Chapter 10

Overnight Stay

It was raining hard by now. They all yearned for a warm, dry place. Especially Lord McShredder wished for a shower and a cup of tea. The latter to calm down his stomach. Moreover he had problems as he was not used to walk. On their way along the coast they met the village of Portuairk. To their great delight they found a small tea saloon, a cosy little house with slated roof and a big chimney. Inside it was most comfortable and they had a view onto the sea.

“Welcome to McHubble House”, an old man said. He was wearing a kilt, lent on a stick and looked at the newcomers sharply. Especially he eyed Lord McShredder who really did not offer much of a sight.
“Did anybody mention the name McHubble?” His Lordship crowed.
“Sir, if I might say something”, the butler butt in.
“Shut up, McClown, this is my business!” milord hissed and turned to the landlord.

In the meantime the hamsters had jumped onto a table. Some bread crumbs were lying about there and when they had taken them they made themselves comfortable and watched what was going to happen. Lord McShredder had risen from his chair. Remains of green puke dripped from his clothing, his face was pale and the hairs were windswept but he was ready for the next quarrel. He stood in front of the landlord.

“Where is the sheep which you recently stole from me, you bastard?”1

“Sir, please remember that this was in 1935 and the sheep by now certainly…”



“McClown, I know the date exactly! That doesn’t change the fact that McHubble is a mean thief!”

Milord turned to the landlord again. “Well, you bugger, where is it?”
“A thief? You have the guts to call McHubble a thief? It was my sheep which ran astray. I just fetched it back.”
“Fetched back? You stole it, you miserable bugger!” McShredder shrieked.

His butler in the meantime was sitting at the table together with the hamsters and listened to the fight between McShredder and McHubble. In between the butler succeeded in ordering a cup of chocolate and a lot of biscuits for the hamsters and himself. While McHubble went into the kitchen to get it, he still quarrelled loudly with milord. Frido McClown and the hamsters were delighted for they had food, drink, and loud entertainment. After half an hour the two gentlemen still had not solved their problems and His Lordship shouted:

“McClown, we will leave! I won’t stay in this house another minute!”
“All right, Sir”, the butler replied, chewing, and quickly pocketed the last biscuits which the hamsters had left.
Then he turned to McHubble: “How much will that be, Sir?”
“Nothing! I won’t take any money from the clan of McShredder!”

So they left the small house and walked on. Frido McClown and the hamsters had eaten their fill and were in the best of tempers. Lord McShredder looked tired and hungry.

“McClown, we should stop for a bite somewhere.”
“Sir, may I point out”, said the still chewing butler, “that first we are not very hungry and second the next stop is planned for Kilchoan.”
“Is that far?” His Lordship groaned.
“Not very”, the butler answered and looked at the sleeping hamsters. He had placed the sleepy animals into one of the suitcases on the wheelchair - the one with the clean underwear of milord. Between trunk and lid he had stuffed one of milord’s socks so that the hamsters got enough air. Satisfied, Frido McClown saw how his little friends huddled in the underwear and slept.

 



The small village of Archnaha lay behind them and now they reached a narrow bridge. To their left were mountains, to their right a forest. A few kilometres later they reached Kilchoan and walked directly towards a hostel where they wanted to stay overnight. His Lordship had collapsed a short time ago and so McClown had put him onto the trunks. He carted the wheelchair to the reception and pressed the bell on the counter. A moment later a thick, resolute looking woman appeared and glanced first at the butler, then at all that was on the wheelchair.

“This is no waste deposit, Sir. If you want to have a room, leave that there outside.”
“That there, Madam”, the butler calmly answered, “is Lord McShredder of Killichonan, conqueror the Loch Ness monster and Duke of Spain.”
“Don’t tell me”, the woman retorted. “When did he fight the monster? Just now?”

The thick woman was Mrs. McMyer and showed the room to the butler. She explained to him that at this time of the night there would be no warm meal but she could prepare some sandwiches. Gratefully, the butler accepted and first of all took the hamsters and trunks to the room, then His Lordship. A short time later Mrs. McMyer appeared with the promised sandwiches. He ate one of them, put another into the trunk with the hamsters and another one beside the sleeping McShredder. Then he went to bed, but only a short time later he was roughly awakened from his dreams.

“McClown, what does that noise mean?” His Lordship stood beside his bed and goggled at the suitcase.
“Well, Sir, er, that are the hamsters. They are nocturnal animals, you know, you could say nocturnal - er - especially at night.”
“I can hear that, McClown. Please take this party group out of the room at once!”

With a sigh McClown took the suitcase and carried it out. In the meantime milord took a shower. The butler lay down on the bed and ate another sandwich. To make things worse, His Lordship started singing under the shower while the hamsters had their very loud party outside the room. Some of them had scrambled out of the trunk and took a look around the small hostel. Downstairs, in the entrance hall, they found a fire place. Flecki und Tuffy discovered that the firewood made excellent see-saws. At the same time Goldi and chief engineer Botchy built a ramp from which firewood could be shot through the entrance hall with great success. It was really easy: a log of wood was placed at one end of the ramp, then they jumped onto the other end of the ramp and off went the log through the room. Well, now and then they hit other hamsters - so what? Dodo and Topple even succeeded to open the door of the big pendulum clock, and now they merrily swung at the pendular. The mayor who still felt a little dizzy, stood beside the bell on the counter. Goldi had told him that he was the referee. Every time a log hit the bell, they mayor was to lift his paw.

“And why is he to do that?” Flecki asked. “You can hear that all right.”



“O well”, Goldi mumbled. “Every time I hit the mayor, he gives such a charming squeak.”

The butler noticed nothing of all this, he snored peacefully. Lacking soap, His Lordship in the meantime finished his showering. Two bars of soap he had already lost. One got stuck in the plughole so that the water slopped out of the basin by now. All that would not have happened if the butler had heard his desperate shouts. But the butler slept. In the meantime the water had found its way under the bathroom door to the passage and down the stairs. Cheeringly, the feasting hamsters welcomed it as new playground. Now they were hot on rafting. Each hamster took a small log and bolted into the water. Mrs. McMyer had a restless sleep. She always had when new guests were in the house. Several times already she had heard curious noises, now and then she had the idea that the bell on the counter was ringing. Moreover there was some purling sound which she could not explain.

As she could not sleep any longer, she decided to get up and take a look. It gave her the creeps when she approached the entrance hall and the curious noises grew louder and louder. It sounded like “Yarooh!” and in between squeaking and the ringing of the bell. With pounding heart and quite furious she paused. The purling of the water was directly in front of her - but suddenly there was another noise. This drowned all other noises. A loud “McClown, help!” was to be heard, followed by a loud crash. Mrs. McMyers of course could not know that Lord McShredder just had found the second bar of soap. When he left the shower he stepped onto it and darted through the door with the afore mentioned cry for help. Necessarily, the door gave way and His Lordship continued his journey down the stairs. At this very moment Mrs. McMyer entered the scene and did not believe her eyes! Bathing hamsters! A naked lord coming down the stairs with a flush of water! And now some log of wood just missed her head. Mrs. McMyer took a deep breath! Then she let out a yell which even aroused Frido McClown..



“Out! At once!”

A few minutes later Lord McShredder and his butler with their luggage stood in the street. Low hamster-snoring sounded from the trunks. Lord McShredder stretched and breathed the clear night air.

“Excellent, my dear McClown, the wonderful night air will do us good. We do not have to go far for I know this terrain like the back of my hand. To that direction we’ll reach Mingary Castle. There we will stay overnight.”

 

 

1 (Book III: 'Hamster in Danger')