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Mrs Bookery's Etiquette of Common Situations
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Situation: On discovering in company that the roaring drawing-room fire has revealed the indolence of the sweep in recovering his youthful assistant.

Attitude: Playful.

Solution: Remark that you did not realise this was the smoking-room and suggest the party move to the library. Dismiss firm of sweeps.
Situation: On exposure; left alone in room with revolver.

Attitude: Stoic.

Solution: Shoot your way out.
Situation: On impregnating maid.

Attitude: Composed.

Solution: Engage similar but unfecundated maid.
Situation: Denied egress from hideout by vigilante mob.

Attitude: Ambitious.

Solution: Take to the rooftops.
Situation: On entering raised carriage; rising of clothing indicates momentarily possession of ankle.

Attitude: Shamed.

Solution: Become monk.
Situation: On leading cavalry charge against enemy guns; struck in chest by grape; tumbling from mount, dragged briefly by twisted stirrup; drawn up beside enemy position; receiving sabre to weskit.

Attitude: Cheerful.

Solution: Expire thinking of Emily and little Ned.
Situation: In company, arousal.

Attitude: Shrewd.

Solution: Feign seizure.
Situation: As ward of kindly, monied aunt with imposing country estate; on learning details of disbursement under aunt's will.

Attitude: Aspirational.

Solution: A carefully plotted programme of incidents and misbehaviour designed to place madness in the aunt's head is wasteful of time and effort; fasten aunt into attic and busy oneself productively while nature takes its course.
Situation: Caught as scrumper.

Attitude: Resourceful.

Solution: Escape by jet-pack.
Situation: Interruption by socialists of income from foreign interests.

Attitude: Businesslike.

Solution: Insure concerns handsomely; invent Molly Maguires.
Situation: Trapped on the dark side of the moon.

Attitude: British.

Solution: Consult eight-day clock and employ sentenoid laundress; absence of diurnal cycle is no excuse to forego the correctness of morning attire, &c.
Situation: Defeat at lawn tennis.

Attitude: Sporting.

Solution: Accept loss gracefully; retire to house pleading heat; belabour servants until racquet breaks.
Situation: At dinner; MR C LEE accidentally stabbed to death by MR P CUSHING during the fish course; MR C LEE disintegrates.

Attitude: Prepared.

Solution: Gather MR C LEE in a napkin and have a servant reconstitute the ashes in the library with a little fresh blood and a replacement dinner suit. A trusted butler needs no supervision in this matter; therefore there need be no troublesome interruption in conversation. If this is a winter party, remember to divide the guests deftly into two groups for any subsequent games, in order to keep MR C LEE away from MR A KEIR during the ice-skating.
Situation: An evening in; a guest with an inexhaustible repertoire of light comedy songs.

Attitude: Charitable.

Solution: Rise smartly in your place; draw attention strikingly to the face, the horrible face at the window. Once orders have been given for an exhaustive search to be made of the grounds by armed men, the entertainment can easily be manoeuvred towards charades.
Situation: Arrangement of rooms precludes discreet assignations.

Attitude: Visionary.

Solution: Invent the adjoining door; assignatories can reasonably be expected to work out the rest among themselves.
Situation: Ship holed.

Attitude: Resolute.

Solution: Save ship.
Situation: Determined to make one's way in the world; as governess, with unruly charges; a good impression is necessary.

Attitude: Practical.

Solution: Administer laudanum.
Situation: As fly; caught by flickering tongue of frog.

Attitude: Nutritious.

Solution: Unstitch oneself in the frog's crunching maw; dissolve helpfully in its stomach.
Situation: As foremost cartographer of the day; deciding on the colour of Empire for the world's maps.

Attitude: Secure.

Solution: Choose pink. Should anyone gain oikish merriment from this decision, invade and crush them utterly, then document them in pink also.
Situation: As Mr The Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, strolling through the House of Commons lobby; approached by bankrupt merchant John Bellingham armed with a pistol.

Attitude: Cool.

Solution: Disarm Bellingham by jabbing ferrule of umbrella into inside of his wrist; step forward, putting whole weight behind single blow with palm of hand beneath ribcage, flipping Bellingham backwards through a window; turn to Bellingham's gang of ninja assassins, dab handkerchief to lips and say, "Well, gentlemen, shall we see for whom the division bell tolls?"
Situation: Pudding Lane aflame.

Attitude: Decisive.

Solution: Move to Edinburgh.
Situation: After lingering illness, consciousness regained; buried alive, as you always feared one day would happen.

Attitude: Vindicated.

Solution: Escape by pressing a lever.
Situation: Caught escaping your tomb by your poisoning relatives; bricked into wall, as you always feared one day would happen.

Attitude: Far-sighted.

Solution: Escape through opposite wall by means of tiny toolbag concealed on your person.
Situation: Caught in adjacent room; stabbed; shot; beaten with spade; flung into river; jumped on; set afire; spilled into fusty mineshaft.

Attitude: Complacent.

Solution: Ascend to heaven as is the right of all Britons; change your will several weeks ago.
Situation: Passing the port to the wrong side.

Attitude: Quick-witted.

Solution: Pass the port to the right side.
Situation: Yacht boarded by pirates.

Attitude: Imperturbable.

Solution: Instruct the galley to crush the ice so there are drinks available for all.
Situation: Steeplechasing for the price of a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape; barely maintaining the lead you clear a hedge and find yourself churning through a raging farmer's furrows.

Attitude: Conscientious.

Solution: Fling placatory handfuls of coins over your shoulder with a merry apology; with practice and careful aim these can accidentally blind your opponent.
Situation: In court; commanded to plead Guilty or Not Guilty.

Attitude: Imperious.

Solution: Draw oneself to full height; decline to dignify clerk with acknowledgement by fixing penetrating gaze on stationary object; reply British.
Situation: In telling of anecdote, conclusion fails your memory.

Attitude: Nimble.

Solution: Break off suddenly, explaining with an inadequately suppressed catch that you are overwhelmed with thoughts of poor little Bobby and his flaxen curls, whose favourite anecdote this was. Leave the room immediately and throw yourself noisily under a carriage. Upon recovery, study anecdote more closely.
Situation: Adrift in an open lifeboat under the pounding Pacific sun.

Attitude: Sensible.

Solution: Undo the top button of your collar on the fifth day.
Situation: On launching ship; bottle strikes hull, but does not break.

Attitude: Game.

Solution: Break the bottle with a miniature cannon kept in your valise for such a purpose. Some light damage to the hull is acceptable.
Situation: Sent down from university.

Attitude: Foppish.

Solution: Sponge.
Situation: Travelling around the world in eighty days.

Attitude: Broad-minded.

Solution: Briefly appreciate each stop's rich contribution of culture, except where this is impossible because of scheduling, or the culture contradicts the Lord's ineffable plan as skilfully implied in the composition of Britain.
Situation: Duelling; suddenly realising the absurdity of the disagreement; considering the fragile mortality of your opponent.

Attitude: Honourable.

Solution: Discharge your pistol harmlessly into the soil.
Situation: Duelling; suddenly realising the absurdity of the disagreement; considering the fragile mortality of your opponent; noticing he has discharged his pistol harmlessly into the soil.

Attitude: Comparably honourable.

Solution: Discharge your pistol harmlessly into the air.
Situation: Duelling; having both realised the absurdity of the disagreement; the fragile mortality of one's opponent considered; pistols discharged harmlessly into soil and air.

Attitude: Gentlemanly.

Solution: Clap each other across the shoulders, laughing heartily. Exchange copies of Etiquette Of Common Situations by Mrs Bookery; continue to laugh heartily, swearing friendship and beckoning in seconds until the entire duelling party is shaking hands and laughing heartily to the point where an imaginary observer might reasonably be expected to have withdrawn from the scene; go home for a large breakfast.
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