Under the Black Flag

Take Off Your Hat

I have been a member of a private club up in the Alps since 1959.  Its name is the Eagle Ski Club, and I joined it when I was 20 years of age.  Sixty years later I’ve resigned as a life member because of an incident I won’t go into, as things that happen in clubs should stay within the confines of the club.  Suffice it to say that gentlemen and lowlifes don’t mix, and the Eagle allowed too many of the latter for my taste.

The mixing of gentlemen and lowlifes is a toxic one, as the latter is bound to step out of line and revert to type.  Like throwing a punch from behind after misinterpreting a joke, or lying about what took place beforehand.  Fraudsters should not be invited as guests in clubs, not because they might set up a crooked deal—which they would if they could—but because manners go step by step with morals, and a fraudster lacks both.  A toxic mix, indeed.  Finally, when my wife, born a serene highness in a 900-year-old noble family, and one who has never in her life had a snobby thought toward a fellow human being, feels insulted enough to commiserate with a woman by telling her she’s sorry the woman had to marry a man so common—no use going into details about that particular incident—it’s time to call it a day.  I’m off for good.  The irony is that I no longer like the place.  A club cannot be run by a Mrs. Danvers...

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