A quick legal question, if you'd be so kind. I realise you are not technically an authority on the law, but I know you've had no shortage of practical experience, on either side of the dock.
(For what it's worth, I never believed those charges of jury tampering. Not for sentimental reasons, nor because I am so naive as to believe you could ever recognise any authority other than your own, simply because you have ever been a prudent man, and showering money upon strangers in an attempt to rescue my idiot of a brother would be the very antithesis of securing return on investment.)
Given that long and coloured history, then, perhaps you could help me with my query: is it normal for a legal summons to come with percussive accompaniment?
I know you never served, Father, so it may be you are mercifully unaware of the noise nine snare drums can create when played simultaneously. It is an appalling, teeth-shaking sort of a din, as though every seed in one forest has gone to war with every seed in another, and have secured some small access to artillery. In comparison awakening to the honking of apoplectic poultry was positively pleasant. The best that could be said for the cacophony was that it afforded me enough time to dress before my staff greeted the musicians when their march concluded just before my threshold.
After a few moments of conversation which I could only just register at a floor's distance and through badly ringing ears, the visitors were shown in. The fact none of my staff deemed it necessary to gain my permission first struck me as ominous in the extreme but, lacking any other option, I deigned to receive my visitors, ignoring the shouts and squawks outside as my latest batch of birds were delivered en masse.
There were seventeen in all when I entered the drawing room: nine starched drummer boys with buttons so shiny they could not have seen a stiff breeze, let alone combat, and eight more of the obscene gingham succubi that haunted my lawn yesterday. Mercifully, they had not seen fit to bring more cattle with them - presumably the perilous dunderhead had promised they would be milking me for my assets instead - but the drummer boys nevertheless seemed rather taken with their entirely superfluous presence. Ever it is the same with young men, I suppose, or those not so young. Such unchaste looks cast about my house might have offended me, were nine lusty boys and eight wanton women not the most amusing version possible of "musical chairs" one could force hot-blooded men to play.
Still, that was a slender thread upon which to hang my good humour, and it was severed entirely when one of the drummers passed me an envelope, within which legal papers were contained announcing the perilous dunderhead's intentions to sue for custody of various gifts (or their financial cost) given over the past eighteen months (naturally, the envelope also contained five gold rings; the man belongs in an institution). Their message delivered, the boys rose without further comment, and marched to the door, already hammering their drums, their unpleasant doxies scampering after them.
Perhaps, Father, when you have answered my first question, you might address another: when can you furnish me with the best lawyer you can find?
Your doting daughter,