It has been some time since I last marshalled my thoughts here and with good cause. I have been back at the château with my dear progenitrix, Havane, without access to a computer or indeed to the outside world. Master was away in his home town, which he calls Londonistan, visiting his own mother, so there was a touching symmetry in our two sojourns, but there the resemblance ended for, regrettably, I slipped back – I confess – into the fractious and unruly ways of the past.
It is undoubtedly a calamitous blot on my escutcheon, and it mortifies me to confess as much, but at times my feral instincts ride roughshod over my good sense and tenuous differentiation of right and wrong. In short, no sooner had Master delivered me to the château than Havane and I absconded into the night, a moonlight flit that endured three days and three nights before I made my way back to the country house without mater, who had not been able to match my youthful pace and whom I had quite lost track of. A full day later she presented herself in some disarray on the doorstep of the mayor of Le Liège and, thanks to a brass plaque on her collar, the dignitary in question was able to telephone Master Bruno and inform him that the second fugitive had been found.
And so my return to the blue remembered hills of my past was tainted by this wrongdoing which caused anxiety to both my Masters, former and present. Ah, if only one could unravel the errors of one’s ways and learn from one’s mistakes! Even I am confounded by my selfish rapture at these impromptu escapades, and the fact that we could survive without food for so long, with the exception of an occasional bird or rodent corpse. It is the felicity of freedom, the glamour of the forest, the cool revivification of the babbling brook, that draws us ever forward and away from the known creature comforts of home. I am sure Master Adrian did not comport himself in such a way with his mother in Londonistan… But are our humans ever visited by such ungovernable urges too?
Be that as it may, I sensed that I had tried the patience of Master Bruno and his consort to the limit, and so it was with meekness and contrition, but happiness nevertheless, that I returned to Master Adrian. I was I regret a lamentable sight. I had wounded my chin in one scramble through brambly undergrowth, and there were blood stains on my head – not my own, I hasten to add, for I had been sitting under the kitchen table that lunchtime when they dismembered a duck and received this gory bespattering as a result.
Thus “Merlin” has become “Marlowe” once again, and has resumed his residence at Les Hirondelles. The felines seemed to sense my tribulations and treated me with much kindness on my return, and the little dog Alec – a sort of cotton wool puff ball with a nose and two dark eyes like raisins, at least to outward appearance – also welcomed me gaily, though Lord knows I had persecuted the poor ninny inordinately in the past. Mistress, however, eyed me with sustained disapprobation and no small admixture of apprehension, and I later heard Master comment that she was considering “the unkindest cut of all”, though what that might be I can scarcely venture to guess.
My adventures have been described as “picaresque”, as in the novels of Fielding and Defoe, with which I am fairly well acquainted, but the merry gladsome resonance of this word in the little world of fiction does not apply should Master be cast down or distressed by my high jinks.
Alas, we all have within us a touch of the “Non serviam” that was the downfall of Lucifer. Yet today Master bought me a butcher’s bone and we have resumed our little daily rituals, be they ever so humble. Phoebus Apollo dispenses his warm autumnal beams with quiet munificence, and I shall now lay me down to sleep, grateful for such small mercies, however undeserved.