|Arthur and the Duchess|
April 25th 2012
Arthur continues the rest of his story of how he became known as Arthur, with a familiar old face as part of the tale.
The engines were beginning to relax at the sheds after a hard day's work, but not all of them were able to rest. Arthur was being prepared for the sleeper train to Crewe. As the shed staff attended to Arthur, Jimmy muscled in. He told the other engines that it has been a year since the duchess has left to live in Crewe. Fred exclaims that it seems only like yesterday. Ivatt says how time flies. Arthur says that whenever he sees the duchess she always asks how they have been doing, and then she misses them too. Jimmy, Ivatt and Fred beamed brightly and exclaim that Arthur knows the duchess too. Arthur then says that indeed he has known her for quite a while. The engines whistled and told Arthur to tell them about the duchess. Babs interrupted and says that he hasn't finished the story of how he became known as Arthur. Arthur smiled at his friends, and continued to tell his story.
In the early 50s I was assigned to be reallocated to Crewe, so before I left, I was to be painted in the new British Railways Livery. It was a lovely choice of Brunswick Green, and I was also fitted with smoke deflectors. Unfortunately my tender had been damaged while being shunted into the workshop, so I was given a Black 5 tender instead. I did look rather odd, and the other engines thought it was a great joke. But one engine in particular didn't, and she convinced me that I look far greater than any engine in my class. Her name was the Duchess, as you know she has a heart of gold and was breathtaking in her beautiful blue livery. The engines would bow at her command as she would always smile at them. "How do you do? I'm the Duchess, and you are?" She smiled. I used to be called Ostrich and now I'm the Honorable Artillery Company. The Duchess' smile grew broader. As impressive as your name is, we must find a relatively short nickname for you. Oh, I have to agree. My name is far too long and the drivers and firemen call me 'that engine out of that habit'.
When I was transferred to Crewe, I pulled the expresses to Scotland, but occasionally I would take a train to Euston. And I would always be greeted warmly by the Duchess. I always ask how Arthur had been and how the Duke of Regiment had been going on.
It was the year of her majesty's coronation and everyone was excited about the upcoming events to come, until one morning in late May. I had just arrived with the Irish Mail when I saw the shed master at the platform, and he seemed sad and anxious. Little did I foresee that the Duke of Wellington's Regiment has been deployed to Korea two years after the Korean War had broken out? They were the part of the 1st coma of Division; they had been head hard but had held their ground. Unfortunately they lost a number of men; Arthur had been one of them. I don't remember why or the reasons for it but I was tremendously angry. Filled with resentment and despair, Arthur had promised to return to see me and I felt he had gone back on his promise.
I stayed in the sheds for several days and I am sorry to Say I was a rather vulgar engine. I refused to steam properly burn coal or even turn a wheel. i was so angry no one came near me. The shed master had become concerned and tried everything to get me moving again but it did not work. He even promised to repaint my tender but still I did nothing. I would glare furiously at the crews, they had all made empty promises and I thought they were all lying as Arthur was one of them.
But a saint in blue came to rescue me the Duchess took it upon herself to take action and I would always be in debt for her wise and kind words. It’s natural to mourn the loss of someone in different ways but you are going the wrong way about it, she advised firmly. Arthur treated you like one of his own. One could be forgiven because he loved you like a family member. You should always be reminded about the happy and gracious times, never the ugliness of the past. You must help Arthur's memory live on, I'm sure he will not approve of you sulking in the sheds. After all in his eyes you were a proper engine. I realized what a foo I had been and thought long and hard about what the Duchess had said. as she steamed away to collect her train at the station I apologized to the crews and convinced them I was fit enough to pull a train.
The Duchess was most pleased when I backed down next to her. Over the coming weeks the Duchess would spare me on to make Arthur proud. My trains were always on time and I could give any Pacific a run for their money and performance. Arthur would be very proud she would always say and in some way I felt she was right.
The last time I saw her was at Euston when I was in charge of the Mid-Day Scot She turned and smiled at my nameplate. Remember when I said you needed a shorter name? She asked. I remembered perfectly but no suitable name has occurred in my thoughts. How about Arthur? She said. I'm sure he would be honored for you to carry his name in remembrance. I couldn't agree more, Arthur seemed fitting and I have been known as Arthur ever since.
The engines were all amazed. Babs said it was a beautiful story and tried to hold back her tears. Jimmy then learned that the Duchess named Arthur after his driver. The engines reminisced about her all night long. Jimmy asked if he would send their love and best wishes to the Duchess and Arthur agreed. Then Arthur left to collect his train.
- This episode is the second and final part of the "Arthur the Royal Scot Trilogy"
- A deleted scene shows Arthur arriving at the station with the shedmaster on the platform.