High Stakes Snifter


Bunty could always tell when Lola was impressed her eyebrows disappeared into her coiffure and she smoked very slowly.

She was lifted to her feet by the impossibly handsome Brook Bond. He was, to all intents and purposes a high society dilettante and very few people knew him as the man from MI5, what his reason for being at the gaming table would, in time unfold.

“Are you all right” he asked in a faint Scottish accent.

“Quite, thank you, it was the heat I think” was the best Lola could come up with.

Bunty grabbed her hand and sat her down at the table. She sat next to her and ordered “Two very large Gin and Tonics with a twist of lemon and a large splash of vodka and one of those green things”

Brook Bond said “Make that three” and sat next to Lola.

Unnoticed by either Bunty or Lola the funny little man from the ship came in and sat quietly at the bar.

The dealer approached the table and several people sat down quickly at the remaining places.

Bunty adjusted her visor and took out some noxious chewing tobacco and shoved a large wad in her mouth.

Lola was horrified and was about to remonstrate at her low-class habit when a look from Bunty made her shut her mouth. Bunty clearly had done it for a reason.

Back at home Branwell had just about finished the interior decorations and decided to name his house Manderley. The grounds he designed and directed the tractors and numerous labourers to recreate the gardens in a gothic Italianate style. His greenhouse was a magnificent edifice, large tropical plants arrived on a daily basis and the locals took to walking up the driveway to have a look at these new specimens. Branwell had become like a thing possessed, he could be seen talking to his bromeliads, laughing at jokes and occasionally would walk through his greenhouse wearing nothing but an apron and wellingtons.

One of the Triplets saw him when she was out riding and apart from making the horse rear at the sight put Hildergarde off  sausage rolls for a week.

“Daddy! I saw Branwell in his green house, I think he has gone native” she said to Lord Ricketts.

His Lordship flicked his newspaper and muttered something and told Hildergarde to keep well away until he had come to his senses.

The temperature had risen several degrees in the casino. Bunty had around her a huge pile of chips. The millionaires who were used to winning in turn glowered at the usurper and as they became more agitated they made more mistakes. Bunty kept her visor low and chewed relentlessly, a strong unpleasant tobacco aroma had made them all move their chairs as far away as possible.

Brook Bond watched, amused at the scene in front of him and played to stay in the game and not lose too much. he knew an artiste at work when he saw it and admired Bunty’s talent.

Lola looked at her watch and on cue said to Bunty “Heavens look at the time Bunty, we must go!”

Bunty stood up and scooped the chips into her portmanteau.

“Such a pity I was just warming up!”

They cashed in the chips and stepped into their waiting limousine

“Back to the ship – and don’t spare the horses!” she cried

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