Notes from a London Gentleman – A Short Story

I invite you, Dear Reader, into my home.
It is a dark, simple, three room affair consisting of a washroom, kitchen, and then a living room which also serves as a sleeping area. The walls and windows are tall with little light entering through the curtains from the street outside. There is a table covered with various documents and a pair of leather armchairs, worn with age but quite comfortable. The fire is burning with a comfortable glow and, on the well worn rug in front of the hearth, lies the sprawled corpse of a man named Daniels; a cut runs across his throat to tell of his last experiences. I stare at him as his eyes roll back to a stop within his skull, and I go to the kitchen to make some fresh tea, my previous cup is now cold and
quite unpotable.

Earlier in the evening I had been enjoying the artwork of Delacroix at the city’s national gallery. I find his work to be a little base, almost vulgar in it’s presentation of drama and movement but there are certain elements that catch my eye and were distracting enough to keep me in those rooms for a number of hours. Before I finaly left, I took a few moments to sit and view the centrepiece of the exhibition, “Liberty Leading the People”. It is an obvious and almost jingoistic piece full of flag waving and simplistic revolutionary fervour, but also has some wonderful burning buildings and the corpses are almost
to touch.

As I rose to exit the building, I noticed I had somehow caught the attention of a man who was now (badly I might add) attempting to follow me out of the gallery and, as I turned into Chandos Street, he did likewise. I stopped, turned, and asked if we had somehow previously made acquaintance of one another. In the street light I made out he was a little embarressed, hesitant even. He explained that he had seen me enjoying the pieces and was wondering if there might be an opportunity to discuss the works somewhere
more informal.

I asked him his name, and took the opportunity to invite him back to my rooms where I had some papers on the subject he was more than welcome to browse through and perhaps take a drink while doing so. He agreed, we hailed a taxi, and within a few minutes of him entering my room I had pierced and then cut his throat with a letter opener and was now searching for the Earl Grey. I presumed that Mr Daniels would not be needing
one for himself.

The inhabited streets of London are quite empty between the hours of three and five in the morning and I find this is a very convenient time at which to dispose of guests who have outstayed their welcome. This also fits in quite nicely with the lifestyle in which
I find myself.

My life is as follows: I arise around five o’clock in the early evening and enjoy a light snack, some toast and perhaps a little fruit. Ensuring I am dressed in a manner fit for the evenings endeavours, I make my way into the city at around seven. This is the best time, I find, as the employed masses are invariably moving in the opposite direction of myself, and those living in the centre have not quite ventured to the restaurants in the swarming numbers of the later hours.

The city offers a wealth of entertainment on various levels. The operas might not show as wide a variety as much as one might prefer but the theatres reliably rotate play after play after musical to ensure that a year in London is certainly not a boring one.

Dinner, later on, I prefer to take at a small out of the way place called Malroy’s on Litchfield Street, they keep a late menu. It is near enough to the hustle of the city for later opportunities but off the track enough to keep away the unwanted tourists and ruffians that might otherwise stay my appetite and disturb my meal.

After wandering the streets for a short while to take in the city air, I then consider my short journey home which is best taken past the now closing pubs and bars of the Soho area as one can often find a lone person, somewhat worse for wear, attempting to stagger home alone via the backstreets. Mr Daniels was a deviation from my usual evening’s direction as I prefer to be somewhat opportunistic in my endeavours.

Dear Reader, I must advise: It really does one no good at all to draw attention to oneself with careless fingerprints or mislaid handkerchiefs and the disposal of corpses which one might find thrilling at the onset, I assure you, very quickly become a tiresome bore. It is impractical and ungentlemanly to wander the less walked streets of the city attempting to discover a stretch of unwatched canal or an overgrown parkland where one might then have to drag a wieghty corpse.

It takes time, it increases the opportunity of discovery, and it creases ones clothes terribly. In a brief moment of madness it occurred to me to keep less refined clothes for such a purpose but this soon passed.

I have tripped people at the tops of stairs, flipped some into walls by way of a walking stick to a drunken foot, and kicked some into the path of oncoming traffic while standing, myself, between parked vehicles. The newspapers have yet to inform me of these “hideously unfortunate accidents” being investigated by the authorities as anything exactly that, and some cases are not reported upon at all.

After concluding my evening’s activities, I return to my rooms to read for a short while before turning myself in for a well deserved rest.

My life is calm, I have no companions of which to speak and a career of any description has long not been required. Dear Reader, I am currently quite satisfied.

London truly does bring wonderful opportunities for the modern Gentleman.

 

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