In Which I offer Miss Puddlegum some assistance and make a startling discovery. (RP)

Having agreed to Miss Puddlegum’s proposed terms, I found myself in the most interesting position of financial benefactor.  Was it so unusual, then, that I would have a n interest in the progress of her enterprise?  I thought not.  Miss Puddlegum certainly has a passion for her books, but passion can carry one only so far without some measure of business sense. 

My maid, Gordon, has some experience as a clerk.  She was, in fact, so employed before coming into my service.  Therefore, I decided I would offer her services to Miss Puddlegum, to help the lady with the mundanities of running a business.  With this in mind  I paid a visit to Miss Puddlegum’s bookstore, quaintly named Jo’s Attic, with Gordon dutifully in tow.

Miss Puddlegum greeted us pleasantly enough and showed us how her preparations were progressing.  I noted a distressingly small quantity of new books actually available for sale.  After some light chit chat I made my offer.  Miss Puddlegum readily accepted Gordon’s help.  It seems her ward, Mary, while certainly a sweet and well meaning child, was simply not up to the task. 

While Miss Puddlegum put Gordon to work with correspondences and such I repaired to the Poe Reading Room to peruse the bookshelves.  I was much pleased to see an extensive collection of H. P. Lovecraft’s works.  Among his better known accounts, which most people foolishly continue to believe are mere fictions, I was astounded to discover a true gem,  an actual transcription of the Dhol Chants!  I think rather loudly exclaimed my exultation at this discovery and  soon became absorbed in the reading.  I may even have spoken some snippets aloud.  One must be careful, of course, to never complete whole stanzas, or even certain phrases, unless properly prepared.  Even  so, I was not totally uneffected and the balance I have striven  so long to maintain shifted momentarily allowing the fiendish aspect to assert itself. 

It was while in this state that I overheard Gordon and Miss Puddlegum conversing in the main room of the shop.  Their idle conversation had progressed to the subject of my arcane activities.  Although retired from TPU I still maintain my researches.  I do not discuss these things in public, of course, as they might be misconstrued by the ignorant.  I strode out into the main room to caution Gordon against further disclosure.   To my dismay she was very nearly about to pronounce a “Name Which Must Not Be Spoken” and in my shifted state of mind I fear I reacted rather poorly.  In fact I gave Miss Puddlegum a bit of a fright.  Gentle Lady that she is, she was not prepared to behold my rather fearsome appearance.

The moment passed soon, however, and I was able to regain my composure ere long.  Just at that moment a gentleman acquaintance of Miss Puddlegum entered the shop, Mr MichaelNeff Macbeth.  We exchanged a few pleasantries then Miss Puddlegum excused herself and asked for a word in the Poe room.  Gordon and I joined her there and she actually had the gall to suggest I was attempting to sabotage her business.  As I have said, she is a passionate woman.  In any case I managed to calm her down and reassure her as to my intentions for the success of her store.

Her visitor cum customer called for some assistance and she dutifully went off to attend his needs.  Gordon returned to her assigned chore and I returned to my study of the Chants, careful this time not to read them aloud.  In due time we parted from Miss Puddlegum’s company.  Not an unproductive evening, but ever since that day I have sensed increasing unease from her.

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Published in: on 17 June, 2010 at 12:48 PM  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You wouldn’t happen to have an artist’s impression of your appearance during this momentary lapse, would you?

    • I will see what I can conjure up.

    • One must be careful for what one wishes!

  2. After a bit of temporal legerdemain I have been able to conjure up the image requested. I have inserted it in the narrative at the appropriate spot.

    • Dear Lord! You’ve half frightened the poor ladies to death. Well, lady & Gordon. You must take more care reading when reading such things, sir!

  3. Incredible story


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