Brownlow, the professor and the tart…

But first…
Dulltown, UK/Europe: Today’s quotation is from Vladimir Nabokov’s 1928 novel King, Queen, Knave, which I am currently re-reading:
Once again in her drawing room that fool of a painter, a languid rascal with dirty fingernails, glued his lips to her bare neck and she waited a moment to make out what she felt, and feeling nothing, struck him in the face with her elbow.

‘Yes professor?’
‘What’s that thing, in your in-tray, wrapped in tissue?’
‘Is it the ancient Egyptian relic from the Cairo Museum?’
‘No sir, it’s a couple of pieces of my Aunt Cissy’s chocolate tart. I was going to have them with my…’
‘Ah, your Aunt Cissy, fine woman Brownlow! Pass me one over, don’t hog them man!’
‘Oh, alright sir.’
‘I think your Aunt Cissy might have changed her phone number recently – you don’t happen to have…’
‘Oh, er, no professor, I don’t seem to have her new one yet…’
‘My, my, this tart is particularly good… By the by, where is that little artefact from Cairo Brownlow?’
‘Oh, it’s there, by your tobacco pouch – have you identified it yet sir?’
‘Oh yes, a piece of cake.’
‘A piece of…?’
‘No man, I recognised it immediately as a practical item, a simple safety device often used when the body cavities were stitched up prior to the start of the mummification process.’
‘Oh, how very interesting.’
‘These were pretty common items, but this one is rather special… You don’t have Cissy’s mobile number then?’
‘Eh?… Oh, er, no…’
‘You see, it was a chance find when the temple was moved at the building of the Aswan High Dam in 1968 – it has an unusual single hieroglyph on it.’
‘Oh really? What is it?’
‘It depicts a musical instrument popular in the king’s court – but that’s not the only remarkable thing about this item Brownlow.’
‘No, because it was so very unusual, and of course collectable, several rather good copies of it were secretly made in the 1970s…’
‘And a number of them were sold off to unsuspecting collectors as being the genuine article – there was a terrific scandal about it back then!’
‘Goodness me!’
‘I wrote a piece for The Times on it, they consulted me, and I of course received a nice fee for my efforts.’
‘I’ll look it up online sir, what was the title of your piece?’
The Abu Simbel Cymbal Symbol Thimble Swindle.’
‘Could you say that again please, sir?’
‘Oh… It was, er, a very catchy headline professor. Was that your idea?’
‘Why yes Brownlow, it was…’
‘I though so…’
‘You don’t mind if I have that other slice of Cissy’s jolly nice tart, do you? It is very good! Slide it across here…’
‘Oh… Alright…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in academia, archeology, books, conversation, drama, food, history, humour, information, learning, puzzle, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Brownlow, the professor and the tart…

  1. ktz2 says:

    I especially like today’s awkwardly amusing Nabokov passage, in particular the elbow to his face part hahaha

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