September the 10th
Well, Iím all settled in at last. What a stroke of luck
Christina like that in the street. I wasnít long off the
feeling a bit lost to tell the truth. What a sweet woman she is.
Another time and place and I might just have fallen in love with her.
But that can never be of course. Still, she offered me this room. It
has a lovely view of the river. Yes, I shall try to be happy here and
forget as best I can all my past misadventures. She introduced me to
her husband, Gutman. He couldnít get over the fact that I am
He is not the friendliest of people, but perhaps he is only shy. He
didnít seem particularly fond of having a stranger in the
alone a dwarf. But Christina told him quite firmly, ĎThis is
Ironmonger, Gutman. Heíll be staying with us for a little
he finds somewhere permanent.í Iíve never really
liked my name but the
way she said it, so gently and warmly, I felt quite proud of it and not
ashamed in the least.
Gutman is not a well man. He seems to spend much of his time in bed. I
told him I was something of a handyman, which isnít strictly
Anyway, he seemed convinced enough, quite pleased in fact. I only hope
he doesnít ask me to do any odd jobs around the house. Still
I could blunder through at a pinch. I should have just told him some
vague story about working in a shop and being here on a little holiday.
Oh well, itís too late now. No use crying over spilt milk. I
mentioned casually that I was something of a gamesman.
lit up at that, so I suggested that we might indulge in the odd
boardgame to pass the time. He seemed genuinely grateful. Indeed, life
must hold few surprises for poor Gutman.
Spent the best part of the evening unpacking my suitcase.
Itís a bit
the worse for wear. I must invest in a new one when my luck turns.
Perhaps it already has - touch wood. Thereís so little room
left in the
suitcase for the basic necessities after all the games have been
packed. I suppose my old boardgames are a necessity of life too in
their own way. At least the games are in some sort of order now.
set them up on the bookshelf near the window - quite a tidy little
arrangement. So everything seems to be taken care of. I can breathe
A strange thing happened earlier this evening. I have the room next to
theirs. The bathroom adjoins mine. I was unpacking the suitcase. My
hands were quite grubby from all the sorting and handling. I wandered
into the bathroom to have a wash, and lo and behold, Christina was
lying there in the bathtub, undressed naturally, and humming a haunting
melody. The music of the spheres, I thought to myself. I blushed and
apologized profusely. She laughed and excused me. I came back into my
room. I was restless for some time. In desperation I got out one of my
favourite games. How good it was to hold the blue and yellow counters
in my hand again. The board and one of the dice have long since
vanished, but I made my own board and coloured it in. Buttons really do
make very effective counters. I played several inconclusive games. It
and the desired effect and I felt much calmer. Iím sure
enjoy it too. It is the ideal game for invalids - sedate and not too
demanding. Hopefully we shall advance onto something a little more
rewarding soon enough.
Tomorrow I might do some sightseeing around the town if the
fine. But for now itís high time I went to bed. Yes, I feel
comfortable here. One last look at the river and then bed.
September the 11th
Today has been very eventful. I woke early in my new room, as one
always does in a new room, and acquainted myself thoroughly with the
kitchen. I committed my first faux pas - unthinkingly eating
sausages. I walked past their bedroom on tiptoe but soon realized they
were wide awake. I could hear Gutmanís voice clearly. Alas,
talking animatedly about sausages. They are obviously
something of a treat for him. I thought Iíd better go and
him immediately my little mistake. I knocked and entered and exchanged
a warm good morning with them both. I thought it best to make light of
the whole business. I told Gutman Iíd been rummaging casually
the refrigerator and had come across some sausages. I commented briefly
on their excellent appearance. He agreed enthusiastically and said how
much he enjoyed a good sausage for breakfast and how therapeutic they
were. I asked him if I might perhaps join him for breakfast tomorrow.
Gutman was obviously delighted with the prospect and said,
Ironmonger, of course! But why not join me this morning?
for us both.í I broke the news as jovially as I could, hardly
the glum silence that ensued. ĎBut there were six,í
he finally said
very glumly. A gross exaggeration. I told him politely but firmly that
I was never in the habit of counting sausages and had no intention of
starting now. At that point Christina got out of bed, her flimsy
nightdress falling away from her breasts. I must confess I
where to look. Perhaps her unselfconsdousness is due to the fact that I
am a dwarf. But she is so innocent, so sweet to me. She bent down and
gave me a quick kiss on the forehead, holding my head between her
hands. Iíd never noticed what a beautiful scent she has -
I couldnít help once more admiring the exquisite shape of her
the few seconds she bent over me. In my embarrassment I blurted out
about the game. ĎWhat about a game of Horsies,
Gutman?í I said.
ĎHorsies?í said Gutman astonished.
I rushed back to my room and gathered up the said game, completely
forgetting my resolve of the previous evening to introduce Gutman to
one of the more sedate games first off. The game which goes under the
name Horsies is, in fact, the most fast-moving of all my games. I have
whiled away many a solitary hour with my gallant steeds. I have names
for them all. Upon my return to the room Christina was in the process
of getting dressed. I pretended not to notice. ĎHere it is,
said, resting the board on the bed. ĎBut theyíre
said Gutman, picking up one of the horses. Of course, he
been initiated into the finer points of the game. I told him how
thought of the idea for the game, and
showed him the board Iíd made. Itís covered in
pretty pastel squares. I
then told Gutman how Iíd coloured them all in myself with an
old set of
coloured pencils that Mother had given me years ago. Most of the
pencils have been sharpened so many times theyíre little more
stumps. You can barely hold them. Nevertheless, theyíre quite
sufficient for my purposes.
Despite appearances, the game is one of great complexity. I spent the
next thirty minutes explaining the ground-rules, the names of the
horses, the unique scoring system, the values of all the different
colours, and the rest. Gutman pretended to snore. Still, once we got
underway the morning passed pleasantly enough. My long experience with
the intricacies of the game carried the day however.
The afternoon was wasted unfortunately. Weíd only been
playing for a
couple of hours when Gutman accidentally upset the board. He then asked
me to run an errand for him. I was very happy to oblige. He wrote the
address on a piece of paper. I was to deliver a sack of potatoes. His
directions unfortunately were rather vague. Anyway, I set out. It was
very warm, real spring weather. Iíd never realized how heavy
a sack of
potatoes could be, especially in spring. I certainly became acquainted
with the town. It has many pleasant landmarks and places of interest,
apart from the dogs. But by dusk I still hadnít located the
street. Obviously Gutman had confused the names. The street apparently
did not exist. Or at least no-one had heard of Pox Lane when I accosted
them. It seems people here donít take very kindly to
strangers. In fact
they were quite suspicious of me, almost curt. Still, I suppose
the same everywhere these days. To cut a long story short, I dragged
the potato sack wearily home. It was well and truly dark by the time I
returned. I found the door bolted for the night, much to my chagrin.
They probably thought Iíd found alternative lodgings. Happily
side-window had been left open, just enough for me to scramble through.
Christina made me a cup of tea and said she was very sorry that Gutman
had sent me on the ill-fated errand.
I think I shall retire early tonight. Gutman seems to be in a bad mood
for some reason. I can hear him next door, pacing up and down and
talking quite loudly. I canít make out what heís
saying. Perhaps heís
in pain. Something about a nightdress. He keeps telling
her to close the window. He must have caught a chill. Oh dear, I almost
nodded off. Yes, thatís right. I just remembered what a
armchair they have in their room. Itís covered in pink
flowers and itís
tucked right away in the corner. Wouldnít it be wonderful to
be able to
sleep in the armchair? Just my size. What sweet dreams Iíd
Speaking of which, I think itís time I retired. Christina
bring me a cake before bed, but I canít wait up any longer.
look at the river and then Ďbeddy-byesí as my
mother used to say.
September the 12th
Today Iíve decided to break my rule. Itís still
quite early in the
morning but I thought it best to mention several things before the
hectic events of the day drive them from my mind. First and foremost, I
found a delicious cake beside my bed when I woke up. How thoughtful and
kind of Christina to remember her promise. Iím sure I never
my partiality to cakes, or at least only in passing. Iím
have always been my one vice. Still, I suppose there are worse vices in
this world than the odd cake. Just the same I shouldnít let
it get out
To pass on to less pedestrian matters. A strange thing happened last
night. After only a couple of nights Iíve become very fond of
at the river from my window, just for a few minutes before I hop into
bed. I was very tired last night so I couldnít write it down.
I wish I
had. It seems quite unreal now, in the light of day. Perhaps I just
dreamt it, but Iím sure I didnít. Itís
happened before, seeing odd
things when Iíve gotten over-tired. And they did warn me
about it I
suppose. But it was never that real, that definite.
This is what happened. I was looking at the river. It was a full
moon (yes, Iíll check that tonight) and the river seemed to
like liquid gold between the dark trees. An inland river is still a
strange thing to me, mysterious. I who was brought up so close to the
ocean waves. But I saw - and now it sounds silly -I saw an old sailing
ship, a galleon perhaps (what a beautiful word galleon is) lulling up
the river, its sails silver in the moonlight. Silent and ghostly. It
had a beautiful carved prow - a mermaid with long golden hair. Her
face shone radiantly. I peered and strained my eyes, pressing my face
against the window to see her better (the river is some distance off).
Then I recognized her. This is what I donít understand. It
Christinaís face, and, Iím ashamed to admit it, her
breasts as well.
But then the great ship glided on around the bend and her view was lost
to me. And I suddenly saw all the other creatures, the
the ship. It was awful. Monkeys clambered all over the rigging, and I
heard their screeching from afar. And on the deck there were goats, and
pigs - not ordinary pigs, but horrible ones -and there were all sorts
of strange-looking people, as if they were deformed or crippled, but I
couldnít see properly. They were scurrying all over the
squawking. Some of the people were riding on the pigs and jumping on
them. And all the while a solitary figure in the crowís nest
staring out who knows where. He had the face of a simpleton, and he was
pissing down onto the deck and staring out with a stupid sort of smile.
But it all only lasted for a few seconds. I was too tired even to feel
distressed. But today is a new day and I must thank Christina for the
cake. Perhaps I should broach the subject of the armchair with her.
Perhaps also introduce Gutman to the subtle novelties of Snails - a
game for thinkers. Acquaint him with the colourful history of the game.
Well, the whole day still awaits me. Itís high time I said
to Christina. I havenít been this excited for ages. At long
last I feel
that old urge to get on with things - so without further ado...