An Afternoon Out
It never ceases to surprise me how many of us accept inherited wealth, privilege and power as inevitable and without question.
Old Billy didn’t.
It began with the village outing, “got up“ by “her at tha Pust Orfiss.” Billy got dragged along by his wife, “tha gal Jessie,” to see one of the stateliest stately homes in Norfolk.
The hired coach duly arrived and the villagers trooped into the house.
Despite his misgivings, Billy found himself impressed by the magnificent house. He explored everything thoroughly, from the servants’ quarters, to the state bedrooms and living areas down to the kitchen. He admired the paintings, china, glass and silverware.
Jessie, meanwhile, was getting tired so she went into the tearooms “wi’sum o’ them uther mawthers from tha’ willage.”
Billy left to his own devices went outside for a smoke and wandered into the impressive flower garden. Hearing the sound of a spade grating on earth, he went to investigate.
Round the back of a huge rhododendron bush, he found who he took to be a gardener. The labourer was dressed in old boots, worn corduroys, old sports jacket and a shirt frayed at collar and cuff.
Billy approached the man and opened a conversation by saying how much he had enjoyed visiting the house. The digger paused and said he was glad to hear it.
“By the way,” Billy continued, “Do you know who owns it?”
“Why yes,” the man replied, straightening up, “as a matter of fact, I do. I am Lord Earewigge!”
Billy paused for a second, but only a second.
“In that there case, ken oi aarsk yew a questyun?”
“Of course,” said his Lordship.
“Well,” said Billy, “howd yew cum boy tha’ House?”
Smiling indulgently, his Lordship explained… “I inherited it from my father.”
“Roight” said Billy, “ but how did he cum by ut”
“He inherited it from his father!”
“I kin see that,” said Billy, “But how did he git ut?”
His Lordship’s patience was now beginning to wear thin. Through gritted teeth he replied, “FROM HIS FATHER!”
“I unnerstan thaat, but how did tha fust LordEarewigg git it in the beginning“.
“He fought for it!” explained His Lordship.
“OK” replied Billy, “Git yew your coat orf an’ oi’ll fight yer for it now!”