MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD underneath, with a line through it, "poorly." I suppose he was feel- ing poorly when he wrote the letter. Another was written to con- gratulate the same man on his wife's recovery from a serious illness. In it he wrote: "I arn so glad to hear that you are at last relieved from your terrible burden of anxiety," and underneath, with a line through it, "debt"—an all too normal association! Then he sometimes used to make slips in action. The wife of an Oxford Professor once told me that she had been dining at New College in the Warden's lodgings, where there is a very fine but very slippery old oak staircase you have to go down from the drawing-room. When she was going home the Warden said: "Oh, I'll come and turn on the other lights and see you safely down the stairs." But when he got to the staircase he turned out the only light that was on, and pro- ceeded to lead the way down in total darkness. Luckily his daughter came to the rescue and switched the lights on. With all these peculiarities, it was little wonder that the legend grew. Let us remember that legends grow very readily in old- fashioned University circles, especially if aided by the inventions of rather naughty colleagues. Anyhow, this certainly happened in New College in the 'seventies and 'eighties—with the result that the word Spoonerism—I cite the large Oxford Dictionary—"was in colloquial use in Oxford as early as 1885 and in general use all over the country before 1900." By now, there are hundreds of these invented stories fastened on to the legend of Spooner—mostly silly, but some of them, I really think, have enriched our national stock of humour. Let me emphasize again that all these are quite certainly mythical. There is a familiar one which I like very much about his having (so the story ran) made an engagement to meet a man at a certain public-house in south London. He came back very, very tired and weary at the end of the day, without having been able to find the man; but it turned out the public-house that he had been vaguely looking for was the Dull Man, Greenwich, whereas really the appointment was for the Green Man, Dulwich. Perhaps the best of all Spoonerisms are the very simple ones; the one I think I personally like best is the tale—again quite mythical— of Spooner having his hat blown off and running after it, saying, " Oh, please, will nobody pat my hiccup." But there is a very elaborate and ridiculous one that I rather enjoy. He and Mrs. Spooner—so the story goes—were taking a vacation in Switzerland,, where he got interested in glaciers and had been studying books on the subject till he was full of technical terms like crevasses, and erratic blocks, and moraines, and 214 .