A tale of villainy, chicanery, and buggery.

DISCLAIMER: None of these characters belong to me, but I'm only borrowing, and I promise to put them all back in good condition, perhaps slightly sore in the buttocks, but no more morally corrupt than they were previously.

Scene: A hillside in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick are dressed in greatcoats, wearing masks, and carrying pistols.

Blackadder: Remind me again, Baldric, why it is that less than a week after I managed to acquire £10,000 through the sort of sheer brilliance and evil cunning that would have made Prince Machiavelli jealous, that all I now have in the world is threepence ha'penny, my boyhood stamp collection, and one change of underwear?

Baldrick: Because the Prince beat you at cards, sir.

Blackadder: He did not beat me at cards! It is just that, being as incredibly thick as a really thick thing can be, he did not realise that I had won.

Baldrick: Same thing, really, isn't it?

Blackadder: [strikes him] No, it is not the same thing, really. I swindled him fair and square. Morally, in every sense that counts, that money is mine. Which is why, Baldrick, it is perfectly proper and right that we should have stolen these two fancy dress outfits and stupid hats, and that we should waylay his Royal Highness here on High Wycombe Heath and relieve him of that £10,000. Before he allows those thieving, giggling perverts at the Naughty Hellfire Club to take it from him for the cost of a vat of sherry, one and a half rubbers of Whist, and some scantily-clad dancing.

Baldrick: They do scantily-clad dancing? In a cave? Isn't that a bit chilly?

Blackadder: They don't do the scantily-clad dancing, Baldrick. They have young women for that.

Baldrick: Ooh.

Blackadder: This is the gentry at play, Baldrick. They drink far, far too much, lose money playing incredibly boring card games, read lewd poetry to one another, and frolic with women who have to be paid to tolerate their company. Then they stagger home, probably vomiting onto their feet on the way, and wake up the next morning with a splitting headache and a mouth that tastes like a baboon's bottom, convinced that they've been having fun. That's the gentry for you. No wonder England is going to the dogs.

Baldrick: It sounds like Wapping sir. I've had some lovely times down in Wapping. And I know some really good lewd poetry. There was a young man from Devizes…

Blackadder: [interrupts] That's quite enough of that, Baldrick. I do not want to know about the young man from Devizes.

Baldrick: It's about his balls, sir. It's really funny.

Blackadder: No, Baldrick. It isn't funny. Rude limericks are only amusing to in-bred half-wits like yourself and the members of the Naughty Hellfire Club. [There is a noise of singing] Ha! Here comes the stupid great frankfurter now. This is our chance. Remember, let me do all the talking. Just point that pistol and try to look dangerous and depraved, instead of just dirty.

Baldrick: Right you are, Mr B.

Prince George: (singing) "Oh, Harold the Horny Hunter, he had an enormous Horn!"

Blackadder: [steps out of the shadows and points a pistol] Stand and deliver!

Prince George: Oh I say, it's a highwayman! How jolly exciting. [sees Baldrick] Two highwaymen! [peers closer] Or is that your pet baboon? You've trained him to hold a pistol at people, I see. Jolly clever. Well done.

Blackadder: [speaking in a low growl] Try anything silly and he'll blow your head off. He's a crack shot, for a baboon.

Baldrick: I am dangerous and depraved, Your Majesty.

Prince George: A talking baboon, by God! [steps closer to Baldrick, who backs away] Dangerous and depraved, eh? Well done, well done. [looks around] Well, this is jolly isn't it? I've never been held up before. What happens next?

Blackadder: You deliver, Sir, as implied by my instruction, "Stand and Deliver". Please empty your pockets.

Prince George: Certainly, certainly. [takes out a snuff box, a handkerchief, a sixpence and a radish and places them on the ground]

Blackadder: Where is the £10,000? Ahem, I mean where is the large but unspecified amount of cash that we would expect you to be carrying with you in order to gamble at the Naughty Hellfire Club?

Prince George: Oh, I had to give that to old Pooky, back in the carriage. We played Canasta all the way from London. I won every round, which is jolly gratifying, but expensive, I have to admit. I'm rotten stinking stoning stinking broke again! Ha Ha! Good thing I thought to bring my own radish, eh? It's bound to come in useful. That's what they do if you can't pay your debts at the end of the evening here at the Naughty Hellfire Club you know. De-bag you and shove a radish up your….

Blackadder: Yes, yes. We've heard about radishing. It sounds jolly uncomfortable.

Prince George: It is jolly uncomfortable, I can tell you. But still, it's all jolly larks isn't it? The chaps tell me they used to shove things up each other's bottoms all the time at school. Hardly a day went by without a bit of fruit disappearing up the old orifice. [he heaves a sigh] I've always felt I missed out on a great deal, having private tutors.

Blackadder: Well, this is all very touching and fascinating, of course, but it will not pay for a night's Highway robbery. We are busy people, Your Highness, and we must crack on. Where did you say His Grace had gone?

Prince George: Pooky? He was puking on his shoes, last time I saw him. He's a great Puker. Famous for it.

Blackadder: And how gratifying it is to know that our Cabinet contains ministers with such a wide variety of skills to bring to the service of our country.

Prince George: Hear, hear. Right, well I'm off to meet some scantily-clad girls and recite rude limericks. Huzzah!

Blackadder: We'll keep the sixpence, sir, and the snuff box.

Baldrick: And the radish.

Prince George: Oh, I say – not the radish.

Blackadder: I'm afraid so, Sir. But the handkerchief is all yours, especially since I see that you have blown your nose on it rather extensively.

Prince George: Well, that's very generous of you, I must say. [he takes the handkerchief and marches off towards the cave]

Blackadder: [hands the radish, the snuffbox and the sixpence to Baldrick] Here is another root vegetable for your collection, Baldrick. You have saved it from a terrible fate. Now let's try and find His Grace the Duke, hopefully while he is still puking, and can be easily subdued.

Baldrick: [turning the sixpence in his hands] This is your sixpence, Mr B. What the Prince won when he beat you at cards. I recognise the little stain here, that looks like my Great Uncle Alfred.

Blackadder: He did not beat me at cards,…. Oh, why am I even talking to you, as though you were capable of intelligent thought … shh! I hear someone coming.

Baldrick: But I wasn't saying anything.

Blackadder: Be quiet! [strikes Baldrick with his pistol. Baldrick collapses]

Duke of High Wycombe: What ho, what ho, what ho! What's all this then?

Blackadder: Stand and deliver, Your Grace.

Duke of High Wycombe: Stand and deliver? What do you think I am? An actor? Or a merchant of some sort? Never heard such nonsense in all my life. Let me past, Sirrah, I have a vat of sherry waiting for me.

Blackadder: Oh, I don't have time for this. [strikes the Duke with his pistol. The Duke collapses.] Now where is that £10,000? [feels through the Duke's pockets with increasing desperation] Where is it? Where is it you useless, overbred whinnying ninny? [rips the Duke's overcoat open and begins to undo his waistcoat buttons] You can't have gambled it away between the coach and here – it's a hundred and fifty yards of rough uphill grassland, with not a tavern or a cockfight in sight.

[The Earl of Richmond and Viscount Dashwood appear, together with two burly servants carrying torches and clubs. Blackadder and Baldrick hurriedly throw away their pistols.]

Earl of Richmond: And he wagered that he could go the whole 150 yards without puking once. Ha ha ha! He was never going to win that one. [he pats a fat pocket in his coat]

Viscount Dashwood: Ha ha ha!

Blackadder: Ah, I suppose you gentlemen are wondering why I am bending over the prone body of your friend the Duke in this fashion….

Earl of Richmond: Not at all, not at all. He's always enjoyed a bit of rough. Passed out has he? Never could handle his port. Just one small barrel and he's out for the count, poor chap. Never mind, you can carry him into the caves, and he'll give you a good rogering once he comes round.

Blackadder: How perfectly delightful for me.

Earl of Richmond: It will be, I'm sure. And I won't have to order my servants to take you down the hill and hang you from the nearest tree. Which you richly deserve, since you appear to have been picking poor Pooky's pockets when we arrived.

Blackadder: Rogering with the puking Duke it is, then. Splendid.

Viscount Dashwood: Oh look, Rupert – Pooky's got a pet baboon! Wearing a little mask. How delightful! [he reaches over to pat Baldrick's head, and then withdraws] If somewhat odorous.

Earl of Richmond: He can come along too. I always enjoy making a monkey dance. Lighted matches is the best way, I've found.

Later: In the Hellfire Caves

Baldrick: Well, this going very well, Mr B, I must say. I've got twenty six pence already, and I haven't even told them the one about the Young Man from Kent yet.

Blackadder: They think you are the world's first talking baboon, Baldrick. And a baboon with an apparently limitless store of dirty limericks at that. Let us pray that they do not realise they have been hoodwinked.

Baldrick: And they think that you are the Duke of High Wycombe's piece of rough. Ha, ha, ha!

Blackadder: Shut up, Baldrick. I have had to go into that foul clammy little chamber with the Duke three times now – and cosh him each time. Sooner or later even this group of congenital morons is going to get suspicious. And even a total nincompoop like Prince George must surely recognise me eventually, despite this silly little mask on my face, once he finishes his card game. No, we must face it. We're doomed.

[There is a huge uproar at the gaming table]

Prince George: £10,000? Again? How on earth did I get to be so jolly brilliant at this game?

Earl of Richmond: No doubt it is your divine right, Your Majesty. We mere nobles bow before your shining effulgence.

Prince George: Ooh er. That sounds kinky!

Earl of Richmond: You are as witty as you are handsome, Your Majesty. Now, if you could just hand over the £10,000 you owe me…

Prince George: Oh that – well, I'm sorry, but I don't have any money. I was hoping I might lose a few rounds and get some of it back. But I was just so stunningly brilliant that I won every round. So I'm rotten stinking broke again! Ha ha!

Crowd: Ra-dish, ra-dish!

Prince George: Oh, not again! [he rolls his eyes humorously] Luckily, I brought my own radish this time. I gave it to the funny little baboon over there.

[everyone looks across at Baldrick]

Earl of Richmond: [taking out a box of matches] Bring over the baboon.

Blackadder: Perhaps I may assist at this point, Sir. The baboon, besides being smelly and stupid, is also rather inclined to bite. Allow me to retrieve the radish for you.

Earl of Richmond: Good idea. And you can insert it up the Royal jacksie as well. I'm sure that's the sort of thing a great big steaming left-footer like yourself is very good at.

Blackadder: Surely, my lord, as the debtee – that privilege should be yours?

Earl of Richmond: But I want you to do it. And I can get very nasty indeed when I don't get what I want. And so can this crowd.

Crowd: String up the the prole, string up the prole!

Blackadder: Oh goodness me, there's no need for any stringing up. I shall endeavour to give satisfaction, Sir. Now, Baldrick - hand me the radish, and we can get on with things.

[Prince George drops his breeches and bends over the card table]

Crowd: Ra-dish, ra-dish!

Baldrick: I ate it.

[The crowd's chanting becomes increasingly hostile]

Blackadder: You ate it? You ate the radish? We are at the mercy of a blue-blooded, drug-crazed, drunken mob, and you ate the one thing that might save us?

Baldrick: I was hungry.

Blackadder: [to the room at large] Very well, if we do not have a radish, then it must be…. a turnip.

Prince George: Oh, I say!

Blackadder: [Stares down at Prince George's firm bare buttocks] Well I never thought I would one day be bending a Royal Prince across my knee and buggering him with a root vegetable. It only goes to show, Baldrick, that every British child, however humble, can still aspire to great things. He may end up putting the stuffing in a big German sausage, of course - but still he can aspire. Baldrick…the turnip.

Baldrick: Oh, Mr B – not my turnip.

Blackadder: It's in a noble cause, Baldrick – and besides how many turnips can there be in the world that have been so very closely associated with Royalty? Your turnip will be very special. Very special indeed.

Baldrick: [handing over his turnip very reluctantly] Treat it gently, Mr B.

Blackadder: Oh, I assure you Baldrick, I intend to be very careful. I will insert this turnip very, very slowly, and with loving care. And if I'm not entirely happy with my work, I may remove it and insert it again. We shall see. [he rolls up his sleeve]

Prince George: Ooooh!

[scene fades]

The Following Morning, at the Palace:

Prince George enters, walking rather gingerly.

Blackadder: Good afternoon, Sir. I trust you had a pleasant evening at the Naughty Hellfire Club last night. How is your head, sir? And your bottom?

Prince George: [Sits down with a wince.] Oh splendid, splendid. All jolly good fun, of course.

Blackadder: [lifting the lid from the plate] Your breakfast, Sir. Twenty four quails eggs, a side of bacon, a pheasant, six kippers, one mushroom, sixteen fried potatoes - all as usual - and an additional seasonal delicacy, sir. A turnip.

Prince George: Argh! I don't think I can look a turnip in the face, Blackadder, without blushing. I had a turnip shoved up my nether regions last night, by some thin-lipped sadist in a little black mask. He was giggling throughout. Phew, what a loony.

Blackadder: So you were turnipped sir, rather than radished? Dear me, how distressing.

Prince George: It damn well was. I think I may to have to give up winning at cards, Blackadder. Getting the turnip in wasn't too bad – a bit tickly, of course. But they had a trained baboon who removed it again. And not as gently as I would have liked.

Blackadder: Never a dull moment in the Naughty Hellfire Club, I see sir. I shall withdraw the turnip then, and leave you to the rest of your breakfast.

Prince George: Do, do. And bring me a cushion while you're at it. [brightens] I learned some excellent lewd poems though. You'll like this one, Blackadder.

Blackadder: I doubt it very much, sir.

Prince George: There was a young man of Devizes….

The End