In Competition No. 3248, you were asked to submit the last will and testament of a fictional character.
In a smallish entry, Frank McDonald’s Ancient Mariner made a splash:
To make amends with my last breath
I must give more than words,
So my small fortune I bequeath
To a charity for birds.
I was amused, too, by Brian Murdoch’s Lucky Jim Dixon: ‘I desire to be cremated, and for my ashes be placed in a rolled-up copy of the Daily Mail and inserted up the bum of Professor Ned Welch, while, and this is very important, they are still hot’; Alan Millard’s Mrs Malaprop: ‘Being of round mind and not acting under duress or undue influenza, I do hereby decline this to be my last will and testicle…’; and Bill Greenwell’s Owl: ‘THIT LATH WITLWILL ANDESTY TSTSTA MENTO OF WOL (ME)…’
Mike Morrison, John O’Byrne and David Shields were also unlucky losers, narrowly outstripped by the winners, printed below, who pocket £30 each.
I, Miss Bates of Highbury, being – as my friend Miss Woodhouse so cleverly and often observes – of empty mind and full body, am grateful this is my last Will and Testament, another being quite beyond my powers. Mr Frank Churchill has kindly offered his services as Executor, observing that his duties will barely inconvenience him, his being so regularly in town about tonsorial business. I have but three very dull things to bequeath, all of them shawls. Should I predecease my Mother, an eventuality we discuss constantly with much animation, she may have all three shawls. She insists upon them, though only the beige truly compliments her complexion. Should Mother predecease me, the shawls – even the lilac Mr Knightley was so gallant as to remark approvingly upon at Michaelmas – go to my niece Jane Fairfax whom they also do not suit, not even my favourite, the lilac.
Adrian Fry/Miss Bates
I, Sherlock Holmes, being of keen analytical mind, bequeath my few treasured possessions as follows.
To Dr John H. Watson, a most industrious biographer though given to embellishment, my magnifying lens, the better to scrutinise the facts.
To Inspector G. Lestrade, an office man who possessed the good sense and humility to learn from my methods, my calabash pipe, as an aid to reflection.
To my brother Mycroft, a formidable brain but idle, who occasionally ‘is the British government’, good luck with that onerous task.
To Professor James Moriarty, whose regrettable turn to the dark side burned down his reputation as a scholar and scientist, a copy of my monograph on tobacco ashes.
Finally, to a great lady from a distant land whom I cannot name but once assisted in rescuing her reputation, I leave what some falsely believe a consulting detective might not have – my heart.
Basil Ransome-Davies/Sherlock Holmes
I leave all my money and pots of honey
To the mog I’d the wit to woo.
The rest of the loot? I don’t give a hoot
Where I leave it – to whom or to who –
But bequeath it I must, so I leave it in trust:
Small guitar: to the Bong Tree Museum,
With my ring and my fine set of runcible spoons,
Where the curious can queue up to see ’em.
My pea-green boat? A venue afloat
For bar-mitzvahs and weddings and dos,
Serving quinces and blintzes to playboys and princes,
And the odd Caribbongian cruise.
My collection of Owl and the Pussycat merch –
The ship’s log makes riveting reading –
I leave to the Church, to fund their research
Into feline-and-fowl interbreeding.
We, Smeagol, also known as Gollum of the Misty Mountains, being of unbalanced minds and etiolated body, do revoke all previous Wills and Testamentary Dispositionses, declaring this to be our Very Last and Final Willses. To this end, we appoints our Precious to be our Executor as it is the larger part of our Estate and will act in its own interests no matter what nasty hobbitses, elves or men or even lawyers says. To the goblins of the Misty Mountains, we leaves the Dark and such few slimy things within it as we have not chewed to lifelessness. Our precious, we leaves to Ourselves in perpetuity, our possible decease notwithstanding. So long as we has our Precious and keeps it hid, we shan’t die: it tells us so. If we die, it has been took and we demands its legal restitution because it’s ours and we wants it, yes-s-s-s.
I make this Will at the instigation of my exalted Patroness and from a persuasion that testamentary prudence is the duty of every clergyman, no matter how disappointed in his own expectations of inheritance. To my son, William, I bequeath the contents of my library, with the exception of the volume specified below. To my daughter, Catherine, I bequeath my convex mirror, in the hope that it will curb that tendency towards vanity which is, of all things, most disgusting in a young lady. Additionally, I bequeath my copy of Fordyce’s Sermons to my cousin Lydia, Dowager Viscountess Wickham, desiring that it may yet be of service to her. The residue of my estate I bequeath, devise and settle upon my dearest Charlotte, my wife and the beloved companion of my hearth, it remaining only for me to express the vigour and depth of my affection for her.
Frank Upton/William Collins
No. 3251: going platinum
You are invited to submit a poem to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee in the style of a poet present or past (please specify). Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@-spectator.co.uk by midday on 23 May (the earlier closing date is because of a change in production schedules).
NB. The closing date for Competition 3250 is 18 May, not 25 May as was printed in last week’s magazine.
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