This is another beautiful exhibit from the second gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" entitled " Haute couture & Objets d'Art"
A gift from my good friend Cheapman, the well known store owner and entrepreneur, a beautiful pair of elephant’s boots encrusted with rubies and emeralds.
There is an interesting story that explains why Cheapman gave me such a noble present.
The Badfort News had printed a leaflet which read thus:
CHEAPMAN’S STORE. WEDNESDAY. VAST QUANTITIES OF STOLEN GOODS AT HALF-PRICE. COME EARLY.
A blatant lie. It caused a huge crowd to swarm into the store. The people were packed so tight that Cheapman was afraid that there would be an accident and that his good name would be gone forever. Beaver Hateman’s plan was to loot the store during the confusion. I immediately organised a free distribution of food outside the store to relieve the pressure inside.
Unbelievably, and with colossal cheek, Beaver Hateman walked right to the front of the free food queue and threatened the people behind him with a boar spear!
“Ha, ha!” he yelled “Bully bounty is here, is he? Thank you for the load of free grub, you boaster and blackguard!”
He did not go unpunished.
The shoes had been given to Cheapman’s father for saving the life of some rajah. Not being an elephant, he was not able to wear them, so he put them away. So grateful for my swift actions, Cheapman made a noble present of them to me.
“They are now yours." he declared "You have saved, if not my life, my reputation, and this is dearer to me than life. Accept them, I beseech you, and when you put them on remember my gratitude.”
I was too moved to speak and I always feel most proud whenever I wear them.