It wasn’t Sir Barnstone Gigglefish’s fault.
He had played the caring host with graceful ease, as he’d flittered from guest to guest like a gentle, joyful flutterby. He’d topped up drinks and had made sure they’d all had as much can-a-peas as they could stomach.
It wasn’t his fault at all; by Jove.
And that is the story he would stick to, like a fly on that adhesive paper, which hung from paupers’ doorways on a summer’s day.
It wasn’t his fault that his eyesight was failing and he’d mistaken the bally strychnine for sea-salt. It was a silly school-boy mistake and that was that.
He was sure that his guests would all see the funny side, when they all cared to stop their damned silly convulsions and ghastly gasping for breath.
The police, on the other hand may need a teensy bit of cajoling, but his dear Uncle Fresno would straighten things out. After all, what was the use of a judge in the family if they didn’t pop up to sort out silly faux pas from time to time.
He did wish the ambulance chaps would hurry up, though. Dear Madam Pompleteeth was looking a shade too blue for the cocktail dress she had arrived, smiling, in.
She was beginning to clash, the poor dear.