On the twentieth day of the month I made an amazing resolution. Life in my leisure hours had been strenuous during the whole of September and most of October, so when I awoke with another frightful hangover, I decided emphatically to abstain for the duration. Teetotal.
I had to tell someone.
“Teetotal!” exclaimed Mrs Pouncer, much shocked. “You shouldn’t joke about such things and you in the throes of a hangover. Surely a hair of the dog at dinner?”
“Not one drop.”
“Tut tut Achilles, one glass of wine.” she persisted.
“Not even if it was champagne. My mind’s made up. Drink is a curse and I’m done with it for I can’t stand it.”
“Nobody is asking you to stand it, I’ll get them.” she explained, “I am not without means.”
“It’s no odds,” I said “not another drop will I taste –“
“Stop, stop!” she interrupted, more shocked than ever, “Don’t say anything rash for you might be struck down dead and then you’d be sorry for what you said. Do you mean to tell me that you are going teetotal altogether?”
“Hardly. I’m not that desperate, I wouldn’t care to go all that length, but I’m going to be teetotal until Martinmas.”
“Well I think you foolish Achilles,” she said, “October of all months. Why, summer is hardly over and Christmas is coming. Could you not put it off for a more sensible time?”
“No, October is the month for me, forbye, it’s half over. I tell you I’m thraiped with it.”
“How do you mean?” she asked.
“It’s neither muckling nor mickling.” I explained.
“Are you taking a rise out of me?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well just talk as your mother and father brought you up to talk then. Now sither, we won’t go over the ins and outs of this, but I think I aught to talk to your mother. What do you say to that?”
“I don’t know,” I muttered, hanging my head.
“Well don’t look like you’ve lost a shilling and found a sixpence, you’re not dead yet. Straighten up! Now sither, you’re not a young man, you have a long way to go, but you can’t do it by thisen. Think on.”
She left me feeling she had said something sage and shrewd although I was unable to fathom quite what she was getting at. It took a couple of drinks before I understood.