The Strange Case of the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador’s Coat – A Kensington Fable

The Guv’nor writes…

I was asked recently to pen a column for an American website about my thoughts on life after death.

My piece – if I may be so bold – was rather good. “A nice balance of the reflective and the irascible” is how The Man From The Hornet described it.

(He can get a bit highfalutin, the old MFTH. I’ll need to keep an eye on him.)

But the gist of the piece was, as it could only be: it’s a mystery.

And what, I ask here, is the value of life without a little bit of mystery?

And mystery is on my mind because…

I walked into the shop at 4 Church Walk on Saturday just after lunch to find a black bin bag lying in the middle of the floor. Just dumped in the middle of the floor. I hate mess in the shops – elegant and eccentric clutter is another thing – but mess I cannot abide.

With an accusatory mutter – “That damned Wallace, the lazy bugger” – I picked up the bag to find…





How on earth did it get there?

An inquest was held immediately. All the chaps in the shop were quizzed: “Did you leave this here?”

No’s all round.

Wallace knew nothing. We even caught The Barfly at The Elephant & Castle round in Holland Street (his life ban has been lifted at the E&C but he’s still on probation) and he knew nothing, either. We telephoned Michel, our marvelous alterations tailor. Nothing again. Style Management is in Berlin and young Harry is in the Highlands, so they couldn’t have left it.

One thing does intrigue us, however: there was a faint aroma of what we believe to be Chanel No.5 clinging to the coat. The mystery deepens…


Suffice to say, we are delighted to have it back. The incident has taught us to tighten up our security procedures here in The Walk. And we are left to reflect on… well what?

The powers of a guilty conscience?

The triumph of good nature over bad?

Like I said… what’s the value of life without a little bit of mystery?


That is all.

The Guv’nor

P.S. Thanks to all Horneteers who expressed their support when we thought the coat had been stolen. Stout fellows, all. Enjoy your Jubilee Holiday and… GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.

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