Norman Randall

``Spiny'' Norman R. McRae, as he used to be called, has been various things in his life -- prizefighter, cracksman, general bruiser, army artilleryman, etc. He enlisted under the name Randall MacRae because ``Spiny'' Norman had gotten too hot for London to handle (what with the beating people senseless and all). The Army, however, shipped him to Sindh, which was not fun, although he enjoyed working with gatling guns and so forth, and he deserted after a whole three months.

He then took up his wonted profession -- creep. A short run of safecrackings spread across Sindh, and then Spiny made his one big mistake: he broke into the home of Sacheverell FitzWalter, Baron Lixnay, Viscount Botevant.

The mad explorer.

A few weeks later, ``Randall'' the butler and general amanuensis was firmly attached to Lord Botevant's service, where he has remained ever since, crossing Afghanistan, Thibet, China, and Mongolia with the distinguished eccentric.

Now the two are in London, Randall performing as a fully civilized butler (or almost) in the Berkeley Mansions flat.

Randall is 6'7" tall, weighs close to 300lbs., and very little of it is fat. He's extremely good at beating the hell out of people, although he feels that the proper ways to do this are: (1) hit him with a cosh, or (2) kick him in the goolies. The ever-popular ``head butt'' is dirty fighting, and Randall won't have anything to do with that sort of impropriety. Randall is very good at a surprising range of menial skills, such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, polishing, and so forth, and he has gone to great lengths to improve his sense of proper etiquette. He is also an extraordinarily good cracksman and general mechanic (although he would be better at it if he didn't make so much bloody noise moving about). In his spare time, he is trying to improve his cultural standing by studying up on high art, on which he is now mildly expert. (He has an unfortunate tendency to snigger when he sees the name Titian, which he pronounces ``Titty-Ann,'' and he also considers himself a true art expert because he has an uncanny sense for what various pieces of art are worth. His actual sense of why something is more or less aesthetically worthwhile is somewhere submerged underneath.) Randall dresses very formally, generally in morning-coat and bowtie, with a porkpie when outdoors (think of the coat as grey tails, with striped trousers; the porkpie is the middle class equivalent of the topper).

When at home, Randall enjoys indulging Lord Botevant's peculiar whims; for example, after dinner he will generally light a candelabra of 3 candles and walk steadily back and forth across the floor while Lord Botevant tries to shoot out the flames with a blank-loaded antique duelling pistol. (I know this sounds bizarre, but Charles Darwin did it on board the Beagle, so there you are.)

In case you hadn't guessed, Randall is a bit odd as society servants go. But then, Sacheverell FitzWalter, Baron Lixnay, Viscount Botevant, is hardly your average aristocrat....

Viscount Botevant

Last modified: Mon Oct 20 17:45:09 CDT 1997