It was only later that Eddie realized this was one of the few occasions since he'd met his great-aunt when she hadn't been carrying Malcolm, her stuffed stoat.
Back in the hallway, Eddie's parents were reunited. Unable to see her husband up in the rafters and unable to hear his cries, Mrs. Dickens had assumed that he'd been blown to bits.To find him alive was the best thing that could happen before breakfast. There was plenty of hugging and kissing. This is always embarrassing to watch if it's your own parents doing it, and even more so in those days for some reason, so Eddie hurried back outside, leaving them to it.
He found Mad Uncle Jack in the driveway issuing instructions to the servants-ex-foot soldiers once under his command in some faraway place in some long-forgotten war-whose job it would be to clear up the mess. Eddie suggested that they also be given strict instructions not to light any fires or make any sparks until the gas pipes damaged in the explosion were repaired.
Mad Uncle Jack looked at him admiringly. "I can see who Colonel Marley was glad to have you at his side at the Fall of St. Geobad, my boy," he beamed proudly.
Eddie was about to say something, but decided against it.
Great-aunt Maud appeared, pushing between them. "I said such rowdiness would end in tears," she muttered, stomping off around the east side of Awful End, back to Marjorie, her hollow cow.
"Where's Malcolm, Mad Uncle Jack?" Eddie asked.
"I believe her stoat's name is Sally," said Mad Uncle Jack, which was a common error on his part, unless, of course, it was Mad Aunt Maud who consistently got the name wrong. "Is that her?" He pointed at the stone birdbath on a pedestal. In it was Malcolm, floating on his back. It was a strange morning all around.
Relieved that no one was injured from the explosion, Mad Uncle Jack and Eddie returned their attention to the lonely coffin lying farther down the driveway.