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CardiMuscleman

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About CardiMuscleman

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  1. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Ten “Good evening, gentlemen!” declared Phileas as he met his friends from the Reform Club adding, “Why, Mr. Sullivan, I didn’t expect to see you here?” “You have arrived precisely sixty seconds before the scheduled departure of this train!” he said, dismissing the question, “I am glad to see that you have allowed such little room for error!” and with that he folded his arms in a dismissive manner. “Whereas I am sure” replied Phileas, in his usual cheery manner, “I shall see you again in eighty days” and with that he raised his hat to his fellow members and after a “I know you can do it, Phileas” from the chairman, he crouched down and said softly “Thank you, Your Lordship, that means a lot coming from you!” As he got up the train whistled indicating that it was ready to leave and as the crowd cheered their best wishes to the travelers, they strode on board and were sitting down just as the train started to pull out of the station. At the suggestion of his master, Jean opened the windows and the two waved to the gathered crowd who followed the train to the edge of the platform. However, as it did, two figures could be seen chasing it down, one of them panting “Hurry up, Drummond!” As the Inspector made a daring leap from the platform into a carriage with an open window, the poor constable, who had run further in the last ten minutes than he had in his entire life, was facing the threat of running out of platform. With a desperate leap, he grabbed hold of the window frame and held on for dear life as the train left the platform and was eventually dragged in by the Inspector who ended up with the Constable on top of him for his troubles. As the train crossed the Thames a little downriver from Westminster, Phileas and his manservant sat facing each other in the compartment that they had booked. It was the first time that Jean had come to appreciate his new master. He appeared to be a man about forty years of age, with fine, handsome features, and a tall, well-shaped figure; his hair and whiskers were light, his forehead compact and unwrinkled, his face rather pale, his teeth magnificent. His countenance possessed in the highest degree what physiognomists call “repose in action,” a quality of those who act rather than talk. Calm and phlegmatic, with a clear eye, Mr. Fogg seemed a perfect type of that English composure which Angelica Kauffmann has so skillfully represented on canvas. Seen in the various phases of his daily life, he gave the idea of being perfectly well-balanced, as exactly regulated as a Leroy chronometer. Phileas Fogg was, indeed, exactitude personified, and this was betrayed even in the expression of his very hands and feet; for in men, as well as in animals, the limbs themselves are expressive of the passions. Indeed, even now, he was reading his copy of Bradshaw’s, the guide to every train and boat journey across the whole world, and yet looked as if he was reading a novel. Jean, on the other hand, was holding onto the bag that he had been given as if it were a child, and as he looked out of the window the cityscape of Central London soon disappeared and was replaced by the countryside of Kent. Turning his attention to the compartment he was in, he looked up at the light that was allowing his master to read and as he did, he suddenly gasped as a horrible thought crossed his mind. The gasp was enough to break his master’s concentration and he asked “Is something the matter?” “It…It…It was an oversight” apologised Jean, bowing his head “What have you done?” asked Phileas, lowering his book and looking sternly at his manservant “I have forgotten to turn off the lamp in my room, Monsieur” he replied and with that bowed his head even more. “There’s nothing to worry about” replied his master, in a reassuring manner, “the gas used will be paid for!” “It will?” asked Jean “Yes” replied Phileas, turning his attention back to his book, “by being deducted from your pay!” Jean’s reaction was that of any typical Frenchman who has received exceptionally bad news and with that he decided to settle down and have a doze before they reached Dover. Sadly, for the Frenchman, that wasn’t very long and as October 3rd arrived the two men were already crossing the English Channel under a clear moonlit night. As Jean wandered around on board, he heard someone being terribly ill and saw two men both leaning against the side of the ship, one patting the other on the back saying “There, there, Drummond, it’s all right!” “These Englishmen” he chuckled to himself, “For a nation of seafarers, they seem to have lost their sea legs!” By two o’clock that morning, the boat had arrived in Calais and as Phileas and Jean had their passports stamped, Jean, for the first time, was starting to feel a little cheery. After all, he was now back in his homeland, France, and as he thanked the passport control officer with “Merci, Monsieur”, the two men headed towards the waiting train and were soon on their way to Paris. About half an hour later, as the two men were going to settle down for the night, the guard knocked on the door and asked if they would accommodate a passenger. “We would be delighted to” replied Phileas, demonstrating the qualities that made Englishmen so renowned. After the guard thanking them, he gestured the passenger to enter the carriage and as he did with a gentle “Merci, Monsieurs” both men were struck by her beauty. She had to be in her mid-twenties, wearing a flowery red hat, a lightly pink coloured dress and was carrying a cyan handbag and as she entered with a “I apologise if I am disturbing you?” both men just stood there and whispered “Not in the slightest!” As she sat down next to Jean with a “You are as polite as you are handsome!”, Jean adjusted his collar. What were these feelings that were flowing over him? He only loved men. Big, strong, powerful men. The type that he loved in the circus. People like Hercule who could wrestle him to a standstill and then force him to kiss him with a passion like no other. He had no time for women and yet, this woman was making him feel the same type of emotions. He even started to go hard and as he sat down, he started to gently breathe deeply to relax. “I do apologise disturbing you like this” she said, “It is difficult for a woman travelling on her own!” Phileas just nodded and as she carried on with her tale about two men in her compartment who were making unwanted advances on her, Phileas just smiled politely but inside was a battleground. He was feeling emotions that he had never felt before. His heart was pounding, he couldn’t think straight, he even felt as if he was getting hard and gently squeezed his legs. Was this because he had never been in the presence of a lady before? No, he had seen Her Majesty in close quarters on several occasions, but never this close and certainly not with a lady this young before. As he nodded in sympathy with the story he was being told, he wondered if he wasn’t inverted as he had thought himself to be, but perhaps only partially inverted and could love both men and women at the same time. He simply didn’t know and the feeling was putting him on edge. “Please excuse my indiscretion” she asked, “but may I ask where you are travelling to?” “London” replied Phileas, instantly, glad to have something to divert attention from the feelings that were swirling inside him. “London?” gasped the new passenger, “but, Monsieur you are…” “…heading the wrong way!” smiled Phileas, and reassured her that there was method in his madness as he explained that he was heading to London the long way around by travelling around the world. “Then, you are he!” the passenger gasped and as she did, she fell to her knees and held Phileas’s hand and looked deep into his eyes saying “I have read all about you and your journey!” “That’s very kind of you” replied Phileas, feeling himself getting even harder than he was before Realising her position, the lady suddenly stood up and apologised for her conduct and as she sat down next to Jean, it was his turn to start feeling those strange emotions that put him at conflict with his mind. As she did, she enquired as to Phileas’s route. “We left London at a quarter to nine this evening” he replied, back in his comfortable place, “and will arrive in Paris around half past seven in the morning” and as he spoke he took out his pocket watch and said “Actually, thank you for reminding me, I have to put my watch on an hour to reflect the time difference between London and Paris” and as he adjusted his watch he added, “then we shall travel through France with a view of reaching Brindisi in Italy by tomorrow lunchtime!” “Oh, mon dieu!” replied the lady, “this is a happy coincidence then. I am on the way to Brindisi as well” and as she spoke her mood saddened as he said “I am on my way to see my dearest aunt whose health has been failing in recent weeks” and with that she bowed her head. Phileas, although conflicted inside with his emotions, was always a gentleman and offered the passenger’s aunt his wishes for a recovery and agreed that for the duration of the journey to Brindisi, she may accompany them. A gesture of kindness that put Jean even more on edge than usual, but those thoughts were instantly put aside when Phileas ordered him to turn the light down so that they could all have some rest before the train reached Paris. “Please” said the passenger, “allow me” and as she stood up she brushed her hand along Jean’s muscular chest sending the Frenchman into so much emotional conflict he just moaned. However, as she turned down the light, there was a jolt in the carriage and she accidentally turned the light out. Apologising profusely, Phileas reassured her there was nothing to worry about and asked Jean to relight the lamp using some matches that were in the bag he was carrying. However, as Jean went to open the bag, he found that it was already open and that there was a hand inside it and with his master sitting opposite him and he having not opened it, that meant that it was the passenger’s hand inside it. As he tried to explain what was happening to his master, he could feel the hand reaching for some of the money inside and so did the only thing he could, and slammed the bag shut on the hand. There was an almighty roar of pain, that Jean was convinced sounded like a man’s voice, which was closely followed by him being forced onto his back by the passenger who fled the carriage. Phileas shook his head with a sense of disappointment and as he lit the lamp in the carriage himself, found his manservant spread-eagled over the seat and the floor holding onto the bag with an expression of grim determination on his face. As Jean recovered and slid onto the floor, his master demanded an explanation of what had happened. As Jean tried his best to explain, he found him being stood over by his master who as the questioning became more and more threatening stood on tiptoes to try and dominate the man into answering his questions truthfully and causing him to have to bend over backwards in order to deliver his answers. Unable to bear this assault he screamed “EVERYTHING I HAVE SAID IS TRUE” causing Phileas to place his hands over his ears and bellow “ALL RIGHT!”. For a moment, these was a tense standoff between master and manservant but as Phileas sat down he apologised to Jean saying “I’m sorry, I was just…” and then paused wondering if he should admit how he felt to his manservant, a man whose feat of strength less than twenty-four earlier had made such an impression on him, however just then the guard entered and asked if everything was alright. Jean was all for telling him what had happened, but Phileas replied with a smile “Thank you for your concern, monsieur” and as the guard closed the door, Phileas closed his eyes pondering why the woman would want to make a grab for the bag. In one of the many toilets on the train, the woman closed the door behind her and examined her wrist which had a large bruise on it. As she nursed it, grimacing with pain, she growled and threw her hat to the floor and then pulled at her collar revealing a mask that was thrown to the floor with disgust. As Timothy looked at himself in the mirror, he scowled. “I’ll get you sooner or later, Phileas Fogg” he vowed, “for no one beats Timothy Renton, master of disguise!” and with that his eyes glinted with pure evil.
  2. CardiMuscleman

    Metric vs. U.S. Standard

    As you know in 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU, a reason for this has been the EU's insistence that everything is metric. For instance the EU ruled that all gas prices had to be quoted in the currency unit per litre. In the UK this met with a lot of resistance as the prices had always been quoted in the hundredth currency unit per gallon. Indeed, I am surprised that the Government haven't announced (up to this moment) that the policy will be scrapped, however there could be some resistance to the idea when £1.35 a litre suddenly becomes 613p a gallon.
  3. CardiMuscleman

    Political colours

    Time zones are my speciality (call it a hangover from the millennium I say). Simple rule of thumb. When it is breakfast on the west coast of America, those on the east coast are thinking about lunch, people in Europe are thinking about tea and people in Australia are (if they have any sense that is) fast asleep in bed, similarly when the people of the west coast of America are fast asleep, the east coast is pondering the idea of getting up, Europe is already wide awake and pondering breakfast whilst Australia is wondering what to watch before going to bed.
  4. CardiMuscleman

    Metric vs. U.S. Standard

    The general rule of thumb here in the UK is that anyone who is taller than 1.83m is considered tall, and that by association, anyone who weighs over 100kg or more at that height is defined as big, therefore here's a sort of ready reckoner for what would define a big person 1.83m = 100kg +, 2.13m = 136kg +, 2.43m = 178kg + So a two metre person weighing close to 150kg would be very big, but a three metre person weighing 200kg would only be so so
  5. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Nine “EXTRA, EXTRA” announced a newspaper boy in the heart of the capital, “Phileas Fogg to travel around the world in eighty days. Exclusive report by Mr. Ralph, Telegraph reporter. EXTRA, EXTRA!” The lad in question was doing a roaring trade as everyone wanted to read about the Englishman who would, potentially, set a new record however one customer was more interested in reading the article than paying for it and when the newspaper boy vented his anger, the customer in question replied “Pay the lad would you, Drummond?” As Constable Drummond rifled around in his wallet he could only find a shilling and so offering payment asked the lad if he had any change. The lad replied with a bright “Sure thing, sir!” and took the coin. However, as he pocketed the coin, he then ran off shouting “That’s for not paying at the right time” to which the poor police constable moaned “Inspector, he’s stolen my change!”, however the Inspector was more interested in the article. “Phileas Fogg, of Savile Row, London, is tonight attempting to travel around the world in eighty days using the route as published in this morning’s edition of the Telegraph. The author of the report, Mr. Ralph, will be using the latest technology to keep track of Mr. Fogg’s progress and will announce important points in the journey from outside the Telegraph’s headquarters at midday every day with more detailed reporting in this paper as soon as it comes in from our team of reporters from around the world!” As the Inspector rolled the newspaper up and placed it under his arm he smiled, “If the thing is feasible, the first to do it ought to be an Englishman” and was about to walk on when he stopped. That name was familiar from somewhere and so he unrolled the newspaper and read the article again. There next to it was a picture of the said explorer and as he looked at it, he gasped. “It’s HIM!” he declared, “It’s the man who robbed the Bank!” and with that he grabbed his partner, still complaining about being diddled of his change and ran back to Scotland Yard where he burst into the Commissioner’s office to relay the news closely followed by his associate who was unable to stop in time and collided with one of the Commissioner’s chairs. As he ended up spread-eagled on the floor, he waved the newspaper he was holding and announced “We know the name of the robber!” The Commissioner took the newspaper and read the article carefully and then compared the picture in the newspaper with the artist’s impression and had to agree that they were the same. With this information to hand, the Commissioner sat down at his desk and pondered what to do next, however the Inspector knew exactly what to do next. “There’s not a moment to lose” he said, remonstrating at the Commissioner who had turned his chair around, “We must arrest him NOW!” and with that thumped his fist on the Commissioner’s table, who turned around sharply and bellowed, “YOU WILL NOT!” which caused the Inspector and Constable to stand to attention, with in the Constable’s case was hindered by him still being spread-eagled on the floor. “Have you thought about what would happen if you did arrest this man and he was innocent?” asked the Commissioner, “Scotland Yard would become a laughing stock. Therefore, I am ordering you to do one thing only. Keep an eye on him, follow him whether he goes and report back at regular intervals. The minute you get any confirmation that he is the robber, I want to know. Whilst you are doing that, I will work on getting evidence here and if need be you will have to arrest him!” “But, sir” replied the Inspector, “he’s off on a journey around the world!” “In that case” replied the Commissioner, “I will set about getting a warrant for his arrest. According to this article he is scheduled to be in Bombay by the end of October, therefore I will get one organised for you at Suez so that you can arrest him, if the evidence is there, the moment he steps onto Indian soil” The Inspector stood to attention, saluted and walked out of the office commanding his companion to follow him, however as Constable Drummond got to his feet and followed his boss, he felt sad. He was a Londoner born and bred, born within the sound of Bow Bells, a true Cockney at heart and the idea of leaving his home city filled him with sorrow but he was a policeman and as such followed the Inspector into the cold evening air *** As Jean turned off the lights in the house he had only known for the last nine and a half hours, he felt very melancholy. He was travelling again, when he had thought, that his days of travelling where behind him. As he entered the hallway, the sad expression on his face was clear for everyone to see and despite Phileas saying, with a cheery smile, “There’s no need to look so glum, we’ll be back in a mere eighty days”, Jean couldn’t shake the feeling. And so, as he turned off the outside lights and finally the main hall lights, he closed the doors after his master and locked them. Almost as if saying goodbye to an old friend, he kissed the key and then, using his circus skills threw it into the air and pulled out his jacket where it landed in the breast pocket and as he patted it he whispered “Next to the heart, so that I will remember this house!” and with that followed his master who was now sitting in a cab waiting for him. Seeking permission to board, which was granted, Jean sat next to his master who gave the command of “Charing Cross Station, my good man” and with that the journey around the world started. Twenty minutes later they arrived at the station to find it thronging with people all desperate to catch a glimpse of the adventurous Englishman, however as they approached the entrance to the station, a woman clearly destitute came hobbling up and wailed a tale of woe that pulled at Jean’s heart. He was about to give the poor woman a shilling, the last in his wallet, when his master stopped him. He then opened his own wallet and gave the woman a twenty-guinea note saying “Here, my good woman. I’m glad that I met you!” and with that entered the station. As the woman looked at the note in disbelief, she poured out her thanks to the manservant who simply nodded and as she walked away, Jean wiped his eyes which were now exceptionally damp. Was it just possible that inside that highly regulated man, a human heart existed?
  6. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Eight Of the three men, Mr. Weston was the first to arrive at his destination and bounding out of the cab he charged up the stairs to the office of Mr. Ralph, the young reporter who had penned the article that was about to send Phileas on a true adventure. “Really, sir?” the young reporter asked, “Really, Truly?” Mr. Weston nodded and as he did, the young reporter started to gush. “My article” he said, “my article that I spent the best part of three months researching, has generated so much interest that Mr. Fogg is actually going to try and complete the journey?” “To the letter!” smiled Mr. Weston, adding “and he has wagered half his personal fortune too, twenty thousand pounds!” Mr. Ralph’s eyes opened wide and he exclaimed “Twenty thousand pounds! I won’t make half that money even if I worked here all my life!” Mr. Weston chuckled and said “Then, you shall have a pay increase, besides we’re the only ones who know!” and with that he tapped his nose and opening Mr. Ralph’s door bellowed, above the noise of the printing presses “STOP THE PRESSES!”. As the presses slowed down and came to a halt, he announced “Gentlemen of the Telegraph, I have an announcement to make. This very evening, Mr. Phileas Fogg is to set out on an adventure that will set this country’s star in the firmament for eternity. He will be travelling around the world in eighty days, prompted by this man’s reporting” and with that dragged Mr. Ralph out of the office before adding “Therefore, for the first time in our history, we are printing an evening edition, which I want out on the streets of London within the next ninety minutes. Gentlemen, we have an exclusive!” *** Whilst Fleet Street was celebrating a rare exclusive, back at number seven Saville Row Jean was lying on his bed. He had come to the end of his first days of duty as a manservant and was remembering everything he had done, the highlight of which has been cleaning his master’s house from top to bottom. Coming from the northern part of France, where the work ethic was very high, he remembered something his parents had instilled in him from a child, “if you make work fun, it’s not like work at all” and so for the duration of his cleaning, he had been singing songs that he had picked up in his days in the circus. His favourite though was one that he picked up from a group of sailors when the circus had been asked to perform for the Emperor himself in his native home of Corsica and on the boat travelling to the island, the sailors sang this song to help them with their work and so he had followed in a similar suit. “All around the world, we’ll go together day by day” he had sang as he polished the bannisters of the staircase, whistling as the song required every alternate line, “Anytime you want me, you can whistle in this way” he carried on as he swept the steps at the same time, “And I will be there ready to help you anywhere” and with that he launched into a full blown whistling routine and at the same time started to dance around the house before singing, “Hand in hand, we’ll always go to many places we don’t know. We’ll sing along the way, and every time we’ll find a way to carry on!” He was so lost in enjoyment that he failed to notice several people peering inside wondering what was going on. As they watched in bewilderment at the sight of a manservant singing and dancing, Jean carried on with his song. “All around the world, we’ll go together day by day” he sang as he polished the mantelpiece over the fire, whistling as he did, “And we’ll see new people, white or black, new anyway!” and whistled as he cleaned the floor with a broom adding, “Mr. Fogg will be the boss, and I will serve him well!” and with that brushed the dust to the front door and overtaken by the mood of the song flung the doors open and as he brushed the dust into the street broke into a dance which surprised the people watching, a newspaper boy, the local policeman and two neighbours to such an extent that they couldn’t help but get roped in as well and as they did, Jean gave a final rousing rendition of the chorus which was greeted by a round of rapturous applause and as Jean remembered the deep bow he gave, his face glowed in a beaming smile. The house was now spick and span, gleaming like a new pin and per his master’s schedule he now had a good three hours to recover before helping his master into bed. During that doze, Jean wondered what his friends in the past careers he had been in would make of him serving a gentleman, but having worked so hard he was soon gently dozing, dreaming of his days as a physical culturist. As he did, he dreamt about his days as a gymnast performing tumbling routines that made people dizzy, as a professor of the sport where he would whip those less strong than himself into shape, and how that training had helped him rise up the ranks of the Paris fire service to become a sergeant and as he dreamt about the day when he was raised to that rank, his muscular chest swelled with pride as he dreamed about the moment the ceremonial pin was attached to his jacket and he was hailed by the gathered crowd. “Passepartout, Passepartout!” The smile on his face was now in danger of escaping his face when another voice entered his dreams. “JEAN, COULD YOU COME AND SEE ME PLEASE?” Jean sat up with a start. Was that? No, it couldn’t have been, he wasn’t due back for at least two hours. “JEAN, I NEED TO SPEAK WITH YOU QUITE URGENTLY!” It was. His master was back. Jumping from his bed, he raced downstairs and found his master standing in the hallway holding his cane and his hat and looking rather stern. As Jean screeched to a halt in front of him he panted “Forgive me, monsieur!” “I had to call you twice!” he said, his face not displaying anything bar a stern expression “But, monsieur” replied Jean, “you should not be back for quite some time!” “I realise that” he said as Jean took his hat and cane, “and I am not going to lay blame. Now, I would like you to pack my trunk as we are leaving for Dover in ten minutes!” “We are?” asked Jean, wondering what his master meant. “That’s right” replied Phileas as he entered his room, “Around the world to be precise!” and with that closed the door leaving his manservant completely stunned by this development. As he walked back to his room, the astonishment gave way to anger and entering his room, he slammed the door, slumped to his knees and pounded his bed in desperation swearing under his breath. “I thought I was never going to travel again!” he roared as he stamped his foot. He had left the world of the circus and all its travelling behind years ago. All he wanted to do was just settle down and he had hoped that in England he would have done so but in the five years that he had been in the country, it seemed as if every master had been a traveler. Jean had been a sort of vagrant in his early years, and now yearned for repose; but so far he had failed to find it, though he had already served in ten English houses. But he could not take root in any of these; with chagrin, he found his masters invariably whimsical and irregular, constantly running about the country, or on the look-out for adventure. His last master, young Lord Longferry, Member of Parliament, after passing his nights in the Haymarket taverns, was too often brought home in the morning on policemen’s shoulders. Passepartout, desirous of respecting the gentleman whom he served, ventured a mild remonstrance on such conduct; which, being ill-received, he took his leave. Hearing that Mr. Phileas Fogg was looking for a servant, and that his life was one of unbroken regularity, that he neither travelled nor stayed from home overnight, he felt sure that this would be the place he was after. But now, even he appeared to be have caught the bug and as he started to pack his bags, sorrow filling in his heart, he resolved that after this trip he would resign as manservant and find a new master who was perhaps very old and therefore would never travel. At eight o’clock that evening, Jean walked down the staircase carrying a bag full of clothes and then, still worried as to why his master had suddenly decided to travel somewhere entered the main living room where his master had opened a safe. Gesturing for Jean to place the bag on a table, he started to fill it with notes of all manner of different currencies noting them as he placed them in the bag. “Pounds for use in England and Egypt, Francs for France, Lira for Italy, Rupees for India, Straits dollars for Singapore and the Hong Kong version for there, yens for Japan, more dollars for the United States and a few extra pounds just in case” and with that he closed the bag and announced, “Jean, I have wagered half my personal fortune that I can travel the world in eighty days. Inside that bag is the other half. Trust it with your life!” The manservant stood to attention and saluted his master accepting his charge and picked up the bag. As he did, it dropped suddenly and it took every ounce of his strength to prevent it from falling to the floor. As Phileas heard his manservant grunt, he looked and instantly started to feel himself becoming hard again. Jean was by no means one of those pert dunces depicted by Moliere with a bold gaze and a nose held high in the air; he was an honest fellow, with a pleasant face, lips a trifle protruding, soft-mannered and serviceable, with a good round head, such as one likes to see on the shoulders of a friend. His eyes were blue, his complexion rubicund, his figure almost portly and well-built, his body muscular, and his physical powers fully developed by the exercises of his younger days and it was those muscles, struggling to lift the bag that was making Phileas very uncomfortable indeed. He was the master of this man, not the willing acolyte who would worship the very ground he walked on and so with a slightly falsetto “Order a cab” and as the manservant placed the bag on his chest, which was heaving from the effort, he nodded and went outside where he saw a cab pass by the end of the lane. That cab was the cab that contained Mr. Sullivan and whilst Jean was hoping to catch it, if he had, he would not have liked where it was heading towards. *** As the cab stopped next to an obelisk in the heart of the district known as Tower Hamlets, Mr. Sullivan disembarked and looked around. Out of the gloom came a figure and as it got closer a wicked smile crossed Mr. Sullivan’s face. “Ah” Mr. Sullivan said as the figure came to a halt in front of him, “my dear Timothy. I am so glad that you could see me this evening!” The figure bowed and as he stood up introduced himself formally saying “And how may Timothy Renton, master of disguise, help the honourable governor of the Bank of England?” “I’ll tell you inside the cab” replied Mr. Sullivan and as he looked around said “Walls have ears you know!” As Mr. Sullivan threw his cigar into a nearby puddle, Timothy embarked and with a “Drive on”, the cab resumed its travels, the two conspirators discussing their objective. “I presume that you have heard about this wager I have with Phileas?” asked Mr. Sullivan. “I have” came the reply, “and if I understand correctly, if he does you stand to lose five thousand pounds?” “The money is not important” insisted Mr. Sullivan, “No, what worries me the most is that if Phileas succeeds he will become a national hero. He’ll be swept into Parliament at the next election and then what happens to me? Next thing I know, he’ll have a word in the Chancellor’s ear, who will then declare the Bank of England independent of government control and I will be out of a job. That man is the most conceited man I have ever come across in my life. He doesn’t deserve such an honour, therefore you and me are going to humiliate him, Timothy. We are going to humble him in the eyes of the world and ensure that he does not complete his wager!” “And how much is it worth?” asked Timothy, his eyes gleaming with greed. However, before Mr. Sullivan could answer the cab encountered a very bad piece of road and the two villains were bounced around as if in a washing machine. Despite the problems Mr. Sullivan promised Timothy that if he managed to stop Phileas from completing his journey, the five thousand pounds that Phileas would owe him would be his by right. As Mr. Sullivan was thrown about and started to hit Timothy’s jaw with his shoe he replied “I will take the job, sir, just tell your driver to slow down!” but it was to no avail as Mr. Sullivan’s shoe punched Timothy’s jaw with such force that a painful howling could be heard as the cab carried on its way.
  7. CardiMuscleman

    Political colours

    This might not work (but in case it doesn't I shall spell the colours). Here in the United Kingdom we have a total of nine parties in Parliament (and when you include the various devolved institutions we have a grand total of 15 parties and in local councils that figures increases to nearly 20) and for the election night coverage, each party is given it's own colour. As of the last election, here's the colours that the BBC used for their graphics The Conservatives are blue (HTML code 0575C9), Labour are in red (ED1E0E), the Scottish National Party are an off yellow (E1A922), the Liberal Democrats are a darker version (D67837), the Democratic Unionists are brown (C1153D),Sinn Fein are dark green (00623F), Plaid Cymru are a similar green (35773F), the Greens are a lighter green (28A53C) and the Independent member for North Down is pink (D26FBC). However this has not always been the case, take a look at the 1983 general election map when the Alliance (Liberal and SDP), Plaid and the SNP were given completely different colours to the ones used now.
  8. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Seven As the chairman looked at Phileas with a confused look on his face, Phileas turned and smiled in a reassuring manner. “Mr. Sullivan” he added, “I believe that to travel around the world so take no more than eighty days!” “WHAT?” exclaimed Mr. Sullivan, “that’s the most ridiculous statement I think I have ever heard you utter!” “I beg to differ!” and with that he went to a table and picked up a copy of that day’s Daily Telegraph and opened it up to reveal a report. “This report, gentlemen, outlines a schedule that gets you from London to London in eighty days precisely!” As the members crowded in to read the report, one of them said “But this is just a theory!” “A theory” replied Phileas, “that has been researched and therefore is viable and if a journey is viable, then it can be done” and with that he rattled off the schedule before anyone had a chance to stop him. “ “You travel from London to Suez, via Dover, Calais and Brindisi, all of which takes a week, then you sail on to Bombay with takes thirteen days. That is then followed by a three-day crossing of India and then another thirteen-day sail, this time from Calcutta to Hong Kong. Once there you transfer to another ship heading to Yokohama in Japan which takes another six days, then the real mammoth crossing. Twenty-two days sailing across the Pacific to San Francisco. After that another week to cross the United States and then finally a nine-day crossing across the Atlantic arriving back after how many days, your Lordship?” he concluded with a smile. “By Jove!” His Lordship declared as he finished totting up the sums, “Eighty days to travel the world!” and getting caught up in the excitement he tried to stand up from his chair but his legs couldn’t stand the strain and he would have fallen over if Phileas hadn’t caught him and said “Yes, eighty days Your Lordship” and helping him back into his chair he turned and said “And all thanks to the miracle of modern engineering!” “Complete stuff and nonsense!” retorted Mr. Sullivan, “Your finger can go around the world in eighty days, maybe, but you can’t!” “And what about bad weather?” asked another member “Shipwrecks!” said another, punching the arm of a shipping magnate “Railway accidents!” the man replied, punching the arm of the railway owner “All included” replied Phileas calmly “You see” said the chairman, “It can be done!” “Theoretically maybe” said Mr. Sullivan, “but practically I…” “Practically” replied Phileas holding Mr. Sullivan a stern gaze. “Well” then said Mr. Sullivan, “Do it!” As the two members stared at each other with intent, the other members were starting to get a little worried. Several of their past members had drawn pistols at dawn over things less than this and it certainly look as if another duel was being planned when Phileas declared “Gentlemen, I will!” The room was stunned into silence as Phileas continued his declaration saying “I, Phileas Hines Fogg, of number seven Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, London, will travel around the world in eighty days. I will follow the route as outlined in the article published using any means of transport available to me” and then he added, “and I will wager half my personal fortune, twenty thousand pounds, that it can done!” Lord Albemarle was stunned at this news and grasped Phileas’s sleeve and said “Sir, please, I…” but Phileas just smiled and gently removed the chairman’s hand announcing “Gentlemen, do you accept the wager?” “WE ACCEPT!” announced the five members of the Reform Club standing before Phileas and with that they shook on the deal each wagering five thousand pounds of their own money in return. Taking a chequebook from his jacket, Phileas wrote a cheque for twenty thousand pounds and added “Today is October 2nd 1872” and as he spoke he dated the cheque December 22nd 1872 and handing it to the chairman announced “If I do not return by a quarter to nine in the evening of the twenty first day of December, this year, the money in this cheque will become yours by right!” As a memo confirming the wager was drawn up and signed, Phileas stood impassively. He had been challenged by his fellow Reform Club members to prove the article right and as I think you will have discovered by now, when an Englishman is challenged to do anything, he does it! Half an hour later, three people left the Reform Club. The first was Phileas heading home, as he always did on foot, pacing the five hundred and seventy-six steps between the Reform Club and his home in a methodical manner. He was followed a short while later by Mr. Weston, owner of the Daily Telegraph, who having lost several guineas to Phileas in a game of whist suddenly had a wonderful idea. Hailing a hansom cab he ordered “Fleet Street, my man!” and was soon heading towards the newspaper heartland of London. It wasn’t until several moments after that, that Mr. Sullivan emerged. However, when he hailed the cab, he gave the driver no instructions bar “Head East!” and with that got into the cab that travelled towards the seedier parts of the capital.
  9. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Six “Good evening Phileas, enjoying the papers I see?” Phileas placed his newspaper on the table and stood up with a broad grin on his face. “Lord Albemarle, how are you this fine evening?” and with that walked over to the erstwhile chairman of the Reform Club and bowed deeply which caused the chairman to chuckle. He then asked if Phileas would be so kind as to help him take part in the discussion about the bank robbery that was the talk of the town. Phileas smiled and placed his hands on the back of the chairman’s wheelchair and gently wheeled him to the others still deep in conversation. Lord Albemarle had been chairman for the best part of forty years, the last ten of which had seen him confined to a wheelchair after falling from his horse during the annual Reform Club hunt held in the grounds of Windsor Great Park at the Queen’s invitation and whilst his body may have succumbed to the rigours of time, his mind was as sharp as anything, indeed he was the only member who knew about Phileas’s inversion having discovered it by accident after putting two and two together and coming up with four but unlike most people he quietly took Phileas aside and said "Sir, I know that you are inverted, but fear not, I am a true Englishman and will never breathe a word to anyone" for which Phileas took as what it was, a commitment by a noble man and he was grateful for it As the chairman got stuck into the discussions, Phileas excused himself and joined a game of billiards that was in progress. Naturally these games were the subject of wagers and he was challenged to hit three of the six rails on the table without hitting any of the other balls and then potting the black and the cue ball into the pocket directly opposite the final rail. He accepted the challenge and kneeling examined the table closely. He then stood up, chalked the cue, aimed it at the ball and hit it. As the ball travelled across the table, following the path exactly as challenged he said “Three rails, gentlemen” and as the cue ball entered the pocket, one of the people who had challenged him lost his temper slightly, but congratulated Phileas on his skill as any true Englishman would. As they did, in walked Mr. Gauthier Sullivan, one of the directors of the Bank of England and although he appeared cheery on the outside, when one of the members offered his sympathy about the robbery, Mr. Sullivan replied “I would consider it a great favour if you would drop the subject, gentlemen, after all we have come here to relax!” and with that he picked up a cue and challenged Phileas to a game of snooker which he accepted. As Phileas rearranged the table for the game, Mr. Sullivan added “I have no doubt that the culprit is still in London” and as he lined his shot to break the pack continued, “hiding out somewhere, waiting for the attention to die down” and with that he broke the pack. Or would have done if there had not been a very loud “POPPYCOCK, MR. SULLIVAN” which caused Mr. Sullivan to mishit the ball so wildly that it leapt into the air and landed in the lap of His Lordship, the person who had made the outburst. As Mr. Sullivan recovered from the shock, he glared at the chairman and growled “And what may I ask is so amusing?” “You are, sir” came the reply from His Lordship as he wheeled himself up to the table, “I agree that the scoundrel who robbed your bank is in hiding, but to assume that he is still in London, three days later, is ridiculous!” “Then, may I be so bold as to ask where he is?” asked Mr. Sullivan “Italy, Spain, Germany, Prussia” replied His Lordship, “take your pick!” “Explain yourself” replied Mr. Sullivan with a great deal of anger in his voice. “Phileas” asked His Lordship, “would you be so kind as to wheel me to the globe please?” Phileas nodded with a smile and as he wheeled the chairman to the globe, willed to the Club by its founder fifty years previously, the rest of the members gathered around. “In the last century, the world has shrunk considerably” started the chairman, “Transportation has improved so much in that time, that you can travel up to ten times faster than you could at the turn of the century. Steamships are replacing sailboats, trains are replacing stagecoaches, I dare say that eventually even those methods will be replaced by something faster and better!” Phileas was hanging on the chairman’s every word and gestured for him to continue his explanation. “It really is amazing how fast people can travel now!” he continued, “When I was a young lad it took you ages to get anywhere and now, well, I dare say that you could travel around the whole world in, oh, six months!” As Phileas examined the globe, his knowledge of travel came to the fore and he agreed with His Lordship’s assessment. “You know!” the chairman announced, “I would be confident in saying that with a good wind and a bit of luck, I think it should be possible to travel around the world in three months!” and with that banged his fist on the arms of his wheelchair. However, the statement drew derision from Mr. Sullivan who said “That’s nothing more than an absurd fantasy” and pausing he said “If you are so confident, do it then. Travel around the world in twelve weeks!” “That’s not fair” replied His Lordship, a hint of sadness in his voice, “you know that I can’t!” “Because you know it’s impossible!” replied Mr. Sullivan and with that started to laugh. As Phileas watched His Lordship’s face turn down at the corners, something snapped inside of him. He was a gentleman and what sort of gentleman would allow an elderly person be laughed at by those younger than him. But instead of lashing out and punching them all to the ground, Phileas lashed out in another way. “What His Lordship has told you is not a fantasy” he said, “but cold hard fact!”
  10. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Five But, of course dear reader, you have no idea what this robbery was like do you? Then let me explain and to do that, we leave the Reform Club and head to Scotland Yard, home of the Metropolitan Police, that fine institution whose members were always on call and ready to do their duty. Because of the seriousness of this case, their Commissioner Rowan was leading the investigation and was even now talking to one of the witnesses, a poor man by the name of Jenkins who was nursing a large bump on his head and as he explained why to the Commissioner, the Commissioner paced the room formulating his theories. “So” he said, “a gentleman snuck up on you from behind and hit you on the head with his cane?” and as if to demonstrate the cowardly action, hit himself on the head which caused him to howl in pain. “Yes” replied Jenkins, concerned that the Commissioner might have hurt himself, “just as you say!” Taking this information on board, the Commissioner resumed his pacing and said “So, let me see if I understand you correctly. At five minutes to five o’clock in the afternoon, three days ago, you placed a pile of notes to the value of fifty-five thousand pounds on the principal cashier’s table with the intent of placing them in the vault when a gentleman came up to you, hit you over the head with his cane and caused you to black out?” As Jenkins held his head to protect it from the roars of the Commissioner, he nodded in agreement. “Right then” said the Commissioner, rubbing his chin, “I understand the situation perfectly!” “The idea that a gentleman could be a robber” said Jenkins, “in this day and age. It beggars belief, sir!” Taking pity on the poor clerk, the Commissioner smiled and said “You can’t judge a book by its…” and then paused as he tried to think of how the proverb ended, “…lining, no, that’s not right. Cover, unlikely” and then he snapped his fingers and declared “You can’t judge a book by its index, Jenkins!” “Please, sir” said Jenkins, “you have got to catch this man. I dare not show my face in the bank again. You know what a temper Mr. Sullivan has. He is convinced that it is all my fault. He might even…” and he gulped as he said “…sack me!” Just then, the door to the Commissioner’s office burst open and in ran a police constable in plain clothes saying “Sir, Sir!” but he was pulled back by his colleague. The first man to enter was Constable Drummond, a man described by his fellow constables as "Bully" not because, as you might guess he was an expert at getting bullseyes in any game of darts that he played down the pub, although he was, but because of all the constables on the force, he was by far the strongest, indeed he was so strong that he was feared by the criminal underclass of London as "The Bull and the Inspector", sadly however whilst he was endowed with strength, the same could not be said of his mind and many people wondered how the inspector, a gentleman of distinguished tastes, ever came to be partnered with him. As the inspector took the pipe out of his mouth and announced “We have the artist’s impression of the robber!” and he placed a collection of pictures on the table and was congratulated by the Commissioner who handed them to Jenkins and asked him if any of the pictures looked familiar. As Jenkins thumbed through them he picked one out and said “I recognise this gentleman” and handed it to the Commissioner who, without looking at it, showed it to the two men who had entered. "Gentlemen" he announced, "I want you to find this man instantly and bring him in for questioning!” “Sir!” replied the constable scratching his head, “do you really mean that?" “What do you mean?” bellowed the Commissioner, “Are you not members of Scotland Yard?” “We are, sir!” replied the inspector, “but we can hardly question you, can we?” As the Commissioner turned the picture around he gasped. There in his hand was a picture of him and as he demanded to know where it came from Jenkins noted, “It’s a good likeness!” which prompted the Commissioner to tear the picture up into shreds. As he did Jenkins suddenly declared “That’s him. That’s the man who knocked me over the head!” and picked up another picture and handed it to the Inspector. “That is Mr. Phileas Fogg” replied the Inspector demonstrating why he and Drummond were complete opposites, “He lives at number seven Saville Row, is a member of the Reform Club and if my sources are correct has recently employed a new manservant” “Then find him!” bellowed the Commissioner and added as the two men left, “If you bungle this case up, then you’re both be demoted to the ranks” but as the constable raised a hand, the Commissioner shouted “and that means mucking out the horses of the mounted division for you, Drummond!” “Sir, yes, sir!” they both saluted and with that left the Commissioner’s office.
  11. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Thank you very much indeed for the comments. I shall be honest and admit I have never heard of "Death by Silver" prior to you mentioning, but had come to the conclusion that in one of the translations I have the translator suggests that Fogg and Passepartout are indeed gay, however as I know the story back to front (and as well as sideways) I am keeping to the core story as best I can.
  12. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    As there do not appear to be any objections to the serialisation, then I shall continue Chapter Four As Phileas walked through the centre of London to his club, plodding the same route, at the same time of day, never getting there a moment later or earlier, he found himself pondering the feat of strength he had just witnessed and found himself asking the same question repeatedly, “How can a man of such reduced stature be so strong?” Phileas was an avid reader of the classics and ever since he had been introduced to the Greek legends as a child, he reveled in the feats of strength portrayed. Samson bringing the temple down on whose who had enslaved him, Hercules completing his famed labours and when a few years previously, the French author Alexandre Dumas has published a series of stories based on the old French guard of the King known as Musketeers and included in their number a man who could bend iron bars with his bare hands, Phileas was one of the first people to pick up a copy but all those men were tall, the same height as himself or even taller. Jean was a shadow of man compared to him, at least a foot smaller and yet that feat of strength was… “Oh, my hat!” The sudden shriek of a young girl walking through Regent’s Park broke Phileas’s train of thought and as he came to he saw the hat in question being blown by the wind and the poor girl chasing after it. Phileas stopped and lifting his cane like a javelin, focused on the hat and threw the cane with all his might. The cane impacted with the hat and sailed into the distance, prompting the gentleman to break into a sprint so that as the cane fell to earth, he caught it with one hand and taking the hat off the top of it presented it to the girl with a kindly “Your hat, miss!” and with that he gently doffed his hat. “Oh, thank you kindly sir!” the girl replied in a broad East End accent and returned Phileas’s politeness with a curtsey and then ran off out of the park. As Phileas watched, he wondered what sort of a father he might be, but knew that would never happen and so with that replaced his hat and carried on with his walk, increasing his pace to ensure that he arrived at the Reform Club on the stroke of midday. As he turned the corner into Pall Mall, the bells of “Big Ben” struck midday and on the last chime of those bells, Phileas was at the steps of the Reform Club where he bowed to the doorman who opened the great doors. It was an imposing building which per the reports banded around in the newspapers cost at least three million pounds to build. Phileas didn’t let things such as money bother him, but he smiled as he climbed the staircase to the dining room passing the portraits of those members who had given towards the cost of the building in ascending order of donation with his portrait at the very top. The dining-room, with nine windows which opened upon a tasteful garden, where the trees were already gilded with an autumn colouring; was dressed ready for lunch and so Phileas took his place at the habitual table, the cover of which had already been laid for him. His breakfast consisted of a side-dish, a broiled fish with Reading sauce, a scarlet slice of roast beef garnished with mushrooms, a rhubarb and gooseberry tart, and a morsel of Cheshire cheese, the whole being washed down with several cups of tea, for which the Reform is famous. Now, dear reader, you might be wondering what sort of a man has breakfast when most people have their lunch? Well, the Reform Club was a club where gentlemen came to spend their day and as such operated on that scheme, so the first meal of the day was called breakfast. Therefore, when he rose at thirteen minutes to one, he directed his steps towards the large hall, a sumptuous apartment adorned with lavishly-framed paintings where he was handed an uncut Times, which he proceeded to cut with a skill which betrayed familiarity with this delicate operation. The perusal of this paper absorbed Phileas Fogg until a quarter before four, whilst the Standard, his next task, occupied him till the dinner hour. Dinner passed as breakfast had done, and Mr. Fogg re-appeared in the reading-room and sat down to the Pall Mall at twenty minutes before six. Half an hour later several members of the Reform came in and drew up to the fireplace, where a coal fire was steadily burning. They were Mr. Fogg’s usual partners at whist: Andrew Stuart, an engineer; John Ralph and Samuel Fallentin, bankers and Thomas Flanagan, a brewer all of whom were rich and highly respectable personages, even in a club which comprises the princes of English trade and finance and the conversation soon turned to the major news event of the day. “Well” said Thomas Flanagan, “what about that robbery?” “Oh,” replied Stuart, “the Bank will lose the money.”
  13. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Three “Now” said Phileas, “your name is John, correct?” “Jean” came the reply, “Jean Passepartout, monsieur. a surname which has clung to me because I have a natural aptness for going out of one business into another” “I see that from your references” replied Phileas. Jean smiled for the first time since meeting his potential employer. “I’ve been an itinerant singer, a circus-rider, when I used to vault like Leotard, and dance on a rope like Blondin. Then I got to be a professor of gymnastics, to make better use of my talents; and then I was a sergeant fireman at Paris, and assisted at many a big fire” and then he had an idea and asking “With your permission, monsieur?” Permission was granted and as he placed his bag and hat on the ground, he walked to the table next to where his potential master was sitting and announced “Attention, s’il vous plait!”. Taking the decanter from the table, he poured some water into a glass, then took the tray that the decanter had been on and his potential master’s cane and whilst twirling it on the end of the cane balanced the glass, now full of water on his head, then slowly moved the tray underneath his feet keeping the glass on his head completely still. He then threw the tray into the air and ducked down at the same time allowing the glass to land on the tray without spilling a drop. As Phileas watched in absolute disbelief, he began to wonder if this man wanted to be a manservant at all, but then he did something that made Phileas very uncomfortable. Placing the cane on the floor, Jean started to heave himself up so that all his weight was balanced on the cane with just one hand. Phileas instantly knew how much strength such a move entailed and as Jean brought himself horizontal, the tray with the glass in the other hand, he started to feel himself become hard again. Gritting his teeth, Jean slowly moved his body from horizontal to vertical and as he did, he could feel his heart pounding. He hadn’t done this move for over a year and whilst he knew he had the strength to perform it, it was more taxing than he had remembered, but the adage from his circus days took over and as he repeated in his mind “The show must go on” he forced himself into a straight pose and stretched out his legs and arms. As he did, he could feel his body screaming in agony and his libido go through the roof. As he held that pose he could start to feel himself become hard but looking at his potential master didn’t react to the surge flowing through him. As Jean held the pose for a good fifteen seconds, Phileas squeezed his legs together. This man was demonstrating strength that put him in the shade. His heart must have been pounding like a drum, his muscles screaming in agony. For Phileas, this was like torture for him. No one bar himself knew that he was inverted, how his dreams each night were of men, showing off their strength and power for Phileas and then, at his consent, getting into bed with him and enjoying nights of passion usually reserved for married couples. He wanted this man to be his manservant, to feel those arms that were being pushed to their limits, to rub his hand on that muscular chest now heaving in agony. He needed this man. Unable to hold the pose for any longer, Jean jumped into the air, landed on the ground the right side up, caught the water in the glass still on the tray and bowing announced “Fin” and with that he closed his eyes expecting his potential master to give him a standing ovation which never came. “You are very good indeed” replied Phileas, trying desperately to cover up his now raging erection, his mind filled with images of him and Jean making passionate love, “but you do realise I am after a manservant, not an entertainer!” Jean immediately stood to attention and declared “Oui, monsieur, I understand” and as he replaced the tray, he sighed. He’d blown it once again. This was the sixth time in as many weeks that he had tried to gain employment and every time he had let his circus skills get the better of him. Begrudgingly, he picked up his bag, sighed again and made for the door. As Phileas watched him make for the door, his heart sank. Where was Jean going? Had he said something to upset him? He couldn’t let a man whose strength had given him such an erection just walk out of his life and so asked “Do forgive me for asking but why do you want this job? I assume that you know I am a stickler for detail!” Jean paused and turning around, looking like a shamed schoolboy again, replied “I left my homeland of France five years ago and, wishing to taste the sweets of domestic life, took service as a valet here in England. Finding myself out of place, and hearing that Monsieur Phileas Fogg was the most exact and settled gentleman in the United Kingdom, I have come to monsieur in the hope of living with him a tranquil life, and forgetting even the name of Passepartout” and with that bowed to Phileas, replaced his hat and carried on towards the door but was stopped by “You are well recommended to me and I hear a good report of you. You know my conditions?” Jean turned around slowly, nodding as he did so. “Now from this moment, twenty-nine minutes after eleven in the morning on this Wednesday, 2nd October, you are in my service” replied Phileas. Jean’s eyes opened wide in amazement and as he bowed, he replied meekly “Merci, monsieur” but then had a thought and took his watch out of his pocket and said “Forgive me, monsieur, but my watch says it is twenty-five minutes past eleven!” As Phileas stood up and picked up his cane he said “I recognise that watch. Swiss made, isn’t it?” and Jean replied “Oui, it is the most accurate watch ever produced by that nation!” As Phileas walked to the front door, picking up his top hat on the way, the clocks in the hall way all started to chime the half hour and as Phileas opened the front door, the chimes of “Big Ben” could be heard echoing the chimes of Phileas’s own clocks. He turned around and said with a defecating smile “I believe that your watch is four minutes slow, sir, may I recommend that you set it to Big Ben in future?” As Jean nodded, knowing that he was in the wrong, Phileas placed his hat on his head, twirled his cane a couple of times and set off on his daily walk to the Reform Club. As he stepped onto Savile Row, he started to hum and gently sang under his breath “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, Britons, never, never, never, shall be slaves” and with that turned the corner nodding his head to his new manservant. This is a story I wrote quite some time ago which is a total of 114,624 words and comes to just under 200 pages in total. I have thought for a long time about actually publishing it via an online publisher aiming it squarely at the (and I apologise for use of the term) "pink economy" but at the same time feel that 200 pages of words would get rather boring. Therefore would like to know two things a) May I serialise it here on a regular basis and b) if there is anyone who would like to illustrate it choosing suitable moments, then I would be only too happy to include your illustrations when it is published.
  14. CardiMuscleman

    The Tale of the Muscular Manservant

    Chapter Two: So, why was the man destined to be Mr. Fogg’s manservant late? Let us turn the clock back three hours and as Mr. Fogg was waking up, precisely two miles due west in the district of London known as Kensington, said manservant was fast asleep dreaming of his past exploits and the day that he pushed himself beyond the limits of human endurance and all because of a promise he had made to a friend. “But Jean, you can’t!” “My dear Hercule, I have to!” The year was 1860 and backstage at the famed Cirque de Paris, the legendary strongman Hercule Poisson was lying in agony on a makeshift bed with his dear friend Jean Passepartout holding his hand begging him to accept his idea. It had all started the day before when Jean, practicing for the command performance, now underway, for none other than His Imperial Majesty himself, had slipped when performing a catch high above the grand ring. If Hercule hadn’t heard his screams of terror as he fell and caught him, he would have certainly died, but what a price the strongman paid for as he caught him he pulled his back and had spent all the time since in agony, his back spasming at random intervals. “Jean, please, mon amis, I beg you!” groaned Hercule “Mon amis” replied Jean, holding the strongman’s hand, “I have to. His Majesty is expecting a demonstration of the power of France. Someone must go out there and perform your feat of strength. As it was me that caused you to be in this state, it is me who has to put it right” and with that he stood up and went behind a curtain. Hercule continued to protest but as Jean re-emerged wearing Hercules’ trademark tiger skin and loincloth the apprentice strongman said “If you want to do anything, pray for me, mon amis” and with that he turned and walked towards the grand ring. “Madames, Monsieurs, Le Emperor” announced the ringmaster, doffing his hat to the royal box, “Le Cirque de Paris is proud to present the strongest man in France, Hercule Poisson” and with that he stepped back from the curtain and out stepped Jean and walked past the ringmaster who suddenly realised that the man stepping out was not the man he was expecting and with that rushed backstage. As Jean walked towards the centre of the ring, five men struggled with two large barrels and placed them in front of him. There was a bar attached between them and on the back of the barrels was a prepared script that Jean read in his loudest voice. “Madames, Monsieurs, Le Emperor” and acting on the script bowed deeply before standing up and continuing “These are two kilderkin barrels usually full of wine for export proving the prowess of the French nation in the art of winemaking. Today, however, they are filled with water from the river Seine. I will lift these barrels over my head in a demonstration of the power of France!” and following the script bowed again but as he did, a fearsome thought entered his head. A kilderkin barrel when full of wine weighed a hundred and fifty pounds, just a little less than his weight. Two of them filled with water was the same as lifting two of himself, three hundred and twenty-five pounds. If he was afraid, he didn’t show it as he grabbed the bar and announced, reading the script “This feat of strength requires complete concentration, I must therefore ask for silence as I dedicate myself to it!” and with that closed his eyes. As soon as he pulled on the bar, he felt his back roar in agony. Gritting his teeth, he grunted “I must do this, for Hercule” and with a mighty scream he picked up the bar and pulled it up to his waist. He could feel his heart hammering inside him, his breathing getting deeper and knew he was pushing his body to the limits, but he kept on repeating to himself in his mind “For Hercule” and so digging deeper than he had ever done before he roared as he pushed the barrels up into the air and stood tall leading to the audience cheering so loud that as Jean dropped the barrels from their height his roar of success could only barely be heard. As the barrels smashed into the ring and broke into a thousand pieces, the ringmaster dashed out and held up one of Jean’s hands announcing “Madames, Monsieurs, Le Emperor. This man is not Hercule, this is the man who Hercule saved from almost death yesterday. This man is Jean Passepartout, an acrobat and gymnast who should have been up there. He did this as a thank you to the man now lying in agony backstage having put his back out saving this man’s life. I call upon you all now to accolade this brave man and the strength that makes him the equal strongest man in France” “Passepartout, Passepartout, Passepartout” roared the crowd and as Jean bowed, the famed strongman supported by two clowns came out and as both men hugged each other, both in tears of friendship, the chanting grew louder and louder. “Passepartout, PASSEPARTOUT!” As the man muttered his name under his sleep, anyone looking at the scene would have noticed that because he slept naked, his organ was already long and hard as the sensations of that day flooded through him. As the mutterings turned into deep and rapid breathing, the still sleeping Frenchman started to brush his nipples causing the organ to start to rise. As it did the breathing became more rapid still, the brushing was now a full-on assault and as the man’s eyes started to open it was clear that the man was thinking about one thing alone which he announced with a mighty “NIQUER” and covered himself with the essence of man. As he recovered and rubbed the sticky liquid over his muscular torso with one hand, he reached for the pocket watch sitting on the table next to the bed he was sleeping in and looked at it before suddenly sitting upright and gasping “My appointment”. For the next ten minutes, the man who had been dreaming of his days in the circus pushing his body to the limit, ran around like a maniac and just fifteen minutes later was running the two miles from Kensington to Westminster, desperate not to miss his appointment. As he raced around a corner, he screeched to a halt and found himself in the middle of the road where a hansom cab was bearing down on him. If it had not been for his cat like reactions that saw him backward somersault three times, he would certainly have been killed but in the act of his escape, the references that would see him gain employment slipped from his grasp and started to float down the road, borne by the gentle October breeze. As he ran down the street, following them gasping for breath from his run, the wind dropped the paper to the ground and with a grunt of annoyance, he took his hat and threw it over the paper which secured it. Taking a moment to recover from his exertions, he looked around him for the first time and then referring to another sheet of paper he realised that he was outside the place that would offer him employment as a manservant to an English gentleman. “Sacre bleu” he breathed as he took in the residence, “What a place. Oh, la, la. I am going to live in a mansion and be butler to an English gentleman and…” and with that he closed his eyes and imagined what it would be like. Anyone passing by would wonder what he was doing but after a few moments he opened his eyes, took a deep breath, picked up his references from the ground, put his hat back on his head and walked up to the door and knocked firmly. Inside the building, the now thoroughly disgruntled Mr. Fogg stood up and grumped “Finally!” and with that made his way to the door. He opened it to find a man humming the French national anthem and aided by being on the top step of the steps that led to the front door, towered over the man by a good two feet and announced “You’re four minutes late, sir!” The Frenchman dropped the bag he was carrying in shock. He couldn’t be late; he had checked his watch just seconds previously and it was showing just a few seconds before eleven. As the potential employer stood over him, he panicked but quickly recovered, took off his hat and bowed saying “Apologies, monsieur, I did not mean to offend” and as he tried to remember what to say he started to lose all his confidence. “And you are…?” asked Phileas still standing over the man. “I have come about the position of employment, monsieur, as your manservant” came the slightly halting reply. “Well, you had better come in” replied Phileas and with that led the man into the house. As he sat down on the chair in the hallway where he had been waiting, the Frenchman presented him with the references and as Phileas studied them intently, the Frenchman stood opposite him, almost like a shamed schoolboy with his hat in front of his chest.
  15. Chapter One: As the sun rose over the glorious city of London, the capital of the United Kingdom ruled over by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Defender of the Faith and Empress of India, it revealed a city with the first mists of autumn mingled with the smoke of the industrial heartland of the East End. Alongside the Thames that flowed through the city, the Westminster Clock Tower, standing tall over the mother of Parliaments, announced to the world via “Big Ben” the bell in the heart of the tower, that eight o’clock had arrived on October 2nd 1872. A fact that Police Constable Thompson, who had been up since six o’clock that morning, was aware of. He oversaw turning off the gas lamps in the district of the City of London and as he turned off the gaslamp outside number seven Saville Row, he looked up and smiled. Even since he had found out that Sheridan, the famous poet of the eighteenth century, had lived in the house until his death in 1814, he felt a sense of pride that he was looking after the street where he once lived and having done his duty carried on down the street. Inside number seven, the owner slowly opened his eyes, yawned and stretched. Taking a clock from his bedside table he listened to the chimes of “Big Ben” and nodded his approval that his bedside clock was keeping perfect time. Placing the clock back, he picked a small bell and rang it expecting his manservant, Forster, to come dashing in and help his master get dressed. However, no sooner had he rang the bell, than he said, “Oh, yes, I fired him, yesterday didn’t I?” and with that replaced the bell. As the owner got out of bed and made his bed, he remembered the unhappy event that had led to him sacking Forster. It happened when the unlucky manservant handed the owner his shaving water and as the owner took out the thermometer to measure the temperature his eyes opened wide and he bellowed “EIGHTY-FOUR DEGREES? ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME CATCH A COLD?”. Forster only had a second to stammer “But, master, it was eighty-six when I left the kitchen” before a “YOU’RE FIRED!” resounded through the house. As the owner examined the clocks on the mantelpiece in his bedroom, chiding one for being a full minute out, he proceeded to perform his morning constitutionals. First he marched up and down the bedroom, raising his hands and feet in alternate steps, waggled his hips from side to side, touched his toes several times and then taking out two kettlebells from the cupboard placed them on the bedside table. As he did he took off the blue dressing gown he was wearing and then the pyjamas and stood there completely naked in the cool morning air. Grabbing the kettlebells in both hands, he took a deep breath, held it and then raised the weights into the air and then stared at his reflection in the mirror opposite. People said that he resembled Byron, the great English poet of the last century, at least that his head was Byronic; but he was a bearded, tranquil Byron, who might live on a thousand years without growing old and his body reflected this. It was well conditioned, thanks in part to the course that the owner subscribed to written, which seeing as he obtained the copies direct from the author he could attest to, Donald Dinnie, a man that many people had compared to the heroes of Ancient Greece and while the owner was nothing like as strong as he puffed out his chest and sucked in his stomach he looked as much of a Greek hero as any of them. As he stood there, he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He liked the sensation and closed his eyes as he continued to hold his breath. He imagined himself standing on a stage next to Mr. Dinnie, the two men showing off their strength and as they did, the owner’s physique had one more surprise as just below his waist, an organ of the body that most people ignored started to stir. Slowly at first, it lengthened and as it did it thickened at the same time and in his imagination, the owner was soon thrusting it into Donald’s body with the strongman unable to resist. As the sensation grew, the owner opened his eyes and nodded at the sight of the organ bobbing in time with his heart. He knew what was going to happen and dropped the weights and started to rub it, still holding his breath. It wasn’t long before the owner’s face had turned bright red and his organ the deepest purple possible but the owner was determined to push himself to his limits and lay back on the bed, his face scrunched up in a combination of agony and ecstasy. Eventually the torture became too much and with a mighty “RULE BRITANNIA!” the owner roared and was soon covered with the essence of man on his naked body which he rubbed into it with moans of pleasure as his chest heaved, filling his lungs with oxygen. As he started to relax, he chuckled and said “Well done Phileas, next time, ten minutes!” So, who was this Phileas, who has just pushed his physical body to the limits of human endurance? He was an Englishman, certainly, but was he a Londoner? That was a question for the ages however. He was never seen on the floor of the Stock Exchange, nor at the Bank of England or the other smaller banks in the capital, nor in the counting-rooms in the square mile, the financial heart of England nor did any ships ever came into London docks of which he was the owner; he had no public employment; he had never been entered at any of the Inns of Court, either at the Temple, or Lincoln’s Inn, or Gray’s Inn; nor had his voice ever resounded in the Court of Chancery, or in the Exchequer, or the Queen’s Bench, or the Ecclesiastical Courts. He certainly was not a manufacturer; nor was he a merchant or a gentleman farmer. His name was strange to the scientific and learned societies, and he never was known to take part in the sage deliberations of the Royal Institution or the London Institution, the Artisan’s Association, or the Institution of Arts and Sciences. He belonged, in fact, to none of the numerous societies which swarm in the English capital, from the Harmonic to that of the Entomologists, founded mainly for abolishing pernicious insects bar one. He was a member of the Reform Club, the Club that was home to every great Liberal that England had produced and that was all. Was Phileas rich? Undoubtedly. But those who knew him best could not imagine how he had made his fortune, and Mr. Fogg, as he was more commonly referred to, was the last person to whom to apply for the information. He was not lavish, nor, on the contrary, avaricious; for, whenever he knew that money was needed for a noble, useful, or benevolent purpose, he supplied it quietly and sometimes anonymously. He was, in short, the least communicative of men. He talked very little, and seemed more mysterious for his taciturn manner. His daily habits were quite open to observation; but whatever he did was so the same thing that he had always done before, that the wits of the curious were puzzled. Had he travelled? It was likely, for no one seemed to know the world more familiarly; there was no spot so secluded that he did not appear to have an intimate acquaintance with it. He often corrected, with a few clear words, the thousand conjectures advanced by members of the club as to lost and unheard-of travelers, pointing out the true probabilities, and seeming as if gifted with a sort of second sight, so often did events justify his predictions. He must have travelled everywhere, at least in the spirit and yet, from the little that people knew of him, it was evident that he had not left the capital for at least fifteen years maybe longer. Those who were honoured by a better acquaintance with him than the rest, declared that nobody could pretend to have ever seen him anywhere else. His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing whist. He often won at this game, which, as a silent one, harmonized with his nature; but his winnings never went into his purse, being reserved as a fund for his charities. Mr. Fogg played, not to win, but for the sake of playing. The game was in his eyes a contest, a struggle with a difficulty, yet a motionless, unwearyingly struggle, congenial to his tastes. He was unmarried and didn’t have any children, and whilst you dear reader may have an idea why this was the case, to the residents of London this was something that could happen to the most honest of people and so nothing was thought of it, however as he didn’t have any relatives or indeed dear friends, that was certainly rather strange but living alone in his house with only a manservant suited him to the ground. However on this day, that element was lacking, and so after pouring himself a fresh pot of coffee, to which he added precisely one fifth of a pint of milk to, he downed it in less than a minute and dressed himself so that by eleven o’clock that morning he was sitting in the hallway of his home, his feet now covered by a pair of shoes so bright and shiny that he could see his reflection in them, a pair of brown trousers, a white shirt, with a thick red cravat and a jacket the same colour as his trousers waiting for the new manservant to present himself. However, as the clock in the hallway chimed the hour synchronized to the bell in the Westminster tower, the smile that had been on his face since he woke up disappeared and was replaced first with a frown and then a scowl. “This will never do!” he declared in a huff, “I can’t hire a manservant who isn’t on time!”
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