residence in the stately home at Netherfeld Park. He is very much enamoured by the social opportunities his new domicile affords him and has, along with his numerous male companions, become a regular attendee at the dances that are held by families of note in the area.

Lord Yiannopoulos is, on the surface at least, a most eligible bachelor. All of the women who are of age, including some already in wedlock, swoon at his passing and squabble in a most unbecoming manner for his attentions when his back is turned. I find myself alone in regarding the aforementioned gentleman as wearisome and disagreeable in terms of his aspect and demeanour.

While quartered at Lucus Lodge during inclement weather I stumbled by accident into the servants' chambers where I overheard a whispered conversation between a pair of scullery maids concerning Lord Yiannopoulos, the scandalous details of which I will now relay: One party in the exchange made it known that the high born women were wasting their efforts in the pursuit of the newly arrived gentleman who is “an enthusiastic participant in Gamergate and will therefore likely foster no great interest in the activities of the fairer sex.”

Having undertaken further research on this matter it is now my firm belief that Lord Yiannopoulos and his co-conspirators intend to banish the female gender en-masse from the spirited games of Whist that are currently partaken in by both sexes. Thereafter this pleasurable activity shall become the exclusive province of gentlemen, who (again according to the participants in the overheard conversation) “favour as an appetiser thick meaty sausages in preference over dainty oysters.”

As an expression of my disgust I began to anonymously send Lord Yiannopoulos small tokens of my displeasure.

I embarked upon this course of action with a delivery comprising 90 bales of high quality toilet paper to the gates of Netherfield Park, having first taken care to remove our family crest from the seal of each roll. The hidden meaning of such a gift was barely-veiled so as to be immediately obvious to all save the dullest of wits: “Sir, it is my dearest hope that you will soon succumb to dysentery.”

When this offering went unacknowledged I dispatched a further offering whose meaning was no less transparent that that which had proceeded it: A hypodermic syringe containing a concoction of rosewater. The intended symbolism: Even the most fragrant of roses (myself) may be in possession of the sharpest of thorns (the needle point).

As before, the arrival of the package was passed over without comment. In the face of such heedlessness I felt no recourse other than to stoop to the basest of the insults within my repertoire: I instructed one of the groundsmen at Longbourn to kill a small rodent of their choosing and have it dispatched immediately under cover of darkness to Netherfield Park.

It was with this token that I hoped to convey that the women of Hertfordshire are untroubled by the activities of mice. In preference over clambering 'pon the nearest chair and wailing for help, we instead duly summon our servant staff to dispatch such bothersome creatures.

Alas this most brazen of gestures stirred not a mote of a reaction in the impassive countenance of Lord Yiannopoulos who remains steadfast at Netherfield Park where, by the hour, his very presence continues to grow ever more incommodious to me.

What must I do to drive this most odious man back to his family residence of Pemberley never to return to our fair rural idyll?

Yours fretfully

Elizabeth Bennett (Longbourn, Hertfordshire)

Dear Miss Bennett,

The gentlemen of whom you speak is clearly a person of great resolve. He will not be easily shaken.

I propose a trio of 'gifts' to be dispatched a few days apart. If Lord Yiannopoulos is as you describe him these tokens will serve to crumble his intent to remain at Netherfield Park. As before, the objects must be sent anonymously and without commentary.

In describing the first gift I must undertake a brief detour into French history with assurances that what I relay henceforth bears strong relevance to your present predicament:

In 1710 a grand ball was held in honour of the 60th birthday of Charles-Auguste de Limoges - the 16th Duke of Limousin. Members of noted aristocratic families from across Europe were in attendance. Among the guests was the Countess Anna De Foix of Brittany.

De Foix, who was five years De Limoges' senior, had been his childhood companion and had routinely tormented the boy. Her favoured mode of torture was to imprison her playmate inside the armoire in his bedroom. It was while confined within this darkened space that the terrified child had on occasion relinquished control of both bladder and bowels.

The cruelty did not end there, for after laying eyes upon her distressed and sullied victim, the malicious De Foix would venomously christen him with spiteful nicknames: Soggy knees (Genoux détrempées), Piss baby (Bébé pisse) and Shit Lord (Merde seigneur).

De Limoges was deeply ashamed of these incidents and told no-one. It was only following his death in 1712 that his diaries were discovered and the truth finally known.

Though the pair had not laid eyes upon each other for decades De Foix's malice spanned decades. By far the most extravagant of the gifts presented to the Duke on his 60th birthday was an exquisite handmade armoire fashioned from seven different woods and inlaid with gold and ivory. Above the doors a scrolled banner rendered in mahogany and held aloft by carved woodpeckers bore the motto “Genoux détrempées, Bébé pisse, Merde Seigneur”

Upon sighting of this offering De Limoges stormed from the hall. Afterwards he was seldom seen in public and died two years later.

It is my suggestion that you commission a replica of this armoire. A woman of good breeding such as yourself will surely have sketches of the original contained within the volumes in her library. A passable reproduction of this item of furniture should cost no more than a trifling £100,000.

Upon delivery of the piece Lord Yiannopoulos (who will have been well-schooled in the biographies of the continental aristocracy) will fully understand its true meaning and bearing grievous insult will subsequently ponder his future at Netherfield Park.

Now that you have knocked some of the pride from the man you must sow seeds of doubt so that he comes to regard himself unworthy of his station:

You will be aware that the finest chocolates in the world are hand-crafted by Gartman's of Zurich, Switzerland. Each of these unsurpassed flawless baubles of delight takes three days to create and retails for the equivalent of £700 a piece. In a neighbouring street you will find Gartman's inferior rival - Riniker. Here the chocolates that would be regarded as peerless in any other locale retail for a mere £400 each, or £2200 for a box of six.

Contact Riniker and request that a half-dozen of their finest truffles be dispatched to Netherfield Park posthaste. Upon taking receipt of this gift Lord Yiannopoulos will recognise the barbed compliment – that his peers deem him worthy only of second-rate chocolates. Reflecting upon this he will again doubt his future in Hertfordshire and contemplate a return to Pemberley.

The final item you must send is a bespoke necklace, fashioned in gold, with prominent lettering that spells the word: 'Gaylord'.

The lords of England have traditionally adopted a stern and autocratic bearing befitting their station. In branding the gentleman a lord of gaiety (and consequently in possession of vassals and property in keeping with this light-hearted disposition) you will cast a shadow on his character. This slur will likely end the prospect of him marrying a woman of note and climbing above his present social station, for there are few fathers who would consider as a suitor for their daughter one who openly ridicules the solemn duties of Lordship, and, in doing so, mocks the empire of England itself.

My child: Follow these instructions to the letter dispensing first the armoire, followed by the inferior Swiss chocolates, while saving as final insult the libellous necklace.

I assure you that the displeasing gentleman's humiliation will be complete and that soon after he will become but a figment of your past.


Lady Margaret Seacombe

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