@ 27.105 MHz: Vignettes; The Grand Seneschal's Tale

Our society is, as you may have imagined, rather

exclusive---a custom both traditional to among

us, historically, and eminently practical as an

enhancement to our safety and continued

existence.  I have always taken a perhaps

inordinate pride in my administration of our

society's affairs, conducting our business

with iron resolve and an ungloved fist when

necessary; tyrannical and dictatorial as that

may seem to an outsider, it is an aspect of

our homeland (which sometimes is noted in the

various newspapers of the present day) that we,

who have preserved its traditions so far as we

are able, find unremarkable.  And, I might

suggest, it is as practical as the system of

government in this---your---country:  which

pays lip service to a queen who reigns but

does not rule; and decisions are referred to an

assembled rabble who delight to call themselves

Commons; and whose predecessors lost their

greatest colonial possession to an assembly of

yokels, peasants, and disgruntled planters and

lawyers, who like their counterparts here, talked

entirely too much.  Oh no, none of that silliness

for us.  But, I should have heeded the others'

strenous and repetitious objections to the

admission of our newest member, to whom I

shall refer to (if you will permit me the

inaccuracy) as Dorian, the appellation given

him by an acquaintance of his who is, by

wildest chance (ah!, the bon mot) a poet of

some notoriety in your great city.  Young

Dorian was most anxious to be accepted

amon us:  he offered the sacrifice required of

all who receive my considered approbation

prior to the communal act of initiation---

after, of course, a thorough investigation.

Dorian was enthusiastically flamboyant,

not hesitating to plunge his teeth into

full, even frantic, participation.  Many of us,

due to age or other personal inclination,

have forgotten the precipitate enthusiasms of

youthfulness.  A child beginning to walk must, of the

nature of the process, fail at first and fall;

but the careful parent does not impose a

punishment for those stumbles, no matter how

numerous---provided a development can be,

eventually, noticed.  So I believed in regard to

Dorian; and I admit that I, who am often

accused of feeling nothing, felt both fatherly and

protective toward him; even defending him

against the suspicions (which later became

justifable complaints) of the others.  His foibles---

his flaunted violations of our mutually protectice

practices---were not many, but were, none the

less, remarkable, commencing in the summer

(specifically, in August) of the year we had received

him, and admitted him to our companionship.

Three times he brought undue attention to his---

shall we say---excitements.  And, after the third,

I reprimanded him, thoroughly, and explicitly,

while he stared, as if bored, into the distance and,

when i had finished my speech (one could hardly

have called it a conversation, one-sided as it had to be),

he snuffed out the candles with a dismissive air and

took his leave with a disrespectul gesture meant to

elicit an offended response from me.  I did not,

however, wish to stoop to his level---which, despite my

anger, I sought to ascribe to mere circumstances:

his callow age, a bad time recently, or mere

low-spirited high jinks which are often the hallmark of

immaturity, although not always its conscientous

intention.  The fourth incident, a double helping

(so to speak)---was, among all of us, deemed a

flagrant disregard of our circle's security

(since such carelessness often draws the

attention of those who have a vested interest in

both opposing and harming us).  Still, I procrastinated,

hoping that he would offer his own repentence and

recognition of such distinct disegard for the good of

all of us.  I understood the thrill of destruction---

I have enjoyed all of its many varieties---but subtlety,

even discretion, is the foremost requirement of the

destroyer.  Anything less--and Dorian's trespasses

were far worse than merely less---was mere mayhem,

intentionally disrupting the camouflage and covert

restrains by which our continued presence in London

might be assured and expanded.  By that time, the

police authorities had invested much time and effort in

detecting the culprint and the cause, although, understandibly,

Dorian had eluded them.  Even (so I was told later), the

old queen herself, she who reigned without ruling, who was

constrained by rules established by the undignified Commons,

had asserted an opinion, even to the implied reprimand of

one of her ministers, and the commissioner who answered to

him.  The situation had become intolerable, and compelled

me to admit that Dorian's admission was a regretable, but it was

(so the others reminded me, with brutal and suggestive candor)

correctible.  Still, a reluctance hampered me, and despite the

impatience of those I had long ago sworn to serve, I failed to

accede, immediately, to their demands to act, and to act

decisively and without either clemency or sympathy.  But the

fifth abuse---the unnecessary mutilation of the Kelly woman---

bestirred such a sense of disgust in me that I could not longer

remain quiescent.  I dismembered him, in the same

extensive way; but more efficiently and not susceptible to

ordinary detection.  I scattered the fragments of him all

over the city---from Whitechapel, where he had struck his

last, to Buckingham.  Relieved of the threat implicit in his

antics, we have continued our lifestyle---or is it, more

precisely, a deathstyle?---without fear of disruption or

intrusion by those who think they can mount a defense

against us.  Polidori, Lefanu, and Stoker notwithstanding,

we are as rare as honest politicians and as voracious as bedbugs.

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darkpool's picture

There's a limit to the gore

There's a limit to the gore and splatter one can abide, even in good old Whitechapel. Thank you for the Ripper short story.

Starward's picture

Thank you very much for the

Thank you very much for the comment.  Although I, personally, do not believe that Mary Kelly was actually the fifth victim (although intended, by the assailant to be), I suspended my disbelief in order to cast it as a vampire tale.  I have read, elsewhere, that certain scholars have suggested that the Ripper murders, and not Central European horror stories (and not a too generous helping of crab cake) was the actual inspiration of Stoker's novel, Dracula,  The connection to Wilde's novel, which the poem suggests, is entirely a fictional construct, to the best of my knowledge.


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