George Club Diaries ... A Shot in the dark
(from issue 7.2)
Never let it be said that a George man can be easily swayed. For example, there was the time that Sniffer Timpkins moved the pavilion, brick by brick, 6 feet forward to accommodate his new Bentley in the Chairman's parking space. It was only 6 weeks later, that in order to gain the record for the furthest boundary, that he then moved it back, brick by brick, 8 feet. 4 weeks later a slogger from the Harrington Club knocked one of Timpkins leg breaks for 6 over the pavilion. However, before members of the league committee could come to verify the distance, Timpkins moved the pavilion back in by 12 feet to deny the slogger any hint of a record from one of his deliveries. Taking note of the newly gained space behind the pavilion, he purchased another Bentley for his mother.
With this kind of dedication, imagine what a George Club man would do for amore. And it was just this kind of dashed stubbornness that led to the sad demise of ole Foggy Grosvenor. He had quite fallen for the sister of one of the club's members. Not just any member but none other than Limpopo Sheridan, one of the most feared hunters in the dark continent. It was said of the stuffed heads adorning the club that old Sheridan had accounted for at least 60% of them. In addition the members were particularly reliant on a regular dose of dried tiger penis to aid them in the boudoir. Sheridan's sharp eye ensured that the supply was bountiful and, in these capitalist days, that the regular demand was never hampered by high prices.
Sheridan was famously protective of young Felicity, such that her virtue was said to resemble the Rock of Gibraltar, in that it would never be taken. Naturally, there was a pot for the young buck who did manage to finagle his way into her affections and Sheridan was aware of this. He was not annoyed by this having taken several such pots himself after deflowering many a member's sister. This did not stop him casting a fierce eye over any young suitor. It was May 1938 when this fierce eye came to rest on young Grosvenor. Young Felicity often batted away any debonair young thing attempting to woo her, but Sheridan was particularly concerned with the coquettish manner in which young Flick was able to repel Grosvenor while at the same time invite him to try harder.
It was for this reason that Sheridan decided to take Grosvenor on a tour of the dark continent in the guise of male bonhomie and an attempt to get to know him better.
Now Sheridan was well known in the dark continent due to his famous sharp shooting and particularly generous pay to local bearers and guides. He was Godfather to many a local chap's offspring and had even been made an honorary member of a tribe called the Mungali. When the two chaps arrived they were given a greeting the likes of which young Grosvenor had never seen. Garlands of flowers, dancing, freshly slaughtered boar and of course lashings of the local hooch. Sheridan introduced Grosvenor as a potential brother-in-law which only led to an even warmer welcome for the lad.
After several glasses of the local moonshine Grosvenor was feeling rather sleepy, mumbled something about the long trip and retired to his hut. However, before entering the abode he looked back to see Sheridan talking to the Chief and pointing in Grosvenor's direction. Sheridan had a curious look, the kind that is all too familiar to a rhino about to become acquainted with the warming lead from Sheridan's rifle. Grosvenor put this down to the hooch and heat and made for bed.
The next morning, with a stinking hangover, Grosvenor arose to see the scene of the previous night's debauchery miraculously turned into a more than passable cricket pitch. Replete with scorers' hut and refreshments trolley. He wiped his eyes, convinced that maybe the hooch was not yet out of his system. However, Sheridan explained that it was customary for the locals to indulge in a game of cricket whenever he was in town.
Naturally, Sheridan was captain of the visiting team and Grosvenor was to be a part of that side. The coin was tossed and Sheridan elected to bat first. The two heroes of this story opened and put on a formidable score of 143 before Sheridan fell to what looked like a harmless medium paced straight delivery. "Bad luck" thought Grosvenor but played on. Occasionally looking around, he could see no sign of Sheridan. The young suitor was eventually caught behind, but not before making a creditable 152.
Tea was served, Sheridan popped up again and play was resumed with Grosvenor particularly deep in the field. It was at this point that Sheridan elected to bowl. He was known to have a very fine sense of fielding positions and pushed Grosvenor out further. Then a little further, until he was just about where the bush met the boundary. There he stood for the best part of an hour with nothing to do other than admire the local fauna and dreamily picture pretty little Felicity.
It was then that he heard a rustle, then the padding of feet...four of them...then a deep throated growl...and then, well, not much else as a 400lb male lion pounced from the bush onto poor Grosvenor. The lion played around with the chap for a while, with Grosvenor screaming the whole time. Intermittently he could see Sheridan making for the "pavilion". Rather slowly, Grosvenor thought, but then time often slows in moments of crisis.
Sheridan emerged with his rifle, aimed at the lion. There was a loud crack as a round was released. The lion went limp on Grosvenor's chest. Sadly, it was too late for young Grosvenor and another proud member of the George Club had met his fate on a foreign field.
Naturally, Sheridan accompanied the body home to England, back to the weeping figure of Felicity. He assured her he had done everything he could. He attended the club's memorial service for Grosvenor, explaining that he had done all he could. In memory of the young man he presented the club with a stuffed lion's head. The very lion that had accounted for Grosvenor. This was warmly received by the members as they like nothing more than to know revenge has been taken for a sleight on the club, be it human or animal inflicting that sleight.
Some members remarked that the lion appeared have had a tag in his ear, perhaps signifying that it had been caught previously, Sheridan assured them that this was one of the wildest animals he had ever shot. Naturally, in return for such heroism, Sheridan's fees for the year were waived.