The Great Sir William de la Plange Hatchenswip III - Christine Perl
Sir William de la Plange Hatchenswip III was reclining in his fine leather
armchair made expressly for him by the most exclusive chair designer in London.
He was deep in thought. With a pensive air, he passed his pale, smooth fingers
over his clean-shaven chin. "A man of action am I, a man of adventure, a
" A sip of cappuccino, steaming below snow-white cream delicately
powdered with Sri Lankan cinnamon, interrupted his reflections. He was suddenly
overpowered by the need to escape his mundane existence. "Oh, what a difficult
life I must endure," he concluded as his servant, impeccably dressed in a
dark uniform appropriately matching our heros mood, refilled his plate with
petites madeleines and poured more of the aromatic brew. The hand gesture that
dismissed the servant told of the Sir Williams languid impatience to discover
something more, a certain je ne sais quoi to add spice to his life. Something
prestige, honour, glory, something that would provide him with a good
getaway for the holidays. But what could that something be? A post in a Real Estate
Agency, perhaps? But, no, that would not do.
He contemplated the foam on his coffee as it floated along and lapped against
the side of his Rosenthal cup. Then, just when he took a nibble from his petite
madeleine, inspiration bobbed to the surface of his brain. Yes, he was now in
possession of the word that would define his destiny: Conquistador!
With the same iron determination of the captain of the Invincible Armada, Sir
William unfalteringly made his decision. But at the moment when one is on the
precipice of a new life, what are the basic necessities that one absolutely must
have? Our hero pondered this conundrum a moment and with the expertise of an adventurer
who has practiced his profession since birth, in fast succession he jotted the
items down with his gold-tipped fountain pen: a map, a gold-plated compass, matching
Leica binoculars and camera, tea rations. And, of course, he would also have to
make an appointment with his tailor to procure the appropriate wardrobe (beige
shirts, knee-length trousers, a helmet...)
But then a small concern invaded his ambitious reverie. What distant land would
he discover and conquer? The Congo? No, he suspected that it had already been
subjugated. A tiny isle in the Caribbean perhaps? No, too humid, and he rather
disliked their music. One thing became all too clear; this enterprise was much
too much for one man. The hour of fate had arrived it was time to dash
off to his travel agent.
The next day, Sir William de la Plange Hatchenswip III, full of assured vigour,
called for his chauffeur with the words that had graced the lips of many an explorer
before him: "To the Travel Bureau, my good man, and get on with it."
Once arrived, he leapt out of his Rolls and forged through the door that awaited
him. Greeted as he was by the adventurous prospect of conquering exotic lands,
he was nonetheless left dizzy by the hoards of options before him. Like Huns on
the loose, they clamoured for his attention. Would it be an Alaskan cruise? A
voyage to Switzerland (two-way ticket and three-night stay in an alpine chalet
included)? Or a Safari to EuroDisney perhaps? It required a man of exceptional
qualities, which Sir William de la Plange Hatchenswip III certainly was, to be
able to choose a destiny from this jungle of possibilities. He finally arrived
at a decision (a cruise in the Mediterranean) when, alas, our brave adventurer
discovered that the life of a conqueror is no easy affair. As Columbus before
him despaired, floating for weeks at his own peril without catching sight of land,
our conquistador received a grave report from his travel agent: "I am sorry,
sir. There is no room left in first class." A cold blizzard of death buried
his explorer heart as he sat unsteadily in a chair and looked on as his destiny
was dashed against the rocky shoreline called life. Disconsolate, he returned
to his Rolls and went to dine at his club.
Alas, now you know, my dear readers, of the odyssey of the greatest, most prestigious
adventurer the world never knew.
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