Once we reached Uncle Theo's home, I was immediately dragged off by Uncle Theo's driver and forced to endure having several buckets of hot water dumped on me and being scrubbed with lye.
After being given a rather unfashionable set of garments appearing to belong to a much larger man, the clothes that I was wearing were burned in a barrel (despite my protests, I was quite fond of that vest) and I was deemed appropriate for entering the house, where Mrs Uncle Theo (I didn't catch her name) and an seemingly endless parade of Simon's siblings made my somewhat unwilling acquaintance.
Mrs Uncle Theo mumbled something about supper being almost ready. My stomach grumbled in appreciation and I followed her and her numerous and belligerent brood into the dining room.
With the exception of "pass the salt please" and "Mummy! Joseph is kicking me!", supper was a blessedly silent affair as we masticated our food, until the dishes were cleared away.
I delicately patted my lips with my napkin and murmured my appreciation of the food. As I was starting to ask where the nearest pub was, Uncle Theo abruptly (and rather rudely) interrupted me.
"Phineas, you're a drunken, dissolute man with no real purpose. Do you know what you need?"
"A wealthy lady with a castle? A well stocked wine cellar? A unicorn??"
"Don't be daft! You need a job! A purpose! Phineas, I'm offering you a chance to come and work for me. What do you say?"
Everything went black at that moment.
I awoke with a start as the maid waved some smelling salts under my nose.
"A job??? A JOB???? !!! ARE YOU MAD???" I shrieked...dear reader, I am not ashamed to say that I shrieked. "I AM A POET!!! A MAN ABOUT TOWN! A BON VIVANT!!! BON VIVANTS DO NOT HAVE JOBS!!! WHAT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THAT??"
Apparently this outburst caused Mrs. Uncle Theo to faint, colliding to the floor in a heap. The maid yanked the smelling salts away and rushed to aid her mistress while Uncle Theo turned several shades of red and purple, swore loudly and called me many names, none of which I cannot repeat here, while Mrs Uncle Theo was hauled off to her bed. Needless to say, supper was ruined.
Afterwards, I was politely offered a ticket on the first ship back to Caledon. The following morning, I was marched by two rather gruff gentlemen up the gangplank to the ship berthed in the harbor, who both waited on the dock until they were certain the boat had left and I was on it.
My journey back to Caledon was considerably less eventful, unless you count the time I was confined to my cabin for "frightening" a group of maiden aunts with my interpretive dancing. But that's a story for another time, dear readers.