I’ve cancelled tonight. Not literally. The sun will still go down, the stars will still come out and heavy clouds will still roll over and soak the crowds from emptied nightclubs at 2:07 AM. What I’ve cancelled is the date Julie and I had planned. It was going to be a dinner at the Savoy followed by a production of “Writing for Shoes” at the little theatre just off Leicester Square and finishing off with cocktails at the Hellfire Club (I’ve been a member there for almost seventy years. Ironic, really, when I had the pleasure of introducing the previous manager to my variation of Hellfire when he fell down a flight of stair carrying a crate of absinthe.
Why have I cancelled tonight, you ask. It’s because of Julie. She’s put her eye out. Not as dreadful as it seems when you consider that her eye is false to begin with, but it’s the only one she can see with. The other, natural, eye is perfectly attached but since she’s a Dead Mage (as in mage of the Dead rather than, you know, not breathing any more) it sees only the spirit world, which is of little use when you’re trying to watch a mortal play.
We’ve spent the last two hours searching for it. She thinks she put it out with the empty milk bottles, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she put it out with the recycled glassware. Have you ever tried to find an eyeball in half a hundredweight of discarded marbles?
It’s not easy, but the cats-eye ones look great on her.
I dissected the poppet today. Not destroyed the enchantment or anything – I can’t afford to do that until I understand exactly what it does. It was an interesting little beastie, sewn together very simply using blanket stitch on a bit of flock canvas. The face was embroidered in yellow thread -- simply eyes, nose and mouth – and the hair made of a stitched-on section of unspun sheep’s wool.
It was stuffed, as I discovered with the aid of a craft-shop scalpel, with the scrapings of a tumble drier trap. Another oddity in a doll purportedly made in the seventeenth century, but not a worrying one, unless you count the dog hair and polyester fibres amongst the blue lint. Why is lint always blue? I (technically Julie or Felicia) can dry a load of albino white towels and the lint from them will still be blue.
No. The strangest thing about this little bit of witchcraft was the hair used to bind it to Harold. When I met him, he had a regulation short back and sides in brown. When I helped him upgrade his image his hair turned platinum and grew down his back. It was these long hairs that bound him to the doll which makes it no more than three years old.
I can’t get over the feeling that the person who placed this here knows Harold really well. I’d suggest an ex-girlfriend if he had any. It’s not Ada’s style and it’s certainly not Frederick’s. To have made and placed it so accurately implies that it was someone in Harold’s family.
That and the fact that the little calico todger is in exact proportion to the real Harold’s.