Sir Hercules Robinson was purple with rage. 'Pshaw!' he spat. 'Have the blighter flogged!' The former governor struggled impatiently to get the earphones over his mutton-chop sideburns. 'Can't understand what the man's on about! Abuse of the Queen's English!' Heat rises. The old ghost was practically thumping his head on the ceiling. He did not like Leong Che-hung's speech at all. 'This will be epoch-making which has not happened under the 150 years of British rule,' said Dr Leong. '. . . some 16 points yardstick by which his successor should be put under microscope!' '. . . the welfare of the people which Britain hands over to another sovereignty without their consent is water under the bridge.' 'Pshaw!' Herc spat again. After 100-odd years of presiding over the Legislative Council, Herc has become a bit of a stickler for tradition and decorum. It wasn't just the gobbledygook that bothered him. As chairman of the House Committee, Dr Leong should have been proposing a motion of thanks for the Governor's Address. If that was what he was doing, it didn't show. Not even Elsie Tu, Chris Patten's bitterest foe in the last Legislative Council, managed to present a speech entitled 'motion of thanks' without actually proposing one. She was grudging, she was venomous - but at least she was to the point. 'Atchoo!' spluttered Herc, after a furious pinch of snuff. Allen Lee reminded us of a bit of distant history: July 9, 1992, to be precise. Mr Patten had arrived and given his inaugural speech 'in the Great Hall of the People, I mean City Hall . . .'. Laughter from the benches. 'Some of you may not have been there in person,' said Mr Lee, making a joke of his mistake. More laughter. Herc slammed his gout-stool in exasperation. From the Gallery has become quite fond of old Herc over the years. As blighter after blighter stood up to castigate Mr Patten and all things British, we began to worry about his surface tension. Flying ectoplasm would leave some pretty nasty stains on Christine Loh's electric blue jacket. The best anyone could manage was a bit of faint praise. Martin Lee actually seemed to suggest he had rather liked Hong Kong for a few years. So had his Dad, who despite his Kuomintang connections had preferred to struggle on here and enjoy British-style freedoms and the rule of law rather than live like a lord in Taiwan. But then along came Mr Patten and set up the Court of Final Appeal. And that was the end of that. 'Could have been even better,' said David Li of British rule. By which he meant it could have come to an end without Mr Patten. Emily Lau was generous. The Governor was the best we'd had. But given his predecessors, that was not much to boast about. High over the chamber, the Ghost of Governors Past spat again. 'Blasted suffragettes,' he muttered. 'Should never have given them the vote!'