Friday 15 August 1863

Part I

It is almost preordained that as soon as my younger brother Barton comes to stay the flat is suddenly packed-to-bursting with nightwalkers of every disbanded gild, disinclination and disorder known to (normally) take turns harassing the good folk of this city. While last night was spent in near perfect pitter-patter with Pepper, I am stunned at the number of pigeons who circle us the moment I’ve assisted the Barton waistline from its sled. Wings vibrate against a wall of bright white sky, birdsong merges into one long disorientating chirrup; it is as though I am being given insight into some mad future world where communication is channeled as openly (but with a good deal more noise) as it is between my brother and his Lord. And as if to contradict the very diversity to which I testify amongst my friends, I note that each of their carriers wears the same miniature tux (‘awww’ coo the ladies), the same faux monocle as is de rigeur in this summer’s Pigeon Post. Are we to conclude that all my friends are as gauche and booze-ridden as each other? Perhaps inevitably when they are seen through the eyes of the abstaining Barton, however often he insists that they’re his eyes and we should dashed well leave them alone to make their own judgment.

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