JUGS AND JUDGEMENT (STORY)
It is a well-known fact, universally acknowledged, that a handsome, single, well-polished syphon will always attract the attention of a mother syphon with five single female syphonettes.
This was certainly the case in the Sparklet household, when Mrs Sparklet heard the news of their dashing new neighbour, Mr Simon Springham.
“Mr Sparklet, such news,” gushed Mrs Sparklet to her husband, eyes gleaming. “A new tenant has just taken over Nozzlefield Hall. Single and rich. 15,000 bulbs a year.”
“15,000!” exclaimed her third syphonette, Effie. “I wouldn’t mind a crack at him myself. I wonder if he likes big jugs …” Effie thought to herself ruefully that she had rather put weight on over Christmas.
“Effervescent Sparklet,” shouted Mrs Sparklet. “Go and wash your mouth out with sodawater. I will not have language like that in my house. And besides,” she said, softening at the thought of getting one of her syphonettes off her hands at last, “It should really be Syphonella who has first choice. She is the oldest after all.”
“Mr Springham,” mused Mr Sparklet, who despite being buried in his newspaper, was really taking it all in. “I’ve already met him. And you’re all invited to a ball at Nozzlefield Hall on Saturday.”
“A ball at Nozzlefield Hall,” yelled Mrs Sparklet, thrilled. “Syphonella, Fizzie and Effie, you will all go along and see if you can’t bag a few husbands between you.”
The oldest syphonettes sighed gently in anticipation. It had been so long since they had attended a ball. It was all so thrilling.
“Bubbles and Squirty,” Mrs Sparklet continued, addressing the youngest girls. “You will stay at home and practise the clavichord and embroider some new tea cosies.”
“But mother,” they protested in unison.
“You’re far too young to go to the ball. And, in any case, if you ever want to be accomplished enough to attract husbands, you need to stay in and practise.”
And so it was agreed. That Saturday night, Syphonella, Fizzie and Effie went in the carriage to Nozzlefield Hall. Barely had they arrived, when Simon Springham whisked the oldest Sparklet, Syphonella, away for the first quadrille. And it has to be said, barely left her side for the rest of the evening.
Fizzie, the second daughter syphon, would have quite liked to have had a dance too. It had been quite a while since she had last had a minuet to herself.
Her attention was suddenly caught by the arrival of Mr Steel – a tall, slim, silver syphon with – it was rumoured – a stainless character.
Imagine her amusement then, when he walked over to where she and Effie were sitting to hear him say, “Well, I really don’t feel like dancing at all tonight. Why, I have never seen such a bunch of lacklustre syphons in all my life. Especially that one,” he said, pointing straight at Fizzie.
This was plainly untrue as Fizzie had spent all afternoon polishing herself up for the occasion. Luckily, Fizzie was always very good-natured and did not take offence at his comment.
“In any case,” Effie advised Fizzie, “You would be far better off waiting for the annual Flagon Guards Ball which is coming up next month. I am quite hopeful that Colonel Waters will be there. I will probably end up eloping with him to Brighton.”
Secretly, Fizzie considered this most unlikely. Colonel Waters, she had heard on the grapevine, was already in trouble for siphoning off funds from the Flagon Guards Toasted Crumpet Fund and was already in hot soda water over the whole affair.
Still, all in all, it had been a most splendid night. Syphonella’s eyes positively sparkled as she related the events of the evening back at the family home.
“And truly,” said Effie, “Mr Springham never took his eyes off Syphonella all evening.”
“Which is more than you can say for Mr Steel,” laughed Fizzie. “He couldn’t leave Nozzlefield Hall quick enough to get away from all those dull syphons.”
Later, Mrs Sparklet reflected. “Well, if I can get Syphonella hitched with Simon, then that only leaves four more syphonettes to go ….” Truly it had been a very good day.
(Mr and Mrs Sparklet with four of their fine daughters)