MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
every time this happened I would always imagine that it was my paper
he was dealing with. Then he was rather a small man with a strange,
rather buttery sort of quality in his voice. And finally, he did say, and
write, and do some very odd things. A neurologist would doubtless
tell us that he had something a little wrong with some of the associa-
tion centres in his brain, which led to his saying the wrong word, or in
some way making the wrong association. The curious thing was that
this did not make him any the less efficient in the varied intricacies
of college business.
True Spoonerisms, in the dictionary sense, he very rarely produced.
There is, however, a good deal of evidence for his having actually
announced the hymn " Conquering Kings their titles take . . ."as
"Kinkering Gongs.95 And for his having said to a stranger who was
sitting in his seat in chapel: " Excuse me, but I think you are occupew-
ing my pie." But almost all the old favourites among Spoonerisms
are pure inventions, which were afterwards tacked on to him. For
instance, he never really said to the lady who asked him what
happened to the cat which fell from a fourth-story window: "Oh,
she just popped on her drawers and away she went." Nor did he
ever say to the lazy undergraduate: "You have hissed all my
mystery lectures. In fact, you have tasted two whole worms and you
must leave Oxford this afternoon by the Town Drain." As I said,
most of his actual slips were in the nature of what one might call
"paraphrasia," I twice personally heard him make a slip of this sort.
When the Oxford University Expedition was going to Spitsbergen,
I had been explaining to him that the reason for our choice of that
barren land was that, owing to the Gulf Stream, you could go so far
north without great difficulty. When I called to say good-bye, he
retailed this to his wife: "My dear, Mr. Huxley assures me that it's
no farther from the north coast of Spitsbergen to the North Pole than
it is from Land's End to John of Gaunt!" That was a typical false
association. Again, once when I was going with him on some matter
of college business to a village near Oxford, we passed a farm which I
happened to know was called Bayswater Farm. And as we passed
this he turned to me and, with his customary sweet smile, said: "A
curious thing, my dear Huxley, but that farm's called Piccadilly."
My only conclusion was that both Piccadilly and Bayswater are in the
West End of London.
Then there is another one that I believe to be well authenticated.
A Fellow of the college had been ill, and in his absence a piece of
college business had been decided, in a way which went against his
known views; a day or so later, Spooner, meeting the man's wife in