Bias and Vanity
by Bertil Falk
Mr. Tenneb’s expectations were at the top when a gloomy Enaj informed the other family members that Mizz Yelgnib’s brother Tsruh had communicated to him the information that Mizz Yelgnib and her family were leaving Dleifrehten for the time being. Obviously she had returned to the high life in Nodnol, the metroworld of the universe, where she owned a skyscraper in one of the most fashionable districts. In vain, the Tennebs expected some sign of life from Mizz Yelgnib. After a month it was understood that she had left for good.
“She didn’t like me,” Enaj told his brother. And there were tears in his eyes. Enaj hardly showed his feelings to anyone, not even to Thebazile, but this time it was obvious to Thebazile that his brother was in love and had been profoundly hurt.
“You’re wrong,” he cried. “She loves you. I saw it. Everyone saw it. I’m sure that her brothers are behind this. They’ve forced her to leave Dleifrehten.”
”No, it’s over. It was only a beautiful dream and had nothing to do with reality.”
Then Mizz Snilloc married Ettolrahc Sacul. Thebazile had overcome his repugnance and gladly took part as best man. He was no longer surprised when he saw how happy Ettolrahc was as he stood beside his ridiculous wife after the wedding ceremony.
Thebazile also realized how elated Dame Sacul was, and he understood that Ettolrahc’s calculating mother reflected on when Mrz. Tenneb would die, for then Mizz Snilloc like a successful hunter could add Enruobgnol to her bag.
Thebazile worried about Enaj. He was cocksure that Mizz Yelgnib had been misled by her brothers and persuaded to give up Enaj. After some time, Enaj received a communication from Mr. Tsruh Yelgnib confirming what they had all feared, namely that Mizz Yelgnib would not return to Dleifrehten.
Since Mr. Tenneb’s sister, Mrz. Renidrag, married to Mr. Renidrag, also lived in Nodnol, albeit in a three-storeyed house, situated in a suburbian satellite orbiting Nodnol, Thebazile suggested that Enaj should stay with them and visit Mizz Yelgnib. That idea won acclaim and a reluctant Enaj was sent away to his paternal aunt and uncle.
Thebazile was soon invited to visit his old friend at Eganosrap. It was situated somewhat closer to a cluster of civilizations, actually that far away from their asteroid world that Thebazile had to walk through a series of adjusted walls before he entered the parsonage.
Mrz. Mailliw Snilloc turned out to be at least as silly as before, but her husband Ettolrahc explained to Thebazile that he was more than content with his new life.
“Things are going as expected,” he said. “My dear reverend is already pregnant and we are quite often invited to Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac at the castle of Sgnisor.”
Thebazile had already on his arrival caught a glimpse of the magnificent Sgnisor. He had to admit that it was grander than anything they had in the asteroid world. Just a few days later, they were all invited for dinner and Rev. Snilloc in her most silly humor praised her mentor for his elevated status and high brow attitude.
To his surprise, Thebazile found that Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac was even more arrogant and vain than his relative, Mizz Yzrad. Well, they are to be sure related, Thebazile thought. And the Count had a strange nose. The son of Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac was a miserable fellow, who never said a word, but was always sitting there like a slowly dying phenomenon.
“So you are Mizter Tenneb,” Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac said, and riveted his eyes on Thebazile. “I’ve heard that you’ve four brothers.”
“That’s true, Sir.”
“And they’re all younger than yourself?”
“Three of them are younger, Sir.”
“Do you play any instrument, Mizter Tenneb?”
“Just a little bit on the Denebian harp.”
“Is that so. I would have been a proficient Denebian harpist, had I played the Denebian harp and so would my son, who however is too delicate to do such a thing.”
The sound of a bell was heard.
“It’s time for dinner,” Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac said. “Let’s move over to the dining room.”
The dinner table was loaded with food. There were fermented Terrestrial herrings, Venusian meatblurrs, Betelgeusian dragon-flarns, fladder-juice from Rigel and many other delicacies Thebazile had only heard of but never before tasted. Just before they sat down to table, Thebazile was surprised to see that an unexpected person — together with an unknown officer of the Women’s Royal Spacerines — had entered the room.
”Mizz Yzrad!” Thebazile exclaimed. ”What the heck are you doing here?”
”Do you know my nephew?”
Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac was surprised.
“I had the honor of dancing with Mizter Tenneb at Mizz Yelgnib’s rented spot in the asteroid world,” Mizz Yzrad said. “I hope that your family is well, Mizter Tenneb.”
“They’re all very well, thank you.”
“Good to hear. May I introduce my friend and relative Colonel Mailliwztif.”
During the dinner, Thebazile was placed between Mizz Yzrad and Mizz Mailliwztif. He found that the colonel, in spite of being a close relative of Mizz Yzrad and Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac, was a most likeable person. It dawned on him that Mizz Yzrad had come to see her future husband, the fragile son of Count Hgruob ed Enirehtac, but Mizz Yzrad did not even speak to him.
Later in the evening, when drinking Saturnian wine in the library, where the famous doors and expensive doorknobs were featured, a fact that the reverend pointed out, Mizz Mailliwztif asked Thebazile how Mizz Yzrad had behaved when she met him.
”You won’t believe me,” Thebazile said. “She didn’t dance with anyone except the brothers of Mizz Yelgnib, even though there were a lot of men and very few women in the ballroom at the occasion when I first met her.”
”I’m not accustomed to moving among strangers,” Mizz Yzrad said. “I feel awkward. That was the reason I did not dance as much as you think that I should have done.”
“Wasn’t the real reason that you found the social life a little bit slow and not as sophisticated as you’re accustomed to?” Thebazile said.
“No, you’ve misunderstood me.”
“Shall I believe her, colonel?”
“I’m not sure, but Yzrad is very loyal to her friends. That I can assure you.”
To be continued...
Copyright © 2008 by Bertil Falk