This session report recorded by Lord Porter Birmingham-Nevilleson III of Hampton upon the Moors, who was kind enough to take notes. Please note that in no way do Lord Porter's opinions coincide with my own. Any offense taken should be snail-mailed to Lord Porter, at Hampton upon the Moors. Emailing him would be futile, as he refuses to touch such a plebean instrument of the "hoi polloi" as a computer.
With my white kerchief carefully placed beneath my posterior to avoid the ungainly filth from my preposterously old-fashioned chair (oak finish with typical darkwood varnish! Can you imagine?), and my elbows held against my sides to avoid contact with these ruffians, I made to show these low-born halfwits the invincible nature of a true British Aristocrat.
Having inherited a very nice starting arrangement of a Mickey Mouse xylophone (from the Greek for "wood" + "voice", I had to inform these milk-livered fobs), a beautiful 19th century Wood figurine, and a stuffed Teddy from the early 20th century, I made to exhibit them early and rout these American bred louts back to the New World, where they and their "blue jeans" and "reality television" can stink up the Western Hemisphere. The foolish saps were too busy bickering over their checks in the Auction House to catch my wonderful exhibit.
When I finally had some competition from a blonde teetotaler who named herself "Nanny" or some such foolishness, I showed her what a sporting chap I was by sending my burglar, in order to slow her progress, to Harlech Castle (where Sir Roderick once threw a gala bash so divine that I lost my Victorian derby in a rather ravishing Vienna Waltzing fiasco). With the typical foresight and patience of our cousins across the Ocean, she had tried to show her exhibit too early, having barely even made something worthy of an exhibit! I did make good use of her seashell pipe my thief (Gregory, I believe) was kind enough to bequeath to me.
Events then proved most prosperous, as my one competitor - Nanny? Franny? My apologies, it is SO difficult to recall these proletariat names - fell aside much like Lady Madeline Tallofax fainted when her Lord Henry was found to be sleeping with the help. (That was a glorious tea party, was it not, Percy? Imagine! Deigning to touch a woman born in South America! Better my right hand fall off at the wrist!) I made a good sport of my remarkable fortune - fortune? Nay, rather the inevitable happenings of those under the protection of the Queen - making several excellent exhibits which evinced groans of bitter jealousy and envy from the Americans. I had already proceeded to Old Culloden Castle while no one had yet taken an exhibit beyond the Iverary Castle.
Alas, not all victories are to be won with unblemished perfection! Much like in the Great War, when we let those towheaded Nazis get the better of us for far too long before pounding them between the Hammer of our infantry and the Anvil of our air power! Such was it to be for your servant, Lord Porter Birmingham-Nevilleson III.
Despite my wonderfully fine play and the good work of poor Gregory (who was kind enough to turn a Japanese mask over to me before his capture at the hands of that meddling Detective Smithison), one of the ugly Americans had the audacity to surpass me, actually arriving at Castel Coch before I could present my lovely, 8 piece exhibition there! Well, my years in Boarding School were not spent in vain! I was not named the "Upper Class Conniver of New College in Oxford" for my good looks! Edmund, quite possibly the most capable thief of the British Isles (though he arrogantly claims "of the world!") deftly procured a few more choice specimens for my exhibit, and I smugly congratulated myself on a game well-played, as "Collector of the Year" seemed to be a title already attained.
My foolish headiness, it would prove, reeked of silly American optimism. As the time for the End of the Year Banquet approached, I made one final exhibit, only to have it robbed by two of the luckiest thieves this side of that desultory and piggish Princess Di's death (Shall the prince-in-waiting never escape from that hideous succubus' wicked shadow?). The other American, I believe his name was "Dave" or "Doug", made a quite clever purchase at the Auction House (clever for an American, I suppose), and made what I must begrudgingly admit was a fine exhibit a tad bit better. Good play, old boy! While this rascally New Worlder displayed some dashing derring-do, my defenseless exhibit became subject to the most atrocious of burglaries! The sordid affair resulted in the dismissal of Geeves, my doorman of twenty-odd years, when he let not one, but two(!) thieves through the front door of Saltram House. My exhibit was in nigh-shambles with the End of Year Banquet happening the very next day! Adding salt to my wound, my exhibit only took the second prize that day due to the shamelessly overrated exhibit of yet another American, "Scott". (I only remember his name because he had the good-fortune to share a name with the delightfully capable, though unfortunately Scottish Sir Walter Scott.) Unfortunately for this American, who was of no account in the contest except for this one endeavor, Geeves' mistake resulted in the inevitable burgling of his exhibit as well.
Still, I had believed that my delightful exhibitions to that point had merited the victory for "Collector of the Year Honors" when the ugly American - I shall call him Doug, a name as ugly as the man's vile nature! - revealed his magnificent exhibit. TOO magnificent, were I to be asked (which I was, by good Lady Meredith St. Ignatius of the Devonshire St. Ignatiuses). Still, rather than agitatedly draw my late Victorian timepiece from my vest pocket and beg the judges to begin to evaluate the exhibits, I cast a calm look over the judges. "Verily," I thought, just as the Bard would have mused, "my exhibit will garner a solid second best, and I shall overcome these sculduggerous Yanks to claim my rightful place at the head of the dais!" You can understand my perturbation, then, when the Lady Karla of Oak Park (she assures me it is on the West Side of so illustrious a city as Chicago, Illinois, of the Americas) presented a wondrous 10-piece exhibit. The sudden relegation of my hard-fought 8-piece exhibit to third place made me choke on my pastry, a rather tasty morsel of cheese and cherries. "Doug" thought it quite a corker and gleefully rubbed his wicked hands in anticipation of their acceptance of the wonderfully crafted and overwhelmingly British "Collector of the Year" trophy.
Fortunately for Justice and Her Majesty, Fate had one more card to play. Nanny (Franny? Anny? Confound these bloody inconsequential names!), thanks to her recent illegal and fiendish plunder of my exhibit, now had a 12-piece exhibit, featuring some exquisite masks from Africa, some exotic pots from all parts of the Empire, and some pop-culture advertisements (It is pronounced "ad-ver'-tiss-ments", you doltish Cowboys! The accent belongs on the anti-penult, not the penult!). You can imagine how the smile encroached the borders of my face as "Doug's" devil-gifted exhibit fell into the second place and "Collector of the Year" was awarded to the rightful winner...yours truly, Lord Porter Birmingham-Nevilleson III! A hearty slap on the back to the ugly American, Doug, who fell just 1 space shy of my spot at the head table!
Better luck next time, chappies!
County: West Yorkshire
My goodness, old Porter Birminghame-Nevilleson! I remember my great-uncle Jarvis - who was his fag at Eton - often telling us about him. Nice to see he hasn't lost his touch and can see off the vulgar interlopers.