"Chapter VIII: Two Hearts Beat As One"
by Alan Coren
in "Punch" 27 Jan 1971
(from a series of parodies inspired by a news story about modern romance magazines)
Mrs Belweather was nervous; and what mother would not be?
She had done their weekend cottage out from top to bottom, and the little house shone like a brass button; the scent of lavender and pine was everywhere and the rich brown parquet was a mirror of chintz and dimity, and the bright flowers of the spotless curtains, moving gently in the soft spring breeze, were for all the world like the real flowers of her lovely little garden beyond! The horse-brasses winked in the cosy ingle-nook, and the porcelain dog smiled beneath his lampshade, and her collection of reproduction Delft soup-plates sent the friendly rays of the spring sun dancing back into the room, and Crippen the cat sat on the white window-ledge blinking contentedly as he rubbed his furry paws over his fine long whiskers, and the bronzette kettle sang happily on the hob. Yes, thought Mrs Belweather, wonderfully presented for sixty, I have done my bit! Shall I have just a little glass of Stone’s Ginger Wine for my palpitations? After all, I do deserve it, and it isn’t every day that a mummy’s only son brings his fiancée home!
She had just washed up the wine glass and popped a Polo into her moth when the wheels of Nigel’s little two-seater rasped on the gravel, and his horn peep-peeped, the way it always did when he came down to Volehaven from his important job in the city. Hurriedly she smoothed her hair. The door chimed gently. She ran to it.
Nigel stood there smiling, filling the doorway with his fine, lean frame, his handsome face tanned form the drive, his grey eyes twinkling with customary merriment.
'Hello, Mumsy!" he said, with his wonderful voice. He put down his cricket bag and his squash racket and his riding boots and his gleaming twelve-bore, and threw his strong arms around her.
“Hello, darling!" cried Mrs. Belwether. My goodness, she thought, am I really about to weep? Silly old me! "Where's . . .”
Nigel laughed his rich laugh.
“In the car, Mumsy,” he replied. “No peeking! I wanted to have you all to myself, just for a minute."
They walked into the parlour, arm-in-arm, and Nigel was about to tell her about his job and his new flat in fashionable Fulham Road, when she slapped his wrist playfully!
"Nigel, I can't wait a moment longer! It really is too naughty of you! Look, there’s Father coming in from the radishes now."
“Very well, you silly old thing!" said Nige1, and, with a light laugh, he went out the door.
The lovers returned hand in hand, smiling over some private joke, as lovers will. Mr and Mrs Belwether waited by the fireplace.
"Mumsy, Father, this is Julian," said Nigel.
They all shook hands. Mr. Belwether, retired from the bank now but still sprightly, poured sherry, and looked Julian up and down, as fathers will.
“So,” he said, "this is the young fella who’s going to take our 1ittle boy away, is it?”
Everyone chuckled! He's so good with people, thought Mrs. Belwether hugging herself mentally.
“Don't think of it as losing a son Mr Belwether," said Julian. "Think of it as gaining a son."
Mrs Belwether nudged Nigel.
"I think Father wants to be alone with Julian," she said. "Shall I show you my cotoneaster?"
"Right-o!" said Nigel.
When they had gone, Mr. Belwether poured Julian another glass of sherry.
"Now, young fella-me-lad," he said. "This job of yours-pays well, does it? Good prospects?"