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Players were obliged to use three of the following words in each game
egregious, bayonet, albatross, gang, rattle, plunger, toady, villain, mistress, bleeding, quarter, gutter
without repeating a word within an episode, though it could be used again in another episode.

The Game

[gdf] It was a magnificent summer day in the sleepy village of Upper Critchley on the Downs in deepest Sussex, and the morning dew in the grass meadows had long since evaporated in the hot sunshine. In short it was an ideal day for a prizefighting meet! Lord Mellor-Phantman himself had put up a substantial prize of 250 pounds for the main attraction: a fight between the American challenger Black Belcher Bramwell and Stomppin' Skinner, the defending English Champion who was the only prizefighter to have gained a Cambridge Blue on account of flattening the Oxford Rugger XV in as many minutes!! The People had come from far and wide to view the many and varied competitors. Jack Aubrey had long wanted to introduce his son George to the ancient art of prize fighting, and this glorious chance had arrived out of the blue while Jack was on leave, much to the disapproval of Mrs Aubrey. With Diana being absent, Jack had invited Stephen along, since both Aubreys considered Barham Down to be a miserable place and it might divert the good Doctor's melancholy thoughts. Stephen had agreed to accompany Jack and George to the meeting, subject to the condition that he was upon no account to be subjected to the exquisite mental torture of a Cricket match. Stephen had often wondered why the English seemed so attached to such peculiar games which were incomprehensible to other nationalities.

Every splendid day has one lead lining somewhere and Preserved Killick was the sole exception to this splendid day. He was in charge of the picnic lunch carefully arranged and prepared by Mrs Aubrey. Killick's natural shrewishness and vindictive behaviour soon revealed itself, as he guarded the highly polished silver against the gypsies who continually harassed him to buy a sprig of lucky heather, buy tips, or some low VILLAIN making him offers to share the profits from running off with the silver. When not repelling unwanted boarders, Killick was engaged in a campaign against encroaching regiments of ants with a ferocity that would have frightened many of the King's enemies had they but seen him.

Young Master George, his eyes gleaming with the excitement of it all, had gone off with Bonden and the other seamen to explore the lists and meet some of the participants. He was so eager to learn the various moves and holds, such as the PLUNGER and the Trinque TOADY trap and had tried to demonstrate his proficiency and mastery by attempting to tackle Bonden every day for the last week. So it was with some relief that Jack and Stephen having some time to spare before the bouts began, walked up the freshly mown meadow to the bookies to review the odds upon various fighters. With Stephen being the very sole of discretion, Jack had no fear that word of his betting would inadvertantly reach Sophie, since George was under the careful supervision of Barret Bonden.

[sdw] George, however, was distracted by the ancillary pleasures of the fight: the stands selling muffins, beer and cider; the wandering minstrels and jugglers, and the dark, swarthy woman carrying a tray on her shoulder, tantalizingly out of George's field of view. She plied a brisk business among the crowd, laughing, taking money, handing out little bundles from her tray, and otherwise calling out "ERGREGIOUS! BAYONET! ALBATROSS!".

"If you please, Bonden," George whispered, "What is she selling?"

Bonden's face passed through a rapid permutation of blank unknowing, puzzlement, and forthrightness before he collected himself and said "Why, don't you know, mate? Those are

[bab] nasty foreign things, you don't want to be messing around with those Master George, oh dear me, no".

Faster Doudle, on George's other side, assumed a solemn expression, nodded and improvised wildly: "I knew a poor BLEEDING sod bought a EGREGIOUS once - Chips Zimmermann, it was, carpenter of the Greaser's Mistake - never played the bassoon again, dead within the fortnight and horrible spots all over what was left of him."

Bonden shook his head "And him so pretty too". Then addressing his mate over George's head, "Those ALBATROSSES are even worse", he remarked, " I'd have been the challenger for Lord Mellor-Phantman's purse today if I'd steered clear of them as a little lad. But did I pay my old mother any heed? I did not. And now Master George here can knock me down any time he likes".

"Aarrrrrghhhhhh! ...

[shw] George giggled happily. He enjoyed the rare moments of delight when adults talked silly. Well did he know, of course, what the woman was vending - he just wanted to hear the adults say the delicious, naughty word out loud to him. It was obviously HADDOCK. She must be a fish vendor, by the wondrously short dress she was wearing (obviously designed to not drag along the smelly fishdocks), and the way men were whispering "here, pussy pussy pussy" towards her. George knew well enough how cats love fish.

Barrett Bonden led him to meet a crony, a pugilist he had known from his glory days aboard the frigate "Death-RATTLE" - a mumping GUTTER-snipe behemoth(1) villain named Baker, whom Bonden had only just barely bested for the ship's boxing championship. Baker had scratched and clawed and bitten and pulled hair and even trod on Bonden's toes. Bonden had overcome these tactics by pointing out to seaman-boxer Baker that his bootlaces were untied; and when Baker looked down to point out that he was barefoot, Bonden punched him so hard in his ____ that his BLEEDING ____ had to be restored to good graces by Dr. Maturin with a hammered-out tuppence.

"Tuppence was good enough for you," Bonden roared in greeting him today. "If all I'd had was an American QUARTER, you'd still be a-lying atrip on the deck, nor would you ever again be a-lying atrip with your MISTRESS, you slab-sided Dutch-built ALBATROSS."

"Barrett Bonden!" Baker bellowed on espying his friend, clasping his former boxing opponent to his hairy bosom. "And this young lad must be your son, Sam Panda, I take it?"`

[gdf]"Enough of your BLEEDING humour, Baker!" retorted Barret Bonden, " This here's young Master George, Captain Aubrey's boy. You'll remember him as he gave you a dozen of the cat back in the HMS Lively! And mind you keep a civil tongue in your head. We'll not put up with your scumspawn talk here, you know!"

"I wuz only joking, mate. Nothink personal like," replied a somewhat dejected Baker, "We're all mates here, you knows. Here, Master George is a half a crown. Go buy yourself some sweets, and pint of sherbert for that varmint Killick, whilest Bonden and I sort the wheat from the chaff."

Young Master George was delighted at receiving the princely sum of half a crown for his own pleasure, albeit that he had to buy Killick a pint of sherbert upon Baker's orders. With a nod from Bonden, George gratefully accepted the half crown and gleefully ran off into the crowds in search of a sweet stall. After a few minutes George had quickly located the nearest sweetstall, and homed in upon it with the piratical skill and instinct only known to children. MISTRESS Skinner's Sweet and Confectionary stall displayed an amazingly selection of most delectable delights known to human palate. George, with the innocence of childhood, smiled at the kindly but gin sodden old lady who served him and ordered a pint of sherbert for Mr Killick. Then George decided upon what delicious confectionary he would indulge upon himself.

"Thankee Ma'am. And I'll have a half a pound of Bulls eyes as well." said George, drooling at the very prospect. Mistress Skinner left her gin bottle and slowly prepared his order, when another customer arrived behind George. Whilest George was distracted by the charms of Mistress Skinner's wares, he failed to notice the sinister looking figure standing behind him in its black hat and long dark coat, its mis-shapen face hidden by the cowels of his cloak, even upon this summer's day he obviously rejected the sunlight Curious garments for such a sunny day. The man upon noticing George, smiled and said...

"Well, you are a bright lad! Would you like to see my ALBATROSS!"

[sdw] But no answer did George give, for before he could compose his mind, four broad, horny hands seized the man by the arms, and Killick's GANG RATTLED the man down for a PLUNGER in the dew pond. There they left him, deep in the greeny slime, and hurried back down the hillside to the knot of men crowded round the

[bab] bookie who was dealing out greasy notes and suspect, indeed EGREGRIOUS coin to a circle of grinning yokels. "Thirty livres nought and 3 farthings... oh how I wish I had never given up the sea ... Five groats, one pfennig...the British Champion carried home on a hurdle and that colonial bugger off to London with his mates and barely a mark on him...That's a right silver dollar, that is, prize money from the Manila galleon which I was there ...and poor MISTRESS Skinner taken weak in the legs of a sudden what with the shock and the gin...an order upon the Bank of the Holy Ghost and Commerce for eight hundred maravedis...if I wasn't a bookie I wouldn't be here... tuppence?!?...oh, very droll, Baker, very droll. You want to know what I think mate? I'll tell you what I think mate, he was slipped an ALBATROSS in his water bottle all unbeknownst like, that's what I think mate and old Black Hat tipped these flaming vultures the nod...fourteen Dutch guilder one zloty..."

Unperceived by all but George, a creature rose from out the greeny slime above them, shook its batlike cloak, adjusted its hat, and seemed to glide, glide down the summery hillside to be ushered straight into a waiting coach, a glossy black coach, with the austere livery of two Boston beans, crossed.

It had been a very interesting day altogether but now he thought he might like to go home to his mother.

The End.

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