Chapter 17

McDudle

The sun was already setting when Frido McClown was awakened by loud noises. Frightened, he jumped up and saw a man approaching them. Now he could see what made the loud noises. In his left hand the man held a long stick by which he supported himself. Beside the stick his scrubby appearance was noteworthy. The butler threw a quick glance to the hamsters. He was relieved to see their curious noses peeping out of the suitcase. By now the man had come closer and seen the butler. His hand went up and he adjusted his dark, dirty hat. If only His Lordship would wake up, the butler thought, for he felt this to be a bit fishy. A peculiar, ragged man on a lonely graveyard on a lonely island! For sure he was the ghost of one of those buried here! The butler noticed that he was not able to retreat further because a big stone cross was right behind him. Well, at least I can’t fall over in shock, he thought.

“I’ve seen no boat, how did you get here? Or did the ghosts take you over?”

The man had a voice which was quite pleasant for a ghost.

“W-we came by wheelchair”, the butler replied truthfully.
“Finnegan McDudle”, the man said and held out his hand. “I’m the keeper of the graveyard. You know, I often come over to take a look. And today - well, my wife - you know, my friend, her chatty neighbour dropped in again. Well, so I thought, Finnegan, I thought, just go and take a look at the graveyard. And what’s your name, my friend?”

“F-Frido McClown and that is Lord McShredder who…”
“Fine, my dear Frido”, McDudle continued. “Well, you know how it is when they dames are sitting over a cup o’ tea. They’re slagging off everyone, and you know who in particular? Me, of course! Well, so I thought, Finnegan, I thought, see that you’re off. So I told them I had work to do. Say, what was your name?”
“Frido McClown.”
“Frido, right. How could I forget that? Well, so I took the boat and set off. Of course I did not go to Polloch. Finnegan McDudle isn’t daft, you know. No, I came here! To fox them! Had I gone to Polloch, the dames would have noticed it! My, they would have something to gossip then! Well, my dear… Say, what was your name?”
“Frido McClown”, the butler replied, a little irritated.
“Well, my dear Frido, there’s a snug little pub in Polloch and I wanted, well, you know, spent a few golden hours. That’s better than to listen to all that hue and cry and gossip at home. Why, you need to be clever, and so I made a little detour to this island and then, my dear… Er, what was your name?”
“Still McClown”, the butler groaned. “Well then, my dear McClown, I’ll row over to Polloch. Quite a way but I’ll have tailwind, you know. But one thing you don’t know. The return will be even faster as there is no wind at all during the night. Only the current! I’ll be home in no time. Well, and in Polloch I’ll broach a cask. Eat me! Do you know what my wife always says, me dear - er, what was your name?”
“Finnegan McDudle”, the butler replied unperturbed.
“Right, my dear Finnegan, she always says, Finnegan, she says, one day you’ll have drowned your brain in whisky. She has no idea! A little whisky does me no harm. But when I’m back home all the gossips are gone and I have my peace. But I’ve talked enough. Now do tell me who you are and what’s the name of that friend of yours over there.”

 

Jetty of Eilean Fhianain

Frido McClown gave an audible groan. His glance fell on the suitcase with the hamsters who curiously looked out and seemed to feel very amused. Then he walked over to His Lordship, patted his shoulder and shouted:

“Sir, we have a visitor!” The so addressed lord slowly opened his eyes, stretched and gave the newcomer a bewildered glance.

“McClown, what about a nice cup of tea for me and our guest?”
“Sir, we have no tea.”
“No tea, what a pity”, His Lordship sighed and walked up to McDudle.
“My name is Lord McShredder of Killichonan, conqueror of the Loch Ness monster and Duke of Spain. With whom do I have to honour?”
“Dudle, Sir, Finnegan McDudle.”
“How do you dare to call me a noodle?” milord crowed.
“But that is his name, Sir”, the butler tried to explain.
“His name is Noodle, McClown? Very curious.”
“Not Noodle, Sir, but McDudle.”
“I see!”

Slowly His Lordship understood and turned to the graveyard keeper.

“Are you able to bring us away from this island, Mr. Dudle?”
McDudle grinned. “No problem, Sir, I’m going to Polloch. High time for me to take a little something, if you know what I mean.”
“The man is right, McClown. We will accompany him and also take a little something.”
“Sir, I don’t want any whisky…”
“Whisky? McClown, what’s the matter with you? Follow the example of this polite and intelligent man! And now stow our luggage in the boat!”

Half an hour later they all were sitting in Finnegan McDudle’s boat and left the island behind them.