British Waterways chiefs were yesterday said to be agog at the news that the 'Wreck of the Hesperus' had been found lying in a shallow basin on the Leeds and Liverpool canal near Chorley, Lancashire, England.
North of England BW representative, Albert Shufflebottom was heard, in the taproom of the 'Blind Whippet', to expound, between liver crippling draughts of alcohol.
"Av ne'er eard so much claptrap in me life. If yon wer'th Hesperus, then weers yon lass us were tied to yon mast? I think it's all a purrup by yon at TV stations."
A colleague from the Southern branch of BW, Brigadier Hugo Nought, insisted that Mr Shufflebottom was nothing more than a laughable local 'oick' who was only employed by BW for his novelty value, and nothing he said should be taken seriously.
"Of course it's the 'Hesperus'," blustered the Brigadier. "And British Waterways will be charging a premium for the public to walk her storm lashed decks, what!"
When asked if BW would be offering the wreck to the nation, and transporting it to the capital, the Brigadier replied.
"Don't be soft, man. If that damned yankee, Longfellow, hears of this, he'll be wanting the blessed thing back. Mines a scotch."