by John Thornquist
Pretty Lady Faxton had had her eye on the new footman for several weeks now. He possessed a body only the sculptor Phidias could have created; in his eyes there swirled the color and endless depth of the Caribbean, and his marvelously leonine face was framed by a luxuriant mane of golden curls. She absolutely had to have him.
One day, while old Lord Faxton was off inspecting the stables, she discreetly approached the footman.
“You there! Can you remember something?”
“I think so.”
“On the second floor of the west wing there are a pair of lamps under a painting. They’ll be our signal. ‘If the lamp be one, choose the room painted plum. If the lamps be two, choose the room painted blue.’ Midnight tonight.” And with that she stepped off.
Midnight approached and the poor footman had the whole thing muddled. There were seven rooms and he couldn’t remember which color rhymed with what number. Arriving, he saw two lamps burning and scratched his head in perplexity. “‘Two’ rhymes with…” and then he remembered with delight, “…blue!”
He quickly entered the blue room.
The next day, he found his mistress in the morning room much displeased. “I waited in the plum room for two hours!” she complained.
“But madame…!” he began, when they were interrupted by the appearance of Mrs. Pitts, the scullery maid. She breezed by them looking quite content.
“If the lamps be two, choose the room painted blue,” she sang sweetly to herself.