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Chapter 20


After rather a cold night lord and butler woke up feeling completely knocked out. Not only the rustling of their mattresses had disturbed them during the night but also the many tiny insects had irritated them a lot.

"Sir, another night in the wood and I'll quit."
"What sort of rubbish is that, McClown? Your brother is knight Hood and quite fit? - Nonsense! Better prepare tea for us. That will put some life into us."
"Sir, we still do not have any tea, if I…"
"Look about you, McClown, it's blooming and growing all around us! Do you see the blackberry bush over there? Take some of the leaves, make a fire and boil water! Why does nothing function here without me?"

The butler set to work but had a new problem after a few minutes.

"Sir, here are the leaves and there is the fire. How am I to heat the water, Sir? Ha ha, we don't have any pot, in case Your Essentialship failed to notice."
"Stop that saucy grinning, McClown! An old scout knows the means for everything!"

He fished his tobacco box out of his trouser pocket and emptied it into a handkerchief. Then he handed the box to his butler, saying:

"Here it is, McClown!" After a few minutes and after burning his fingers several times, Frido McClown served the tea. While the hamsters refused to try any of this, lord and butler sipped from the tobacco box something smelling like rubbish and tasting like tea.

"Wonderful, McClown", His Lordship exclaimed. "Now we are refreshed and may set off for Scotstown."
"Scotstown, Sir?"
"Scotstown, McClown. Did I never tell you? Well, it is not long ago that I searched for silver and gold. After several failures I came to the river Strontian. There I made a find of some white, silvery metal."
"Silver, Sir?"
"So I thought at first, McClown. Then it showed that it was strontium, not that valuable, but anyhow. I founded the thriving town of Scotstown. It grew and grew, but after a while I was no longer able to pay the costs for energy. So I sold the town and left it. Scotstown is a big, prospering city with many shops and pubs. They certainly still remember me and will welcome us. So we can save the costs for a hotel."

The butler stowed away everything and had some difficulties to get the hamsters, who wanted their breakfast, into the suitcase. One of the animals even bit his finger, so that he ran after it, swearing.

"McClown, stop fooling around with the hamsters! We must be off!" Lord McShredder did not mind his butler's scolding and slowly walked ahead. After a while Frido McClown followed him with the wheelchair and the hamsters.

"Well, I showed him what's what", Goldi boasted. "Did you hear him wailing?"
"No need to cut up that rough", Taty said. "That was as mean as the time you caused all teachers to stay at home with a nervous breakdown."
"Poooh, that was nothing but a little joke", Goldi tried to defend himself.
"Joke?" Flecki said. "They were in the middle of the conference on the certificates and you threw jumping crackers through the window. They got into such a fuddle that they thought it was Easter and they were to search eggs."
"Well, you got grade C in maths because teacher no longer knew exactly who you are", Goldi told her with an innocent look.
"Hush, shut up, the old geezer's talking about meals!" Dodo shouted and they all stared ahead.

"Exactly, McClown, as I said: a prosperous town. Of course we'll fill our bellies there and have some fun. I'll even give you a day off. What do you say?"

The butler did not look very convinced and goggled at the sign saying 'Scotstown'. It was hanging askew and looked quite rotten. The road was so bumpy that he had to take care that the wheelchair did not topple over. Few trees were around and the choppy wind blew dust into the faces of lord and butler. Here and there decayed houses and destroyed huts were standing at the roadside. Neither man nor beast were to be seen. After walking a few minutes in solitude they came to another sign saying 'You are leaving Scotstown now - Good bye'.

"Prosperous town, Sir? Having fun, filling our bellies, Sir?" the butler croaked, took the wheelchair and thrust it towards His Lordship. McShredder turned and with a shriek ran from his wheelchair. Naturally, the hamsters just loved this mad race and forgot their hunger for a while.
"Lots of shops and pubs, Sir?" the butler roared after His fleeing Lordship. "They will welcome you, you said, Sir?"
"McClown", milord panted while he still was running, "I admit that the structure of the town might have changed slightly. But that is not my fault."
"Ha", the butler panted back, "a day off, Sir? All right. And do you know what I'm going to do with my day off? I'll go hunting - monsters!"

Milord shrieked and doubled his efforts to escape when the wheelchair touched him.

"McClown, do listen to reason", His Lordship exhaustedly croaked when they reached a small town. The inhabitants curiously watched what was going on there. The wild chase passed a camping site and went on to a big white house behind a sharp bend which had written 'Hotel' at the front. The butler had taken the bend slowly so that the vehicle with the hamsters did not topple over and this slight advance His Lordship used to escape into the hotel.

"Do come out, Sir!" the butler bawled, panting and sweating. After a while the entrance door opened and McShredder peeped out.
"McClown", he panted back, "get away from that wheelchair and I'll come out."

The butler left the wheelchair casually and stepped aside but kept his eyes at milord.

"This is still my day off", he threatened.
"Do listen to reason, McClown. It isn't my fault that Scotstown came down within such a short span of time. In 1927 it looked just swell."
"I don't care, Sir. I want to eat and to sleep and the hamsters are hungry, too!" Loud, approving squeaks were to be heard from the suitcase.

His Lordship thought this over, then he reluctantly said: "Very well, McClown, we'll stay in this hotel overnight."