A History of the Noble Beauderriere Family and their blind stumble through history.
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‘Will we, after we are gone, make some small mark on the pages of history? It is comforting to think that we might. Most people are not able to do this, mainly because they are insignificant little nothings who would have about the same impact on history as a fart in a thunderstorm.
Other do make a mark, mainly because they are insignificant little nothings who, by quirks of fate or perhaps by sheer determination, fart louder than everyone else and have no concept of just how loud thunderstorms can be.
This leads me, inevitably, to the Beauderriere dynasty: a family that did have an impact and quite an impact it was. It seems they had a hand, or foot in every major historical event’
‘Rattling in the Closet’ is an historical comedy following the fortunes and misfortunes of the noble Beauderriere family and charts their progress though history and their impact on historical events.
The story starts with the discovery of ancient documents in the attic rooms of Tanners Hall, the family seat of the Lords Beauderriere. Our hero, in this case the author, is an historian and he realises what a goldmine he has found and decided that it must be published.
We follow the Beauderrieres through ancient history, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages up to, eventually the present day.. We see their futile attempts to push themselves forward.
We find a Beauderriere at The Battle of Trafalgar, Waterloo. We watch as a Beauderriere switches side during the English Civil War, instigates the execution of King Charles I and starts the Great Fire of London.
In order to write this biography I needed advice. After much concentrated and in-depth research, with the aid of a Yellow Pages and a pin, I chose to approach a Professor Throgmorton, then living in Hastings. I had heard it said that he was an eccentric, and also an authority on the Beauderrieres. I motored down from my London address to the Sussex coast the following day.
The professor’s housekeeper, Mrs Smear, showed me into a small dark room. I sat, as instructed, on a box and waited. Eventually the door flew open and I saw Mrs Smear being berated by an odd-looking man attired (as perhaps one would expect of an eccentric) in a cheap dressing gown, green Wellington boots and a deerstalker.
“Mrs Smear,” said the professor, “you must make an appointment to have your eyes tested. This is the third time this month you have shown a visitor into the hall cupboard.”
I was helped out of the closet. Mrs Smear gestured for me to follow the man into his study. He sat down behind his desk and offered me the chair opposite.
“Well young man,” he said, “you must think we are all mad, but we’re not, we are not all mad.” He picked up an old pipe and filled it with what I immediately deduced to be grass clippings. “Of course, Mrs Smear is mad, mad as a… a… ”
“Hatter?” I suggested.
The professor looked at me querulously. Then he angered.
“Hate her? Of course I don’t hate her,” he said, “she’s mad, I grant you, but you can’t go about the place hating people just because they’re different from one.”
The difference between the professor and his housekeeper was minimal. I began to regret coming to see him. Perhaps I would forget about the Beauderrieres and find something else to fill my achingly lonely life.
“So, you want me to help you,” said the professor, suddenly calmer. “You’re looking into the Beauderrieres, am I right?”
I was taken aback by his sudden spell of sanity. He took out a gold watch and began to wind it up.
“I got this from my father, you know,” he said.
“Inheritance?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Theft. I stole it from him on his death bed.”
He began to swing the fob to and fro. “Your best bet,” he began, “is to have a look at the ancestral home - Tanners Hall in Wiltshire.”