When Sir Wigglesworth Battlesby stepped foot in Green Town, he immediately sensed something was off. He had paraded one street lined with yellow wattles and half-timbered apothecaries, wondering at his own dismay. He stomped his cane to the ground, to and fro as he went, until finally settling against a hickory.
One boy came by and greeted him, his chest held so high that Sir Wigglesworth wondered if he maintained a decent breathing.
"Drop your chest." Sir Wigglesworth had told him, and the boy scampered away, flustered.
Women passed by dressed in draping muslins and blousons of chintz and satins, whilst little boys had suits of graywhipcords and girls, smock skirts. Behind him, a meadow bloomed with hyacinths, cactuses and rosebay. A man mucked the garden, his hat reaching his brows and one boy cared for the withers of a nag.
Load of bullocks. Wigglesworth thought. A buckboard stopped in front of him and three women alighted, smiling pleasantly once they noticed him. He fixed them such quizzing look that they turned away, ashamed. Wigglesworth wondered at their embarrassment and called them back with a whistle.
"Did you whistle at us, Sir?" One of the ladies said, patting the aigrette on her hat. When she turned, Wigglesworth gazed on the small of two fair flesh laying on her chest. She gasped and slapped her palms to her chest.
"Do you have a fever?" Wigglesworth demanded.
"Fever! " She turned to the dazzled expressions of the other ladies.
" A gentleman does neither stand idly in the street nor stare at a woman's...bosom. "
Wigglesworth heard the ladies snicker.
" Bosom? " He said, " do you mean the mammary gland?"
The ladies laughed.
"Nonsense! " He bellowed and the trio went silent. Peering amidst them, he pointed at one in dotted swiss, she was thin like a stick.
"You," he said. "Will you tell me what sorcery that field is?" He pointed to the meadow, disgusted to look at the hyacinths and cactuses and rosebay.
The lady stared, perplexed. Convinced she wouldn't speak, Wigglesworth pointed at another.
"And what are those in the field?" He said.
"Do you not like hyacinths, Sir?"
"Good Lord, you nitwitted brats!" Wigglesworth said and stomped his cane to the ground.
" It is a perfect field." Another one mumbled.
Wigglesworth winced. "Show me to the department of science."
The ladies stared, puzzled. Vexed, he rephrased.
"The countryside of experiments."
This time, they looked on him as if he had lost his mind.
"The learned society of intelligence, you frigging girls!"
" Do you mean to see the professor?"
His face lightened. "The professor!" He fell to the ground and bellowed a triumphant cry. " Yes, the professor."
Feeling their gazes, he recollected himself and stood with a stern grimace.
"Where can I find the professor?"
"Frederick will take you, Sir."
The ladies pointed at the buckboard behind the hickory now. Wigglesworth ran his palm over the lapels of his coat.
"I'll now leave."
Frederick, the cab man stared at him in what seemed like bewilderment, while Wigglesworth observed the state of his horses.
"The professor, you say?"
"Yes, the professor, good sir." Wigglesworth said.
" Do you speak of professor Nickiwillibert?"
Wigglesworth attempted to stifle a snicker but burst in hysterics. "Nick_willibert." He said amidst laughter.
"Anything wrong, Sir?"
" No, certainly not." He adjusted his collar. "I seek to see the professor."
" You're headed Bram Street then."
Sir Wigglesworth sat in silence, watching the scenery as they rode. When they came by a purely lush green field, Wigglesworth asked Frederick to put the horses to a halt. He came down the wagon and stood by the field. Frederick had also alighted and was watching him.
"Anything wrong, Sir?" Frederick asked.
"Isn't this perfect?"
Frederick scratched his stubble. "I'm afraid this is simply grass."
"Grass_" Wigglesworth turned.
The wagon didn't stop once again until they turned in a boulevard filled with hollyhocks and cottage pinks. Wigglesworth stepped out the buckboard more disgusted than he had ever been that noon. He was thrown off the cliff when Frederick told what his pay was, six shillings. Wigglesworth tossed him six shillings and five pence. The excited cab man clung to Wigglesworth's legs in appreciation.
"Get off of me." Wigglesworth said.
Having rid himself of the man, he went in the yard where he met two stable boys gathering hay. He pointed at one.
"I demand you take me to the professor."
The boy raised his chest in greeting. Wigglesworth stared at the boy, rubbing his forehead.
"Drop your chest."
The boy did and showed him to a cottage with a chimney exhaling soot.
"The professor is in, Sir."
Wigglesworth knocked on the door twice and was welcomed in with the low growl of a man. Stepping in, he found a large man seated by a fire place, big as a sepulchre. The room smelt foul, the stench of a dead rat, and steam oozed from the strewn burettes, pipettes and conical flasks on a table.
The man looked nothing of a professor, large, unkempt and a lens hanging on the tip of his nose from the side of his face. He seemed to be working on an experiment. The professor neither turned to regard Wigglesworth nor look away from the fire.
Wigglesworth cleared his throat.
"I suppose you're the professor?" He said.
"And you are?" The man asked, his voice so shrill, Wigglesworth would be thrown in a feat of laughter.
The old professor turned around and burst in hysterics, his shoulder jerking and his eyes shining in tears of laughter.
"Wiggles_worth, Battis..." The professor said, struggling to keep his breathing.
Wigglesworth grimaced, holding himself by the end of his coat, and his bitterness by the pout of his lips. When the professor had had his fill, he cleared his throat and sat stiff, staring at Wigglesworth.
"You can call me Wiggles."
"Will do, Sir." The professor said, a trace of laughter in his voice.
" Thank you." Wigglesworth said with a thin smile.
"How may I help you, Sir Wiggles?"
"Help me!" Wigglesworth snapped, clenching his cane. " This morning, I boarded a wagon away from my home in Canterbury, headed North, and I happen to come by this board that read Green Town and redirecting my postilion, Dennis to ride into this town, I find nothing but sorcery, a defiance of the town's esteemed reputation, I suppose."
The professor stared, astounded. " Sorcery! I can attest to no such thing at all. We have no warlock nor witch in this town, perhaps in the neighbouring towns, Sir Wiggles."
" How do you explain the cottage pinks in your yard?"
" They were Dorothy's idea, ne'er liked cottage pinks all my life, tulips would do."
" Nonsense! Coming by a field this morning, I found nothing but hyacinths and cactuses."
" The town's rich Sir. Tis' your first time here, I suppose."
Wigglesworth rubbed his cheek and paced the room, the professor staring astonished. Bringing himself to calm, he opened his palm to the professor without looking.
"What is the name of this town?"
"Why, Green Town."
"Green Town! And all I see are cottage pinks and yellows and whites and oranges or bonfire reds, not a single field covered in lush greenery, nor buildings a brilliant green. What about the women and children? Gloried in vain satins; grey, white, purple, not even a honour to the town's name, do you seek a pardon for this professor?"
"I most definitely do not."
"And why is this?"
"This is utterly despicable Mr Wiggles, it is a town, not a field."
Wigglesworth put his both hands to his waist, his cane laying on the wall.
"Wasn't it called Green Town for everything to be absolutely green?"
"Ridiculous." The professor said, laughing. " It is because the town's rich of life."
"Life? I tell you, I boarded a wagon here and the cab man was twine thin as a pin, when he mentioned a wage of six shillings and I tossed him that with five pence, he wouldn't leave my knees."
The professor gazed on Wigglesworth, frantically waned of strength, for Mr Wiggles himself was the thinnest man he had ever seen.
"Well," the professor said. "Was he dressed in greens?"
"No, and that is my point."
The next year, Sir Wigglesworth Battlesby bought a land in Green Town and built a house utterly green. He hired Frederick as his personal cab man, and the man wore nothing but green stockinette britches and coats. Wigglesworth made friends with professor Nickiwillibert who wondered at Wigglesworth's sanity for as long as he lived.