The estate was awash in jollity and good tidings this week during the wedding of my great-great-great grandniece Violet Carstairs Zweibel to some pansy who is heir to a vast gelatin fortune. Though the ceremony was held in my own court-yard, I was locked in my bed-chamber, doubtless out of fear that I would create a scene. Lousy ingrate family of mine!

During the wedding, whilst gazing through my bed-chamber window, I spied an enchanting milk-maid strolling on the estate grounds. I was transfixed by her beauty, and the wedding made me nostalgic for my courting days. I resolved that I must have this fair maiden as my wife. The mourning period for my late wife had surpassed the customary 60 years, and I was ready to take off my black crepe armband and don my seersucker courting suit once again.

With a box of sweet-meats and bouquet of posies in tow, my manservant Standish wheeled me out to the servants' huts where the milk-maid dwelled. Standish knocked at her door, and out she emerged, her skin as white as the milk she drew from cows' udders. He presented the gifts to her, and told her that there was a man of immense wealth and prominence who wished to make her his bride. Her eyes registered amazement, and with breathless delight she asked who this wonderful man was.

Standish stepped back to reveal, if I may say, quite a dapper old gentleman. I even wore my prosthetic ears and iron dentures for the occasion. Determined to show my love for her, I mustered all my strength to raise what remained of my fore-arms and asked for her sweet embrace.

A look of sheer terror filled her face. She dropped the gifts and slammed her door. Furious, I summoned my Swiss Guard to storm her hovel and drag her out, but they could not find her. She must have escaped through the back window. Bloodhounds in tow, the guards searched for hours in a driving tempest. They finally found her, floating face-down in a drainage ditch some 200 yards from my estate.

The girl chose suicide over marriage to me, bless her heart! It's happened before. But I'm much too old for this love nonsense anyhow. Nurse! Stoke my hot-water bottle, it's getting cold!