"And that is why the Lord created men!"
Percy burst into the study, singing the refrain at the top of his lungs. He was met by more than half a dozen icy glares, coming at him from over ridiculously flouncy cravats and brightly-patterned coats.
"What?" he queried innocently. "I thought the tune was rather catchy, myself."
A storm of outbursts met this remark. Finally one voice rose above the others.
"Percy, I can finally say that I am fully assured of your complete madness."
Without a word, Percy swept Hastings a low and overly elegant bow.
"Really, though," Ben said with a slightly exasperated smile, "why we go along with some of these harebrained plans is beyond me."
"Well they work, don't they? And they're such monstrous fun!" Percy answered, smiling broadly. "Honestly, gents, you'd think you all didn't like the fine clothes I picked out for you!"
Percy ducked quickly as nine large and obnoxious hats sailed towards his head. He stood up, then doubled over again in laughter. Of all the members of the league, only Elton had kept his hat.
"Ignoring your last comment," Ozzy remarked, "I suppose the plan did work. If the idea was to rob us all of any dignity we possessed and convince the prince himself that we're a lot of complete nincompoops, it worked perfectly!"
"Well done, Ozzy!" Percy exclaimed, clapping him on the back. "I'm so glad you were able to figure that out on your own!"
"But really, Percy," Ben continued over the laughter, "I'd sooner take on all of France than wear this many ruffles! I never thought the adventurous band of heroes I was envisioning would look like this!"
"Well, perhaps we should go to France with the ruffles!" Hal inserted. "Then the Frenchies would simply die laughing and our problems would be solved!"
The men exchanged further banter and complaints as they began to remove their frilly coats and leave in search of more sportsman-like apparel. But as they brushed past Percy to get to the door, each one acknowledged him. Some nodded or winked, while others openly clapped him on the back or shook his hand. Finally only Percy and Andrew Ffoulkes were left in the room. Percy turned to his friend, swept another elegant bow, and winked mischievously.
Andrew smiled. "Well done, Percy."