Jennospot 20 Ask at the Gate
Last week Oi told yew as ‘ow Peter an’ me went ter Lunnon when the air-raids was still bad. Any’ow, whilst we was there, we went ter Buckin’am Palace, wot is where the king lives; ‘Is Royal Majesty King George VI that is. Well, after we ‘ad ‘ad our little bit of a problem wiv the railway, we got ter the palace okay, but then it were that our real troubles started. It all began wiv the guard. This is ‘ow it were:
Five minutes later, we were facing high iron railings beside a sentry box in front of
. Buckingham Palace
‘Cripes, it's jus' loike the pictures, 'cept it's much bigger'n Oi thought. ''Ow do we get in?’
‘Let's ask the sentry.’
Jenno stared up at the tall sentry in his red coat and high black bearskin hat. He stared ahead unmoving.
‘'Ee ain't 'arf big. D'yew fink 'ee's real?’
‘Of course he's real. D'you think he's just a stuffed dummy? Go ahead and ask him.’
‘Hey Mister— 'ow do we get in?’
The sentry didn't move. He remained silent.
‘Hey Mister,’ repeated Jenno loudly. ‘Yew wiv the furry black 'at. Yew deaf or somefink? 'Ow do we get in?’
‘Clear orff,’ muttered the guard, hardly moving his lips. He continued to stare ahead.
‘We want to know how to get in,’ I said.
‘Clear orff, you dratted kids,’ said the guard, still continuing to stare ahead.
‘Polite, ain't 'ee?’ said Jenno. ‘Please mister, we've come a long way special ter see the King. 'Ow do we get in?’
‘You can't see the King. He ain't here— so clear orff.’
Jenno was not to be discouraged: ‘'Ow do yew know 'ee ain't 'ere.’
The guard came to attention with a crash of his rifle butt on the ground that made us jump. ‘The royal standard's not up the pole. That's how.’
He took a step towards us. We jumped back. He shouldered arms with a loud smack of his hand on the rifle's magazine.
Still Jenno wasn't put off. ‘Wot pole?’
The guard made a smart right turn with a stamp of his nailed boots that trembled the pavement. ‘On the roof,’ he said. ‘Ask at the gate.’
He marched off with weighty tread alongside the railings. We looked up at the flagpole. The guard was right: there was no flag.
‘Wot we goin' ter do?’ said Jenno.
‘Ask at the gate,’ I said.
("Gang Petition" Chapter 18 – Amazon Kindle)