The Life and Times Of Elsie, Miss Birdwhistle

``Mark me word,'' Miss Birdwhistle says ``if a Cranborne man do always take longer steps to save 'is boot-leather, there's many a marchioness with 'er bits of string - '' ``I can tell you plain,'' Miss Birdwhistle says ``as others to their sorrer 'ave found before 'im, tisn't no picnic to be a Prince Consort - ''

Mr. Lancelot,'' says Miss Birdwhistle ``was always a one! Oh, the rages 'e got into, black as pitch! `Don't tell them I'm 'ere, Miss Birdwhistle,' 'e'd say. `Just let me sit, till me 'ead clears - ' That's one of 'is pictures, up there. A rummy sort of thing, if you arsk me. `If you'd ever rather 'ave a tiara,' 'e says, `you can flog it to the Tate for a thousand quid - '''

``In Venice,'' says Miss Birdwhistle ``I 'ad to tick off the Mayor and that's a fact. 'Er Ladyship didn't arf make a fuss when she 'eard. `M'Lady,' I told 'er, `eleven hours a day by your own clocks, I'm at your beck and call. It's me own life's time I'm giving to the cats - '''

```Is Grace,'' says Miss Birdwhistle ``was a feeling-'earted man. `M'dear,' 'e says to me private like, `you nip upstairs when nobody's looking to that little winder in the South Tower.' And there, 'aving tea on the terrace underneath, and wearing one of 'er fluffy bits of fur, was Queen Mary with 'er gruff voice - ''

Miss Birdwhistle says:

``Well, it was a long time ago, of course. In me first place, and to tell the truth crying me eyes out every night. I'd never been away from the sea before and there I was now, down in the Black 'Ole of Calcutta you might say, with dishes, dishes piled 'igh as your 'ead, and all running about everywhere bold as brass -

``Oh, `orrible they were! those beetles! and nobody to attend when I spoke me mind. So one day suddenly when I'd 'ad enough, I pushed open the door between Them and Us - green baize it was without any knob - and kept on going with me chin stuck out till I came to an 'all big as Waterloo Station where 'Is Lordship was standing in front of the fire `aving 'is elevenses with a lot of little dogs. `M'Lord,' I says fast, before the chopper could fall, `unless by tomorrer certain matters I shall now mention - the which, mind you, it's 'igh time some persons noticed for theirselves - '

```Wot's your name?' 'e barks. And though me knees were knocking like casternets, I 'eard meself say in a loud voice:

`The name's Miss Birdwhistle.'

I was fifteen years. And nobody'd ever called me that in me life.''

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