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Losing a pet, as everyone knows, can be akin to losing a member of the family. Unless you're Travers Smith private equity star Charlie Barter, that is.
One of Tulkinghorn's scribes had occasion to visit Barter recently and, as it does, the question of household animals cropped up.
It transpired that Barter's son had suffered a recent bereavement in the pet rabbit department. But all was well, it seems, as the death of his son's 'semi-feral, Monty Python-type biting' leporidae was a blessing in disguise. In fact, just before Flopsy died, Charlie had spent around half an hour on the phone to the RSPCA trying to persuade it to take the monster mammal off his hands. Not surprisingly he was berated by the RSPCA officer, who gave him the 'a rabbit is for life, not for Christmas, sir' spiel.
Anyway, although the junior Barter had never really been too keen on the rabbit in the first place, he thought he would use the death as an excuse to get out of school the following day. "There's a hole in my heart where Flopsy used to be. I think it would be healed if I spent the day at home with you," he said.
Top marks for lateral thinking, Barter junior, but more effort needed to convince Barter père.