by Dawn Knox
Previously: The wedding preparations are continuing… going on and on. How is Crispin supposed to arrange a wedding day and pack so much into a mere twenty-four hours?
Even More Wedding Preparations
“Shh!” said Sylvester frowning at Crispin’s wedding timetable, “I can’t concentrate with you bashing all those tins together. But I can see what you mean about these timings. Stanley’ll have to be up before he goes to bed to have the carriage ready for the ceremony. Unless…”
“Unless you use Pie Skology.”
Sylvester tapped the side of his nose.
“I’ll tell you all about it once I’ve had beans on toast…”
“That’s brilliant!” said Crispin. “Now let me get this straight. You say something to get people to change their minds so they do the things you wanted them to do in the first place? Like mind games?
“Mmmwf,” said Sylvester, nodding.
“Wipe your chin. You’re dribbling bean juice.”
It was likely that the dirty lunch plates would still be piled up in the sink when Crispin returned later, but he would forgive Sylvester almost anything if his Pie Skology plan worked. It had better work because he’d already printed out all the timetables with his new timings and it was too late to change anything now. Not that Nina or her family would necessarily agree and if they didn’t like his amendments, they’d expect him to keep to the original impossible plan and to redo the timetables but if Sylvester’s Pie Skology worked, everyone would have a great day and Crispin would still be alive at midnight on the day of the wedding.
“Well, aren’t you going to Nina’s to show her your timetable?” Sylvester asked.
“Ummm… I thought I might wait until later… or possibly tomorrow.” His nerve was failing at the thought of the Russian dolls – Nina, her mother and grandmother.
“The early bird catches the worm, so strike while the worm is hot,” Sylvester said.
“But… but…” Nina was almost speechless when Crispin proposed that the ceremony started well after sunrise.
Queenie stood with hands on hips and Grannie gnashed her gums but Crispin stood his ground.
“Well, it was just a suggestion but I suppose you’re right. I was a bit worried that Stanley might not be able to see where he was going but I’ll tell everyone to stand well back from the path, in case he runs anyone down in the darkness.”
“But if people stand well back, they won’t be able to see my little girl in her wonderful carriage…”
“That’s true,” said Crispin, “no, I suppose they won’t be able to see much in the darkness…”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of it being completely dark,” said Nina, “it would be a shame if no one could see me, wouldn’t it?”
Queenie and Granny nodded.
“Yes, everyone needs to see my little girl,” said Queenie. Granny muttered something toothlessly, which Crispin took as agreement. Surprised and delighted by this minor triumph, he carried on.
“Well, how about this for a plan? You and Doggett watch the sunrise together, perhaps from the Alpine Garden. We could delay the ceremony until it’s light and then we’d all be able to see you when you arrive in your carriage.”
“Good idea,” said Queenie.
Crispin couldn’t believe it had worked. Using Pie Skology, he’d done the equivalent of moving a mountain. And now the bride and groom would share a romantic sunrise, preparing for their wedding and everyone else would get an extra hour of sleep.
Now for the maypole dancing…
“And, I wanted to propose that perhaps we didn’t insist everyone danced around the maypole.”
Queenie’s hands were back on her hips, a scowl on her face.
“I just didn’t want people to wear themselves out around the maypole and then not have time to dress for the masked ball in the evening. And of course, if people are tired in the evening, they might not dance and a ball where no one dances might not be considered a total success…”
“Hmm, Crispin has a point, Mum. Perhaps it might be a good idea if just a few people took part.”
“If you think so, dear. But please keep those dreadful Fairies away from the maypole.”
Crispin couldn’t believe it. He’d struck while the worm was hot and turned an impossible day into one that just might be enjoyable—and possible—after all.
How did Sylvester know about the use of Pie Skology to get people to do something they hadn’t previously wanted to do? And more importantly, how often had he used it on Crispin? He had the distinct feeling it had been used on him more than once.
When the wedding was over, things were definitely going to change.
“Crispin, wait for me!” It was Lulu. And she was running down the path after him.
He sighed and gritted his teeth as her shouts assaulted his eardrums.
Try as he might, Crispin’s Pie Skology wasn’t potent enough to convince Lulu not to accompany him while he delivered the timetables to those Garden Ornaments who had key roles in the wedding. Crispin’s first stop was the clearing, to give Stanley the good news that he had extra time in bed and he wondered if the unicorn would be able to lend him any cotton wool to stuff in his ears before Lulu’s piercing tones ruptured them. The unicorn was indeed delighted he had more time to get himself in harness on the wedding day and handed Crispin a large handful of cotton wool.
“What’s wrong with your ears?” Lulu asked.
“Umm…” said Crispin, who’d tried to stuff the cotton wool in his ears without Lulu seeing, “umm…”
“He has an allergy,” said Stanley quickly.
“Oh, what’s he allergic to?” asked Lulu.
“Well, it’s a bit complicated,” said Stanley.
“But with that in his ears, he won’t be able to hear me,” said Lulu, “shall I speak up?”
“No!” said Stanley and Crispin together.
The next stop was McTavish’s house. Crispin’s heart was heavy, remembering the last time he’d been here, looking for the beautiful Angel he’d met at the New Year’s Ball. He hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind but McTavish’s sisters hadn’t returned to stay with him and the Cherub was very vague about their whereabouts or even their existence.
“I can’t be expected to remember every Tom, Dick or Harry,” he’d grumbled the last time Crispin had broached the subject of his sisters. And Crispin had given up. If McTavish didn’t know where his sisters were or even who his sisters were, Crispin was unlikely ever to see Bella, the lovely Angel, again. If the feather that had fallen from her wing hadn’t still been on his bedside table, he might be tempted to wonder if he’d imagined her.
McTavish was at the door, in his dressing-gown, a cigar in one hand and a glass of brown liquid in the other. A raw egg yolk bobbed up and down in the brown sludge, as the Cherub became agitated.
“Yes, yes, I told you it was all under control. A dozen swans and an owl.”
“No!” said Crispin in alarm, “A dozen white doves and an owl.”
“Doves, swans. Whatever,” said McTavish. The egg yolk surfaced on top of the drink like a rising sun and then sank again into the depths.
“But they must be doves,” insisted Crispin.
“Yes, doves,” said Lulu, picking up on the hysterical note in Crispin’s voice and adding her support.
“Stop shouting,” shouted McTavish.
“Please,” said Crispin, “I just need to know. Did you order doves or swans?”
“Doves or swans?” insisted Lulu.
“Yes!” said McTavish and with that, he slammed the door.
Lulu tucked her hand under Crispin’s arm and led him down the path.
“Never mind,” she boomed, “I’m sure it’ll be all right.”
Crispin tried to pull away from Lulu’s vice-like grip but she held him close. Anyway, he had more important things to worry about and he determined to return when the bird handler arrived later, and ask him. Opening a basket full of doves would result in a beautiful spectacle, as they fluttered upwards and flew into the sky. But the consequence of cramming a dozen swans into that same basket and then releasing them, might well be more excitement than Nina had anticipated.
Crispin gave out a strangled sound.
“Never mind, Crispin, I’m here,” Lulu bellowed and she wrapped her arm around his shoulders and hugged.
Upstairs in one of the bedrooms in McTavish’s house, Mr Lambert dipped and bobbed excitedly by Bella’s ear.
“Mr Lambert,” she said with mock severity, “I can’t make out a word you’re saying.” She held out her finger for the butterfly to settle on.
“There,” she said, “now start again. Holding him close to her ear, she listened intently as he whispered.
“Are you sure?”
Mr Lambert nodded.
“Where?” she asked jumping up in excitement. Mr Lambert lost his footing and dropped off her finger.
“Are you sure?” she asked again.
He rose into the air and hovered in front of her face, nodding.
“But McTavish said he’d gone away.” She held out her finger for the butterfly and listened to his reply.
“Yes, I suppose you’re right, my uncle did say he’d never heard of Crispin, so he can’t be a Garden Ornament. But perhaps he’s come back for a visit. Perhaps he’s here for the wedding!” She clapped her hands together in delight, narrowly avoiding crushing the butterfly.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Mr Lambert, I’m just so excited at the thought of seeing Crispin again. Where is he now?”
Mr Lambert alighted on her shoulder.
“Really? He’s in the woods. You’re sure he’s coming this way? Well, what’re we waiting for? We need to unpack and find my hairbrush.”
Mr Lambert kept out of the way while Bella sorted through her case and brushed her hair.
“How’d I look?” she asked, patting her glossy, golden curls, “Is my halo straight?”
If Mr Lambert had owned a pair of hands, he’d have clapped them together in delight. He flew to her head and settled on her fringe, pulling it back off her forehead with his feet.
“I’ve grown up since I was here before, and this time, Mr Lambert, I’m going to be an Angel of the world. I’ll be cool, calm and I’ll impress him with my charm, not like at the ball when I might have seemed a bit… well… a bit inexperienced.”
Mr Lambert let go of her fringe and fluttered in front of her.
“Yes, you’re right, dear Mr Lambert, I’d better go downstairs or he’ll have been and gone.”
She rushed to the door, hotly pursued by Mr Lambert who quickly checked the halo hadn’t slipped and grabbed her fringe with his feet, pulling it out of her eyes.
Bella could hear her uncle at the door speaking to someone. He was getting cross. Nothing new there. McTavish spent most of his time at home, in a bad temper.
“Doves or swans?” said a female voice. A very loud female voice. And then the door slammed and McTavish stomped back to the kitchen.
“Oh, Mr Lambert, that doesn’t sound like Crispin at all. Are you sure you saw him?”
She dashed back upstairs and looked out of the window. The owner of the loud voice was now walking down the path with her arm around Crispin.
“Oh no! He’s found someone else.”
Bella and Mr Lambert watched in horror as the couple walked off into the woods together.
“I’m too late, Mr Lambert. I don’t think I can bear it.”
She sobbed into her hands.
With much wing-flapping, Mr Lambert managed to lift a hankie and carry it to her. Once she’d taken it and buried her face in it, he flew out of the open window after the unfaithful Elf.
“Where are we going now, Crispin?” asked Lulu.
“Umm…” Crispin wasn’t sure his eardrums could stand much more. “Home?” he said.
“But you’ve got other things on your list. Don’t you have to give out more timetables?”
“Come on, we can do them together.”
“Umm…” If only he could think of some Pie Skology to persuade Lulu she wanted to do something else.
I’m going to get Sylvester to teach me all he knows about Pie Skology, thought Crispin, and after the wedding is over…
“Well, I suppose we could take a timetable to Bartrum,” he said knowing he actually ought to find Wendy. But the thought of her reaction when she heard of Lulu’s promotion to chief bridesmaid was daunting indeed.
“Cwithpin! Hello, Cwithpin! Wait for me!” Wendy galloped out of the woods, carrying a basket containing some daisies.
Oh well, thought Crispin, the two bridesmaids have to meet sooner or later. If only it wasn’t now.
“Lulu, Wendy. Wendy, Lulu.”
“Ah,” said Lulu, “My second-in-command. Nice to meet you.”
“Yes, I’m Nina’s chief bridesmaid.”
Crispin winced and waited for the explosion—or at least the tears.
But surprisingly, Wendy wasn’t too bothered about her demotion to second bridesmaid.
“Have you theen any flowerth?”
“Flowers?” asked Crispin
“Well, I haven’t really been looking but there must be loads in the flower beds.”
“Yeth, I expect there are begoniath, if Guthty Bob hathnt killed them off but I wanted larger flowerth.”
“Please tell me they’re not for the bride’s bouquet…,” said Crispin with a terrible feeling of foreboding.
“Yeth. I met Jubbly earlier and he told me the fairieth had been picking flowerth to weave into their hair for the wedding and they haven’t left any.”
“But you ordered some from the florist, right?” asked Crispin although he felt certain he already knew the answer.
“Of courthe not. We live in a garden. Gardenth are full of flowerth… Well, usually. Anyway, you’ve got a fluffy thing in your ear.”
“It’s cotton wool,” said Crispin.
“He’s got an allergy,” said Lulu helpfully.
“What’re you allergic to?” Wendy asked.
“It’s complicated,” said Lulu.
“Not flowerth, I hope.”
“If only there were flowers to be allergic to,” murmured Crispin.
“Shall I thpeak up?”
“No! I’m fine, thanks. By the way, did you manage to find out how to make candyfloss?”
“Oh yeth, but I need to find wire cutterth.”
“Yeth. I’ve already got a whithk, plathtic bin bag and wooden thpoon. Oh and sugar.”
“Mrs Bartrum may have some wire cutters. She did a metalwork course last year,” said Crispin, “but are you sure it’s candyfloss you’re making? You know, fluffy, pink stuff made of sugar?”
“Yeth, of courthe.”
“It’s just that you don’t often hear of people cooking with wire cutters…”
“You don’t cook with them, thilly. They’re for cutting off the end of the whithk…”
“Right,” said Crispin slowly, making a mental note to cross candyfloss off his list. He was so deep in thought that it took him a few seconds to realise he was under attack.
If Crispin’s ears hadn’t been full of cotton wool, he might have heard Mr Lambert’s war cry or the frantic beating of wings and he might have ducked. But, as it was, other than a momentary glimpse of a furious butterfly with proboscis extended, Crispin was aware of nothing until the moment of impact. Mr Lambert had launched himself like a dart, at the spot between Crispin’s eyes and scored a bull’s eye.
“Ow!” yelped Crispin.
Mr Lambert bounced off the Elf’s forehead and gathering his wits, he rallied himself for another attack. Crispin would regret the day he’d broken Bella’s heart—Mr Lambert would personally see to it.
Crispin swatted madly at the lepidopteran air-to-ground missile.
“What’th the matter, Cwithpin?”
“Aargh! Stop it!” shouted Crispin, as his assailant seized a clump of hair and tugged.
“Cwithpin! Cwithpin! Oh, get off you beatht!” Wendy screamed and swung her basket at the butterfly, catching Crispin on the chin with a glancing blow. Mr Lambert was much faster than Crispin and he dodged the basket with ease, taking advantage of the confusion caused by Lulu and Wendy. They were both trying to comfort the injured Elf, who was clutching his jaw.
“Oh, Cwithpin, I’m tho thorry!”
Mr Lambert circled above their heads and diving again, he swooped past Crispin’s head and grabbed another tuft of hair. The ease with which the hair detached itself from the Elf’s head took Mr Lambert by surprise and he flew backwards tumbling over and over, a large lump of cotton wool tangling his feet.
“Regroup!” squeaked Mr Lambert as he rose out of range of the swinging basket and hovered above. It wasn’t clear who he was urging into formation, as he was a lone assailant but he began to realise that if he merely flew towards the Elf, the two females did their best to defend Crispin, which consistently resulted in more damage to the Elf.
The furious, basket-waving little girl was swinging wildly and as well as a glancing blow to the Elf’s chin, she managed to score a direct hit to the side of his head which had almost felled him. The loud, large female Gnome had assumed the pose of a karate fighter.
“Hi-yah!” she’d yelled as her hand sliced so close to Mr Lambert when he’d darted towards Crispin, he’d almost spiralled out of control but as the hand continued on its trajectory, it made contact with the tender part of the back of the Elf’s neck.
Mr Lambert’s first attack had been more successful than he could possibly have imagined.
“Retire!” he squeaked and flew off with a decided list to the left.
“You idiot! You’ve killed Cwithpin!
“Me? You kept whacking him with your basket. I took out that killer insect with my bare hands before it got Crispin ̶ “
“No, you didn’t. I thaw it fly off.”
“No, it didn’t.”
“And anyway, you hit Cwithpin ̶ “
“So did you…”
“Ladies, please,” said Crispin, staggering to his feet, “perhaps we ought to get out of here while the going is good.”
“Here, Cwithpin, let me help you—” Wendy took an arm.
“No! Let me help you,” said Lulu grabbing the other arm.
“Ow!” screamed Crispin as his minders ‘helped’ him home.
About the author
Dawn’s two previous books in the ‘Chronicles Chronicles’ series are ‘The Basilwade Chronicles’ and ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ both published by Chapeltown Publishing.
The Crispin Chronicles
Links to the previous chapters:
Chapter 1 – Her Ladyship’s Garden - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/04/the-crispin-chronicles-1-her-ladyships.html
Chapter 2 – The Letter from OFSGAR - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/search/label/The%20Crispin%20Chronicles%20-%20The%20Letter%20from%20OFSGAR
Chapter 3 -The Sweet Smell of Success - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-3-sweet-smell-of.html
Chapter 4 – A Visit from Peggy the Pram - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-4-visit-from.html
Chapter 5 – Nightly Disturbances - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-5-nightly.html
Chapter 6 – Just Desserts - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/05/the-crispin-chronicles-6-just-desserts.html
Chapter 7 – A Little Girl at Large - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-7-little-girl-at.html
Chapter 8 – The Halloween Party - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/06/the-crispin-chronicles-8-halloween-party.html
Chapter 9 – A Glimmer of an Idea - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-9-glimmer-of-idea.html
Chapter 10 – Doggett Sees the Light - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-10-doggett-sees.html
Chapter 11 – Doggett’s Blues – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/07/the-crispin-chronicles-11-doggetts-blues.html
Chapter 12 – A Genie out of the Bottle - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-12-genie-out-of.html
Chapter 13 – The Christmas Beast - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-13-christmas.html
Chapter 14 – Bellarella - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/08/the-crispin-chronicles-14-bellarella.html
Chapter 15 – The Stag Omen - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-15-stag-omen.html
Chapter 16 – The Wedding Carriage - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-16-wedding.html
Chapter 17 – A Wild Stag Night - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/09/the-crispin-chronicles-17-wild-stag.html
Chapter 18 – Wedding Preparations - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2021/10/the-crispin-chronicles-18-wedding.html