There are few situations that will test the gentleman’s habit of mind more than the rainy day (as I have recently alluded to in the tale of the elderly ladies imprisoned in the theater behind a wall of rain). But not all opportunities to display courtesy involve dispatching some ruffian with an oversized umbrella. Some are of a much more intimate nature.
And it is such an occasion that a spring evening discovered me taking a glass of gin on the esplanade by the riverbank. The afternoon rains had left several puddles across the narrow paths, and seeing the potential opportunity to carry a lady or two across a stream, I established my watch station nearest the point where I thought that someone of that exalted gender might be required to make the difficult choice between marring her delicate des chaussures or turning back from whence she came. As a courtier of the modern age, I recognized my duty to make absolutely certain that no such dilemma should present itself to a lady who had happened upon the slapdash lane.
As I waited under the waxing moon for the first entrant to appear, I began to consider the arsenal of options that I might present to her in that dire moment.
And I took pause.
Would she indeed allow me to carry her across? Possibly not, and it would be discourteous of me to only present her with only that single solution. I supposed I could lay my bespoke tweed overcoat across the rivulet—that, of course, must be an option. Perhaps a scaffold of boughs? These were the thoughts of a considerate man that were interrupted by a duo of young ne’er-do-wells who were “sidewalk surfing” through the puddle, and as a result splashed the legs of my breeches with muddy water.
“You, sirs, are too much,” I cried.
“Relax, pops,” the huskier of the two replied. “It’s just a little water. Lighten up.”
Truth be told, I did feel like I was behaving a bit of the ogre when I noticed that the speaker’s slender counterpart had adorned himself with an black undershirt bearing the phrase, “No Fat Chicks.”
“You, small man. Remove that shirt. A lady may notice the vulgar message,” I might have said, but in all honesty, the wearing of the shirt had already taken matters entirely far enough. I was compelled to act. I seized his gastropod partner’s skating board and battered the tandem with the edge of the wood until I was quite sure that both of the urchins had spinal damage.
No ladies walked by that night. Pity. I suppose the inclement weather held them in.