I am having an affair with the Vicar's wife. We meet alone together at least twice in the week. I discovered this at the end of the family service on Sunday.
I thought that it was odd, everyone had a printed bookmark in their hymn book, everyone but me; some found it odd, others laughed, it was more interesting than the hymn book anyway.
I had to wait till the end of the service, I don't usually use a hymn book, I'm supposed to know all the hymns and sing them too.
At the end of the service I go to the back of the church, to the entrance, and talk to the congregation as they are leaving. Last Sunday I picked up a hymn book and found the bookmark, it was a small printed piece of paper, and read it.
Big shock! It said that I am having an affair with the Vicar's wife.
I mean, I love the Vicar's wife, in the same way that I love the Vicar and the congregation; Primrose is the love of my life and no one else. I do meet the Vicar's wife in the week and discuss the Sunday School, the hymns to sing next week and so on.
I took it to show to Primrose, my beloved Primrose, and she just laughed. I said “It is true” and she was shocked. “Let me finish! It is true that you have a better sense of humour that I do.”
“You are taking me for a walk and I will calm you down.” She always has good ideas.
We went to the vicarage to talk to the Vicar, but he was not there. The Vicar's wife knew all about the printed note, she just laughed.
Primrose and I walked across the fields towards Swout, that is “the Church of St Swithins without” and on the way we met the Vicar. He had just been visiting one of the sick. He found the printed note extremely funny. “Oh, yes! Perhaps more people will come to the services now.” I was not so sure.
We decided to ignore the note. Primrose and I spent several hours removing the notes from all the hymn books.
No one from the congregation said anything, until two weeks later when another printed note appeared in the hymn books.
The Vicar was having affairs with several women in the town, not just one. The note even named the women. Really awful – quite disgraceful.
The Vicar did not find it so funny this time. The women were all the sick old folk whom the Vicar and I visited very often. One is over a hundred.
The lies were also printed on beer mats and left in all the pubs in the town. Someone hated us.
The Vicar called the police. My friend Inspector Jones came, but there was nothing much that he could do. “Got any enemies?” “No, just the devil himself.” “What about Mr Leach?” “No, he's long gone.”
I volunteered to hide myself in Swin, the notes had always been in “St Swithins within”, to try to catch the evil person. I usually spend a lot of time in the bell tower thinking and I would have liked to have done that this time. Instead I hid behind a curtain in the side chapel in Swin and waited.
Nothing happened. Well, that's not quite true – more people did come to the services.
Primrose had a good idea. “If we can't catch this nasty person, let's beat him at his own game.” “You mean that we all have affairs?” “No, silly! We could print a nice note and put it in the Hymn books, in fact everywhere we can, beer mats, adverts in the paper, everywhere in the town.”
So we did and here it is:
DO YOU WANT TO BE LOVED?
COME TO THE CHURCH THIS SUNDAY
AT 10 IN THE MORNING
AND EXPERIENCE THE LOVE OF OUR LORD
COME AND BE SAVED
COME AND REJOICE IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD
You are welcome at “St. Swithins within”
in the Main Square this Sunday
and every Sunday
It worked! No more nasty notes and more people in the services. The Vicar was pleased. The Vicar's wife said that she still liked me and how lucky I was to be engaged to someone so clever as Primrose.