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"The Memoir Aristocratic" from Saturday Evening Post

by Ellis Parker Butler
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from Saturday Evening Post
The Memoir Aristocratic
by Ellis Parker Butler

Ms Done by the English Upper Classes
(Typed by Ellis Parker Butler)

Oddly enough my first meeting with Queen Victoria -- ("The Queen," as my dear old friend the Duke of Coffanspit called her -- but not, of course, until after the Boer War, for, as Walter, the sixteenth Earl of Ofilsouse, told me, the Duke always wore yellow spats before that fatal affair with Madame Pompadour, who, as everyone knew, was the mother sub-rosa of Napoleon Bonaparte, he and she being twins, a fact few suspected because of her much greater age. I had this direct from little Kate Knipps, the third daughter of that frightful old bore, Edelbertus Knipps, the American ironmonger fellow, she later making that unfortunate alliance with Wally, Viscount Odealot, the beginning of which it was my fortune to see, for I remember we were having five o'clock tea in the tennis court at Weemps, Lord Alfred Tennyson's delightful country house near Weemps-Weemps, the own house of Edbert -- "Snooty" -- Rimcut, later made Earl of Freydham, who always had ortolans for breakfast, from the King of Serbia's estate, with boiled onions. But that, of course, was not generally known.)


And speaking of my first meeting with Queen Victoria, which did not take place until our third meeting, we both being absent on the first two occasions and only the Queen present on the second, the Queen ("Her Majesty," as the Earl of Soorgaz called her affectionately, his Second Footman being the notorious Harry Hurlingham, formerly employed by the Prince de Blakleg who had the affair with little Rosa Oppelduckheim, so long the favorite of the Czar of Persia, Mustapha Kamal, I having myself seen the letter that dear old Spoofy -- as I called the Archbishop of Canterbury -- did not write to George Washington, asking whether the Duchess of Ritz actually had the German measles as reported or merely the divorce. However, I think the matter was never settled, my dear friend Sappho -- the poet, not Baron Loggerbier's seventh wife -- dying before the Earl of Pifflemere could find the hairpins, but perhaps the least said about it the better).


And speaking of my first meeting with Queen Victoria -- a cultured lady but one whom I never had the pleasure of meeting -- I recall a very laughable incident told me by the Prince de Blakleg, which occurred to him just before his first marriage and a few weeks after he had divorced his third wife, the beautiful Duchess de Camembert, when we were both guests at the Palace of Versailles, which had not then been built, the site being occupied by the hunting lodge of Count Dugbert Pfimps ("Nosey," as we called him) although the hunting lodge was not there at the time, not having been erected until much later, the Duke having lost both legs at the battle of Prague, a sad affair that brought about his downfall although fortunately he escaped without injury. It seemed that the Earl of Hoboken, who was extremely fond of stewed prunes, which he had sent to him by the crate by special courier every morning from the estate of the Hetman of Mesopotamia, Ghengiz Khan (the Second, not the First) who had married Emma, Duchess of Killemkwik, after the death of her husband (that silly Georges Wrottenwayze, whose shop in the Rue Camphenol was owned by Rachel, the actress who made such a stir when she played in Peter Pan, her husband being the third Duke of Dischewottor).

Dischewottor, by the way, was almost ridiculously particular about his trousers, always insisting that they have two legs, one on each side, extending upward and downward, with buttons here and there on the upper portions of the trousers, but otherwise -- except in that affair of the fried potatoes and Lady Rahmanners -- not a bad fellow.


And speaking of my first meeting with the Queen (her name was Victoria but she was so friendly with me she always let me call her "Your Royal Highness") I have always regretted that she died before I was born, for we had many good times together.

I recall one incident that may not be without interest to those who remember the scandal created by the loss of the Kohinoor. On that afternoon I was wearing a hat, an article of apparel which the dear Prince (Wales) seldom appeared on the streets without, one of his best friends being Lord Braynluss, the same who afterward married little Jane Spiggott, Lady Muffinbutter's daughter ("Old Hoss Muffinbutter") who was then confined to her palace with a severe attack of corns, which, by the way, was also the affliction of the Duke of Toulouse ("Flim Flam") whose daughter, the beautiful Lady Wiffus, made the sixth in four, playing against the Duchess of Nomunny. I was not there at the time.


But speaking of my first meeting with Queen Victoria ("the wiff," as dear Prince Albert never called her) I well remember what she said to me just after shaking hands with Gladdy (Mr. Gladstone, inventor of the valise) at Windsor Castle. I was then in South Africa ("Affy," as the Duke of Kummel-Leven prettily nicknamed it) stopping at Orstable-on-Alley, Lord Fathed's beautiful estate in Djebt, he having just married the late Baroness Epsumsalz, at whose dinners my dear friend, the Earl of Jacquekasserie, was never present. I mean, of course, Lady Wurst-Manners (of the club-footed Wurst-Manners, of Cussalot, not the one with the glass eye, for that was Lord Ellupus' fault). At any rate it seems that there were two Irishmen, one named Pat and one named Mike, but the latter was not, if I remember rightly, the celebrated Michael O'Mike, of Ossory, for he was the one who eloped with little Sue Fralomony, who had been Count Emout's mistress. However, the Emperor -- I refer, of course, to His Imperial Highness -- denied it at the time, but I was not present and can only say what I was told. Personally I have never had any reason to doubt it.



Saturday, October 07 at 1:12:45am USA Central
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