Lady Sarah Compton-Smyth was burying her fourth husband within the last ten years. Poor old James Smyth had been a business partner in our firm of lawyers, so I felt it my duty to attend his funeral. I had only met Lady Sarah a few times but had heard plenty of gossip about her. Three of her husbands, including James, had died of heart attacks and one of a burst blood vessel in his brain. The police had recently investigated, but all deaths had been attributed to over exertion in the marital bedroom. It was said that she never spent much time in mourning her losses but was on the hunt for her next victim, err, husband, almost straight away.
The funeral was being held early in the morning, on what was a dreary day, made even worse by drizzling rain. Lady Sarah had arrived in a limousine driven by a young chauffeur who now held a large umbrella over her. I noted that he was standing very close. Lady Sarah was dressed, well almost, in a very small clingy outfit that, let’s just say, was very revealing. Oh! It was black though! My morning had started out badly when I could not get my car started and so had to call a taxi. I had also forgotten my umbrella and was trying to shelter under a large gravestone that was leaning over at a dangerous angle. During the minister’s address Lady Sarah noticed me and gave a little wave and a smile.
I could not help thinking about some of the jokes that had circulated in the office. My favourite was, “She meets em, marries em, then plants em.” Just then another member of our office came over and said, “Just as well she does not have them cremated as she would be running out of room on her mantelpiece with all those funeral urns.” I tried very hard not to laugh as it was not seemly. An elderly lady standing nearby must have thought that I was moaning in grief as my attempts at covering my laugh had come out as a sort of splutter that had brought tears to my eyes. She smiled sadly and said, “He was a very nice man taken before his time.” She must have been joking. Old James at seventy six was still chasing anything in a skirt till Lady Sarah had come along.
The service came to an end and we were all to file past the grave and throw in the usual handful of soil. Lady Sarah went first and the chauffeur handed her a little silver garden spade, she was obviously worried about getting her black kid leather gloves dirty. When she bent over to throw the soil in the grave every male eye was on her, well a certain part of her anyway. The old guy in front of me was so entranced that he missed his step and fell in to join poor old James. The minister got his nice white cassock all dirty trying to pull him out.
Finally, to most peoples’ relief it was all over. Poor old James was at last to be left in peace.
I was walking back to the main road to hail a taxi when the limousine pulled up next to me and Lady Sarah opened the door, revealing way too much of those long, shapely legs, leaned over and said, “Would you like to ride with me?”