Chef found himself in a race with two of the missing turkeys, newly fitted with rather clever wheelwork brains! Chef was beside himself, for although he is a genius, he is a deeply conservative man, and finds certain types of innovation disturbing. Claire was nowhere to be seen, but I sensed her hand in the affair with a surety.
“Wicked, wicked boy!” cried the unhappy chef de cuisine, “It is you avec les tours infernaux! C’est impossible! I cannot create in these conditions!”
“Adolphus, these are terribly clever, but you must apologize to Chef.” I said. “And to make reparation you will assist him prepare for the feast in every possible way until he releases you.”
“Oh no, no, alors! I cannot create ze feast magnifique with thees urchin smirking at me. I will not have him in ma kitchen!”
“But surely there are many potatoes to peel?” I suggested.
Chef muttered something that, as a lady, I found unintelligible. Then he slowly folded his arms and assumed the gleeful look of a man contemplating the possibilities of revenge through manual labor.
“Very well. He shall work off thees outrage in ma kitchen, but with a bag over his head. I will have no smirk!”
“Oh, I say!” protested Adolphus.
“It’s only right, my dear,” I said. “It’s either that or you’ll have to work extra shifts in the boiler.”
“It’s a jollier time with the boiler monkeys than peeling potatoes with a bag over my head!”
“Nevertheless,” spoke Herr vonHedwig, arriving at the scene of the destruction, “you shall provide yourself with a roomy bag with adequate eye-holes and report to the galley post haste. And, after your Grandmama leaves, you may diagram these cunning devices in your lab book. They’re rather nice work!”
At the farther end of the passageway, Ulrik deftly quenched the small fire engulfing the geared cranium of the winning bird. (In order to succeed as Herr vonHedwig’s laboratory assistant, one must be most conscientious in the matter of quenching fires.) One of the boiler crew turned up with the remaining birds over his sturdy shoulders. They had been found in the children’s lab, and had the look of prototypes about them, one with exposed wires sparking listlessly. Adolphus retrieved the other animal, which had been moving in smaller and smaller circles along the passage, then followed Chef, bravely accepting his fate.
Here is an excerpt from Adolphus’ laboratory book, documenting the post-mortem race.
After that, the onslaught of the relatives was positively tame! The only further incident occurred as we cast off. The last grappling hook became lodged in the decorative brickwork of the medieval tower, and as we powered away from the fortification I’m afraid we pulled it over just a bit. So sorry!
Until next time dear reader,
I remain your faithful friend,