(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Collected parodies"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/collectedparodieOOsqui 



Collected Parodies 



Collected Parodies 

By J. C. Squire 



a 



New York 
George H. Doran Company 



Printed wholly in England for the Muston Company. 
I.OWK cNc Bkydone, Printbrs. Ltd., Park Stkkkt, Camokn Town. Lokdon, N.W.I 





Y'K 






4^37 






677o 






CONTENTS 


PAGE 


I 


Repertory Drama 


3 


II 


How They Do It 


31 


III 


How They Would Have Done It 


75 


IV 


Imaginary Reviews 


103 


V 


Imaginary Speeches 


139 


VI 


The Aspirant's Manual 


157 



815349 



PREFACE 

THIS collection includes almost the whole of 
three previous books : " Imaginary Speeches," 
" Steps to Parnassus" and "Tricks of the Trade," 
which contain all the parodies I have ever published 
or, I imagine, ever shall publish. For permission to 
reprint from the first two I am indebted to Messrs. 
Allen and Unwin. Some of the parodies have been 
re-grouped ; a few have been omitted. I was not 
quite sure what to do about the " Imaginary 
Speeches " in which I endeavoured to exhibit the 
mannerisms of mind and language of a number of 
politicians who were prominent in 1909, when they 
were written. The speeches dealt with a hypothetical 
future which will not now exist. They mentioned 
persons no longer conspicuous. They treated prob- 
lems which have been either shelved or partially 
solved : one, for instance, visualized women's 
suffrage coming under conditions very different from 
those which saw its achievement. I have, therefore, 
compromised by reprinting three only of them in 
the hope that, as some readers, when they first 
appeared, found them interesting as topical criticism, 
so others may now find them interesting as recalling 
" the world before the war."— J-C.S. 



I 

REPERTORY DRAMA 



M. MAURICE MAETERLINCK 
PELISSIER AND MARIANE 

[Scene. A glade in an ancient forest. The trees 
have vast trunks. Over and through them (l.) one can 
dimly see the crown of a ruined tower. Its stones are 
massive, and it has been inhabited, but is so no longer. 
It is evening. Pelissier and Mariane stand by the 
bole of a great tree, melancholy and silent, gazing at 
the last light. He is of robust build, and she clings to 
him for support. Both are pale with that mysterious 
pallor that lives in moonbeams when a cloud half covers 
the surface of the moon. 

Mariane. Pelissier ! [A wind shakes the branches 
and the leaves rustle.] Pelissier ! ... It is a little 
wind 1 . . . Did you not hear it, Pelissier ? 

Pelissier. Yes, Mariane, it is a little wind, a 
child wind. Perhaps it has lost its way in the world. 
We, have we lost our way, Mariane ? 

Mariane. Pelissier ! . . . 

Pelissier. Yes, I think we have lost our way. . . . 
I dreamt last night that I was walking, walking amid 
the meshes of an enormous net of bushes and plants 
which sucked and throttled me so that I could 
hardly breathe. . . . And you, you were there too, 
Mariane. I could hear you somewhere making little 
cries, the cries I have often heard you make when 
you have found some wounded thing : some bird, 
perhaps, that the cruel cat has been tormenting. . . . 

3 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Mariane. Prissier ! . . . 

Pelissier. I think that in my dream we were 
wandering there for ever. 

Mariane. PeHssier ! . . . 

[It has groum darker. The mooji has not yet risen, 
hut the tower and the other objects are still faintly 
visible in a diffused bluish lights like the light of in- 
finity. For a space Pelissier and Mariane are silent. 
Slowly, over the farthest trees, the moon rises. The 
tower becomes a pillar of black and silver, and a pure 
and brilliant ray strikes Pelissier and Mariane. 

Pelissier. Hush, Mariane ! 

Mariane. PeHssier ! 

Pelissier. Do you not see them ? 

Mariane. Who, Pelissier ? . . . Oh, I Sm afraid 
. . . Oh, I am cold ! 

Pelissier [his voice is low and level and brooding, 
and his eyes are fixed and sorrowful]. They are over 
there, over behind that tree. They are coming this 
way. Do you not see them ? It is the six old men 
whom we saw yesterday by the place where the old 
king lived. 

Mariane. Oh, Pelissier ! Oh, I see them ! Oh, 
they are horrible ! I think I must have known them 
long ago. ... I think I must have known them 
before I was born ! 

[From the forest on the left Six Old Men enter. 
The five of them are blind and deaf and dumb, but the 
sixth is not dumb. He is only blind and deaf. They 
walk very slowly and stumblingly. The first feels his 
way with his staff. The others also feel their ways with 
their staffs, tripping over sticks and dead leaves as 
they go.] 

4 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

The First Old Man. Moo ! [He enters the wood 
on the right.] 

The Second Old Man. Moo ! [He enters the 
wood on the right.] 

The Third Old Man. Moo . [He enters the wood 
on the right.] 

The Fourth Old Man. Moo ! [He enters the 
wood on the right.] 

The Fifth Old Man. Moo! [He enters the wood 
on the right.] 

The Sixth Old Man. Ah ! . . . I think God 
must be dead to-night. . . . [He stumbles.] Blast ! 
[He enters the wood on the right.] 

Pelissier. Did you hear what the sixth old man 
said, Mariane ? 

Mariane [vaguely y as one in a dream]. Oh ! . . . 
There is a child there . . . over where the old king 

lived It is blue. ... It is blue like the 

night ! ... I do not know why it is blue ! . . . 
Oh, I am afraid ! 

Pelissier. He said that he thought God must be 
dead to-night. ... I remember when the old 
king died, the old king with the amber eyes and 
the gentle voice, that there was an old knight there 
who was in the old wars. He was so old that no 
one knew when he was born or who was his father. 
They said that he was born before the world 
began. ... I think, perhaps, he was never 
born. . . . 

Mariane. Yes, I have heard of him, Pelissier. . . . 
It was Aggravette who told me, your cousin Aggra- 
vette. . . . We had been one day over the lake in a 
great galley. The rowers rowed. They rowed hard. 

5 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
They were great men, and their muscles gleamed 
in the sun. . . . 

Enter A Man 

The Man. X22, what are you doing off your 
beat ? 

Curtain 



REPERTORY DRAMA 



II 

SCHOOL OF WILDE 
EPIGRAMMATIC COMEDY 

[Tea-time at the Ashingtons'. Dora Ashington, 
a pretty fair-haired girl of twenty-one^ pours tea. Her 
brother Harold, Cyril Buck, and Ethelred Under- 
wood are scattered in various careless attitudes toying 
with Eclairs. Furniture as usual. 

Dora. What a world it is ! 

Cyril. Yes, an oblate spheroid flattened at both 
ends like an orange and simply covered with 
scandals. 

Ethelred. I think, you know, that what this age 
really lacks is critics. 

Cyril. Yes ; the critic's main function as now 
interpreted is offering plausible explanations. Our 
critics have no mental life. Mental life consists 
chiefly in the discovery that the things our ancestors 
said were true. 

Dora. Oh, how can you say we have no critics ! 
What about Mr. Lumley ? 

Cyril. Mr. Lumley rows with commendable 
energy in the river of life, but he is always catching 
crabs. 

Dora. Well, Mr. Chumley then ? 

Ethelred. He splits hairs the size of barge-poles. 

Dora. But what about Mr. Dumley ? 

Harold. Mr. Dumley has made a very big repu- 
tation. No, I do not care to say he has made a big 

7 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

reputation ; I prefer to say that he has made an 
extensive, bad smell. 

Dora. I'm afraid you're all very sarcastic just 
because you know I'm not clever. I suppose you 
will be saying that we have no artists next. 

Cyril. We have no artists. 

Dora [triumphantly]. Well, I've heard you say 
yourself that Mr. Pumley was marvellous. 

Cyril. How marvellous, but how unreadable. 

Dora. And even Ethelred has admitted that there 
are good passages in his poems. 

Ethelred. Imitation pearls in a very genuine 
dunghill. 

Dora. You are all throwing me overboard. I 
suppose, Harold, you will turn on your favourite, 
Mr. Mumley, next, 

Harold. I do not know what you mean by my 
favourite, Dora. Mr. Mumley, as it appears to me, 
spends most of his time in a laborious pursuit of the 
obvious. He goes to the North Pole and finds it a 
clichi ! 

Dora. Oh, how silly you are. You are all per- 
fectly unreasonable. 

Cyril. Reason is a dangerous weapon to play 
with. 

Ethelred. Oh, certainly, Cyril. 

Cyril. A blunt razor may be sharper than a 
sharp knife. We are all proud to belong to a Vam- 
pire on which the sun never sets. If you take a horse 
to the water you must expect him to drink. The 
worst of young women is that they are so middle- 
aged. They refuse to leap before they look. The 
modern married woman should never forget she is 

8 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

modern, should sometimes forget she is a woman, 
but should always forget she is married. No, Dora, 
you are not married. [Sighing.] I sometimes wish 
you were. 

Harold and Ethelred. I think we must be going 
The worst of going is that it implies coming back. 
Grood-bye. 

[They go out 

Dora. Did you really mean what you said . . . 
Cyril? 

Cyril. Yes ; I really meant what I said. 

Dora. So there's no more to be said. 

[They embrace 

Cyril. The worst of engagements is that they 
seldom end in marriage. The worst of marriage is 
that it always begins with an engagement. When- 
ever I am engaged I always feel as though even 
marriage would be preferable. I have always felt 
that except when I have been married. Only last 
week I was married and I felt like it then. I married 
one of my housemaids. I felt that it was time I in- 
troduced economy into my household. I have always 
been as poor as a church mouse- because I have had 
to maintain so many servants. Being a man with a 
stronger will-power than my friends suspect I came 
to a determined resolution. I made up my mind 
that I would diminish the number of my servants, 
and I could only do that by marrying them one by 
one and retaining their services without salary. 

Dora. A wife in times saves nine. 

Cyril [severely]. I suspect, Dora, that that means 
nothing. Rolling stones always gather moss. I am 
not a rolling stone and I have gathered no moss. 

9 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

[Sadly.] No, I fear the moss has gathered me. That 
is the worst of moss ; it is so avaricious. I am a prey 
to every grasping moss whose path I cross. There is 
old Moses Moss for example. 

Dora. Oh, Cyril, you don't mean to say you have 
fallen into the hands of those horrid moneylenders ? 

Cyril. No, Dora ; would that it were so ; they 
might have lent me some money. As it is I have only 
been able to borrow from complete strangers. I do 
it at night with the help of a kindly policeman who 
was at college with me. He has risen in the world ; 
I have come down. I think he got his job through 
influence. That is the worst of influence ; it is so 
influential. 

Dora. I am really awfully sorry for you, Cyril ; 
I would do anything for you except break our en- 
gagement, 

Cyril. No ; I do not ask you to do that, Dora. 
As a man makes his bed so he must lie, even if he 
makes it up a tree. That is the worst of trees ; they 
are so up. I think that trees should have grown 
horizontally ; they would have been more easy to 
descend. I once knew a man who had a mustard- 
tree. But the birds of the air did not build their 
nests in it [sighing], so he cut it down. 

Dora. I think I hear father coming. 
Enter Mr. Ashington 

Dora. Father, Cyril and I are going to be married. 

Mr. Ashington [shaking hands with Cyril). My 
dear fellow, there's nothing could have delighted me 
more. A wife, as Solomon said, is better than rubies. 

Cyril. Who was Solomon ? 
Curtain 

lO 



REPERTORY DRAMA 



III 

SCHOOL OF REBELLION AND STAGE 
DIRECTIONS 

THE CAGED EAGLET 

OR, HOW WE MAKE OUR PLAYS READABLE 

[The scene is the morning-room at the Blenkinsops'. 
Chairs, books, pictures, etc. Sofa R.c, doors r., r.c, 
L., and L.c. ; French-window between centre doors if 
there is sufficient space. Mrs. Blenkinsop is seated at 
a large zvriting-desk against the Hght wall and her 
daughter Euphrosyne is'-zoriting at a smaller desk 
facing the opposite wall. Mrs. Blenkinsop is a lady 
past middle age, portly, treble-chinned, large-bosomed, 
hook-nosed, and pince-nez' d. She looks — as indeed -she 
is — the type of prosperous philistinism. When Mr. 
Blenkinsop was first engaged to her she was a plump 
and stupid damsel in much request at tennis-parties. 
Years have aged and rounded her ; she does not play 
tennis nowadays ; in fact, her only exercise consists of 
taking her dog out for a daily drive in a victoria. She 
is engaged in writing a letter to a Mrs. Pott-Wither 
asking her whether she is willing to go halves in a 
garden-party on behalf of the local branch of the 
Degenerate Tinkers' Aid Society. It is not easy to 
guess how Euphrosyne has put up with her so long. 
At last, after several minutes busy scratching, she turns 
her head towards her daughter. 

Mrs. Blenkinsop. Euphrosyne ! 
II 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

[EuPHROSYNE turfis with an impatient look. She 
has for some time been secretly a member of the Syn- 
dicalist Party of Great Britain and Ireland. Her 
smooth hair, parted in the middle, her grey, direct eyes, 
and her square jaw, all betray resolution and original- 
ity. Only her strong sense of duty has kept her at home 
so long. She has no more sympathy with her asinine 
parents than you or I would have ; but she knows that 
in their way they are fund of their only child. Lately, 
however, domestic bonds have irked her more and more, 
and an explosion tnay be expected at any moment. 
She frowns slightly and bites her lower lip. Still, she 
answers. 

EuPHROSYNE. Yes, mother. 

[Mrs. Blenkinsop is blissfully unaware of her 
daughter s irritation, and she smiles fatly as she half- 
turns and surveys the neatly dressed figure. Probably 
she wonders as she looks at her whether or not she will 
marry Albert Pott-Wither, brother-in-law of Mrs. 
Pott-Wither, a bald-headed, nut-faced stockbroker of 
forty-five. But she puts such thoughts temporarily out 
of her head and resumes the conversation. 

Mrs. Blenkinsop. Do you remember the num- 
ber of Mrs. Pott-Wither 's house ? 

[EuPHROSYNE is naturally annoyed at the triviality 
of the interruption, but succeeds in stemming the tide 
of anger. Nevertheless her breast heaves rather quickly 
as she replies. 

EuPHROSYNE. Oh, 1 think it is 24 Hazelville Road, 
but I am not quite sure. 

[Both resume their writing, but after a couple of 
minutes Mrs. Blenkinsop looks up again, patting her 
hair lightly with her hand. She gives a little cough. 

12 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Mrs. Blenkinsop. Do you know whether the 
Pott-Withers have changed their telephone num- 
ber ? 

EuPHROSYNE. No ; 664 Bracton. 

Mrs. Blenkinsop. I thought it was 663. 

EuPHROSYNE. No ; 664. 

[They continue writing until the elder woman rises 
to go to the telephone. She goes out door r.c. Euph- 
ROSYNE springs from her chair and begins kicking the 
ground. She paces hurriedly up stage and then returns 
to her chair. 

EuPHROSYNE. Oh, damn ! 

[Mrs. Blenkinsop re-enters from the door by 
which she has emerged. She stands for a moment near 
the door scrutinising her daughter's bent back with a 
puzzled look. Then she gives a little sigh of non-com- 
prehension and returns to her loork. After a quarter of 
an hour's silence the door r.c. is suddenly flung open 
and Mr. Blenkinsop appears framed in the darkness 
behind it. He is very short, very stout, very shiny, very 
bald. His frock-coat flows back from an ample white- 
and-striped waistcoat whereon glitters a gold watch- 
chain with many seals. He wears spats. That is the 
kind of man he is. Once for a short time he sat on the 
local Board of Guardians ; but finding that there was 
very little to be made out of it, owing to the nature of 
his business, he retired after one term of service. Since 
then he has taken no part whatever in public life. He 
regards his daughter as a pretty young fool and sneers 
at her attempts to get in touch with modern movements. 
He hems loudly ; then slowly rolls up to the sofa, on 
which, with great care and effort, he deposits himself 
at full length. 

13 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Mr. Blenkinsop. Well, Euphrosyne, haven't 
you got a word for me ? 

[Euphrosyne leaps up, her fist clenched, her cheeks 
aflame. She is looking splendid and knows it ; but 
after all, she can't help that. She remembers her child- 
hood, but puts the thought out of mind. The climax has 
come. 

Euphrosyne. I won't. By God, I won't. 

[Her father quivering tvith rage looks at her lithe, 
erect form. He contemplates for a moment the notion 
of knocking her dozvn and flogging her with his umbrella; 
on second thoughts he doubts his capacity for an enter- 
prise so perilous. After all, he is not, he remembers, so 
young as he was. 

Mr. Blenkinsop. Come along ; none o' your 
nonsense. 

[Euphrosyne takes up an inkpot and brandishes it 
in a minatory manner. This is the last straw. As she 
begins her harangue she speaks in a low, tense, level 
voice ; but as she proceeds her voice rises until to her 
quailing parents it seems as though all the elements 
had been let loose. 

Euphrosyne. None of my nonsense. No ; you 
sha'n't have any more of my nonsense. Oh yes ; 
I've borne with you night and day, year after year, 
and I can tell you both I'm sick of it ; yes, sick of 
it. You wallowing beasts, you can think of nothing 
but eating and drinking. Do you think that I am 
cast in your own mould ? What right have you over 
me ? Yes, what right ? Year after year I have kept 
silence for your sakes. I have stifled and suffocated 
in the air of this house ; but now I am going away. 
Yes, I am going away. I am going away into the 

14 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

world. It is not food I want and rich clothes and 
dresses and flowers. I want life. You, you hogs, you 
do not know what life is. The sun does not shine for 
you, nor the winds blow, nor the mighty sea of 
heaven breathe its fragrance. You have never list- 
ened to the call of the moon and the chanting of 
the stars ; all the birds of the forest have sung in 
vain for you. But I want life. Yes, life. I have hung- 
ered and thirsted for Ufe. I want to be free. I want 
to drink the clouds and take the planets to my arms. 
Faugh, you are no better than the beasts. You wake 
and sleep and to-morrow you die and perish utterly 
away. ... By heaven, this is the end. 

[She picks up a large plant-pot and flings it through 
the French-window ; subsequently climbing through 
the hole she has made. Mrs. Blenkinsop sits at her 
desk weeping noisily into a large and vulgar handker- 
chief. Mr. Blenkinsop sits up dazed on his sofa. 
Now and then he whimpers like a hurt animal. 

Mr. Blenkinsop. Well. . . .'Drat the little .... 
hussy. 

Curtain 



IS 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



IV 

MR. GILBERT MURRAY 
EURIPIDES UP-TO-DATE 

[Terrace of the palace at Myccnce. Agapemone, 
deserted by Noeus, paces distractedly up and dozen 
half- listening to the consoling zvords of her Nurse. 
The Chorus of handmaidens are ranged at the back^ 
washing their dirty linen in public. 

Aga. O light that blew from Colchis o'er the sea 
Dost thou not dim and darken ? But for me 
Blossoms a greater light, and all my breath 
Pales ; and the dusty avenues of death 
Call with a haven for tulfilled feet 
And violet grass and trees and waters sweet. 
O in the untrodden pastures no man knows, 
Cypris, thy hands have raised a lovelier rose 
Than all of Argos or the Bactrian land 
Ever man gathered. 

Nurse. Daughter, stay thy hand, 

Wag not the tongue of steel. 'Twere deadlier sin 
To bare thy bird-bright throat and thrust therein, 
Than hers of Pomphalos who, on a day, 
Slew both her aged parents as men say 
Cold as the mountains. . . . 

Aga. Hold thy counsel, crone ! 

Far off from dark Cythera faintlier blown 
A cry comes through the dawn that throbs the dawn 
Swifter than goats' feet on the dewless lawn, 
Death, death. 

i6 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Cho. Who has encountered Death, 

Death and the nets of Fate, 
Who knows the step and the breath 

The hntel and the gate ? 
Lo ! even now have her eyes beholden 
The ashes of love and the gateway golden 
Foreseen long since in Argos olden 

And the marble house long desecrate. 

A cry from the great sea rings 

Desolate, alien. 
Of gods and ancient things 

And war and the slaying of men ; 
She hears the echo on roof and rafter 
Of scorn and weeping and hollow laughter. 
And tumults and storms and silence after 

And feet that pass and come not again. 
Nurse. Hear now the speech of these who see 
thy grief. 

Aga. a broken petal and a transient leaf. 
Nurse. Time has a potent salve for every smart. 
Aga. Who has contrived a medicine for the 

heart .'' 
Nurse. Nathless our sires were wiser men than 

we. 
Aga. Our dams, I hope, less garrulous .... 

Let be ! 
Cho. Who may withstand thee. Love, who may 
frustrate desire ? 
Thy hands are the hands of Fate and thine eyes 

more fierce than fire, 
Thy wings are plumed with mirth, with joy thy 
feet are shod, 

17 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

But the darkling wind that bears thee blows from 
the throne of God.* 
Aga. Mine eyes quiver and shake, my lips are 

mute. 
Nurse. Rash queens ere now have gathered bitter 

fruit. 
Aga. Nathless I think that you will shortly see 
The very last of Agapemone. 
Nurse. What folly's this ? 
Aga. O but to tread once more 

My father's halls and find again the Shore 
Of Tenedos. Ah> there from dawn to dusk 
In happy fields of amaranth and musk 
My little sister Emmeline and I 
Have, ah ! so often, chased the butterfly ; 
White was the sunlight there, and bright the grass 
Or ever between my maiden hps did pass 
The bane of bitter bread. O could I roam 
Thee, Tenedos, and the floors of the old home, 
Thoughtless and free in the place where I was 

bom. ... 
But see, with a piercing flame I am parched and 

torn. 
This is the end ; O ye who now remain 
Weep for a thing forsaken, a queen self-slain. 
Nurse. WTiat, wouldst thou slay thyself ? What, 
is this the end ? 
Stay now thy hand, for Death's a treacherous friend! 

Aga. I go, O halls of Tenedos, I go 
Into the dark, the dark I do not know. 

Nurse. What meanest thou thus gabbling of the 
dark? 

* Emendations ; as also passim. 

i8 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Methinks thy statements overshoot the mark. 

Aga. No wind blows always, ever one wind blows 
Whither and why and wherefore no man knows* 
And the Fates are blind and deaf and the gods are 

dumb 
As woman's life. . . . See now, I come, I come. 

[Stabs herself 
Nurse. Woe ! Woe ! Whoever would have 
thought it. 
Cursed be the deed and cursed be him who brought 
it. 
Cho. I heard a sound by the city wall 

As of children weeping and men sighing, 
A sound of waters and stones that fall. 

And maidens wounded and old men dying. 
A mighty shouting and ululation 
Of death, disaster and damnation. 
For truth is hidden and knowledge vain, 

And the gods indulge in frightful crimes. 
As also, in fairness I add, do men. 

And, to cut a long story short, till Time's 
Vintage last-grown fulfils the cup 
We never can tell what may turn up. 



Emendations ; as also passim. 
19 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

V 

SOCIAL STUDY SCHOOL 
THE STRIFE OF THE BLATHERSKITES; 

OR, THE STRONG-MINDED MANUFACTURER 

[The scene is the dining-room in Mr. Blatherskite^ s 
house. It is the fifty-third week of the strike. The chim- 
ofthe works, which can he seen through the window, 
are smokeless. Occasionally there are borne on the wind 
through the open window the moans of starving people 
and the angry hoots of strikers who are listening to an 
incendiary speech by one of their leaders. Old Mr. 
Blatherskite, who, by a curious and convenient coin- 
cidence, has a face exactly like Mr. Norman M'Kin- 
nelVs, sits on a hard chair l.c. facing the audience. 
His lips are pursed grimly, his grey rock-like head is 
supported by a strong hand. He does not move, but 
meditates. There is two minutes^ silence, which at last 
he breaks zvith a monosyllable. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Pah ! 

[He is silent again. Enter from door r. Gerald 
Blatherskite, his son, a fair-haired youth with a 
small diaphanous moustache. He hesitates as he watches 
his motionless sire, but at last plucks up courage to 
walk up to him though not to look him in the face. 

Gerald. Father ! 

Mr. Blatherskite. Well ? 

Gerald. Father. . . . Two hundred strikers' 
children have died of starvation since yesterday. 

20 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Mr. Blatherskite. Well ? 

Gerald [After uneasy hesitation]. Oh, father, can't 
ypu do anything for them ? 

Mr. Blatherskite. I am not responsible for 
them. 

Gerald. Oh, for God's sake, father, give them 
some food. 

Mr. Bl.\therskite, Let them return to work. 

Gerald. They would, father, if you would meet 
them half-way. 

Mr. Blatherskite. They have had my views on 
that subject. 

Gerald. But if you don't they will all starve to 
death. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Let them starve. 

Gerald. But . , . 

Mr. Blatherskite [Picking up a newspaper and 
reading with an indifferent air]. You may go. 

[Gerald walks a yard up stage ; then turns and 
looks at his father, makes as if to speak, thinks better 
of it, and sile?itly goes out, shutting the door quietly 
behind him. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Pah ! 

[Enter from door l. Helen Blatherskite, deter- 
mined-looking and artily dressed. She means to take a 
firm stand, so begins by pulling ov^r a chair to her 
father's vicinity and taking a firm seat. Mr. Blather- 
skite does not look up. 

Helen. Father ! 

Mr. Blatherskite. Well ? 

Helen. This dispute has simply got to stop. 

Mr. Blatherskite. The men can stop it when 
they like. 

21 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Helen. You don't realise how awful the suffer- 
ing in the village is. 

Mr. Blatherskite. How the devil do you know 
what I realise ? 

Helen. Oh, but you can't or you would agree to 
anything, 

Mr. Blatherskite. You seem to be as great a 
fool as your mother and almost as great a fool as your 
brother. You may leave the roon. 

Helen [standing up with crimson cheeks and quiv- 
ering hands]. I will not leave the room. You must 
hear me. Your barbarity is the talk of the county. 
If you resist much longer I am certain the men will 
murder us all. 

Mr. Blatherskite. They are too cowardly for that. 

[He goes to the bell; rings it, and returns to his chair 
and his impassive attitude. Enter Parlourmaid. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Willi, you may show Miss 
Helen out of the room. 

[Helen, after a passionate gesture, leaves the room, 
the domestic following her. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Pah ! 

[The domestic returns 

Parlourmaid. There is a woman with a baby to 
see you, sir. She says her name is Parker. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Bring her in. 

[Parlourmaid goes out and returns with a pale, 
haggard woman in a ragged shawl, carrying a dirty 
bundle. The woman stands trembling, and then rush- 
ing forward flings herself on her knees in front of the 
manufacturer. 

Mr. Blatherskite [Slightly raising his eyebrows 
but not turning his head]. Well ? 

22 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Mrs. Parker. Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo. Five of my 
babies are dead and this is the last. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Interesting, but irrelevant. 

Mrs. Parker. Oh, sir, my Jim was such a good 
husband. He has worked for you for twenty- five 
years, and he has never said a word against you, 
even since they came out on strike. 

Mr. Blatherskite. He is on strike. He broke 
his agreement. 

Mrs. Parker. Oh, sir, he didn't want to, sir. 
But he didn't want to be a blackleg. 

Mr. Blatherskite. He can work if he comes back. 

Mrs. Parker. Oh, sir, he can't come back until 
the others do. Not until you meet the leaders. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Then he will not come back. 

Mrs. Parker [holding out infant]. My baby is 
nearly dead, sir . . . it is my last one. 

Mr. Blatherskite [adjusting his pince-nez and 
cursorily examining the baby]. Yes. So it appears. 

[He goes to the bell and rings it ; then returns to his 
seat and his attitude. Enter Parlourmaid. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Show this woman to the door. 

[Eocit Parlourmaid and Mrs. Parker, sobbing 
hysterically. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Hum. Pah ! 

[Enter A Striker through the vnndow. Looking 
stealthily around him he sees the motionless figure. Be- 
lieving it to be asleep he steals on tip-toe into the room 
and draws a knife. 

Mr. Blatherskite. I see you. You are a thief 
like the rest. 

The Striker [dropping his knife in terror]. I am 
not a thief. ... I came to kill you. 

23 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Mr. Blatherskite [still immobile]. Ah ! you 
came to kill me. Do you still feel like it ? You had 
better come when I am asleep. It might require less 
courage then. 

Striker [passionately]. You swine I You are not 
worth killing. ... By God ! it is you that are the 
murderer. My wife died last night. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Ah ! She was doubtless a 
fool like other women. You may go. 

[The Striker, in trembling revulsion, retreats 
through the zvindotv, leaving his knife where it fell. 
Mr. Blatherskite rises, walks to it, picks it up, tries 
the edge along his thumb, and then flings it contemptu- 
ously into the waste-paper basket. He returns to his 
chair and lights a pipe. 

Mr. Blatherskite. Pah ! 

Curtain 



24 



REPERTORY DRAMA 



VI 

COTTAGE INTERIOR SCHOOL 
OUR VIVID RUSTICS 

[Interior of a cottage ; door r. leading out, door l. 
leading upstairs, fireplace with log fire, oak settle, and 
coloured prints on the wall, including images of the 
King and Queen in tlieir coronation robes. Table in 
middle, at zvhich Ethel Boffin stands peeling potatoes. 

Ethel [sings]. 

O flaming poppies, cornflowers blue, 

Beyond the utmost hill. 
The edge o' the world is fair to view 

And all the woods are still. 

'Alf past vour and 'im not in yet. 'E was alius like 
that, late fer every mortal thing. I 'member when 
I was a-waitin' fer 'im at the altar, and me so fine 
and vitty in my magenter dress an' all, and him there 
a-tumin' up two hours late and passen a-cussin' 
'im like a good 'un. Ah* deary me, deary me. 

[The door slowly opens and Algernon Tupp, the 
postman, cautiously peers in. Observing that she is 
alone he steps boldly over the threshold. His step startles 
her and she springs round. 

Ethel. Oh, Algy, you did give me a turn like. I 
thought it was me 'usbink. 

Algy [chuckling]. He-he. Don't you wish as 'ow 
it was, eh ? [Coming nearer.] 'Aven't you got a little 
kiss for I ? 

25 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Ethel [pushing him away]. Go on now, Mr 
Tupp, doan't 'ee be so silly now. 

Algy. Oo be you a-callin' silly ? If I keared I 
might say you was silly, too ; yes, and prove it too. 
An' what's more, there's more nor me knows it. 

Ethel [clutching the table and gasping]. What's 
that you'm a-sayin' of ? 

Algy [getting bolder]. You know very well what 
I'm a-sayin', an' 'is name begins with G., in my 
opinion. 

Ethel [making a show of indifference]. Well, you 
can keep your silly fancies to yourself. George 
Tibbits is v^^th twenty of the likes of you, and if 
you say a word more about it I'll give yer some- 
think in the ear'ole wot you won't forgit. 

Algy. Eh wot ? That's 'ow it is, is it. 

[Sidles towards her to kiss her. 

Ethel [taking up the peeling- knife she has 
dropped]. Take that, you swine ! 

[Stabs him in the carotid artery ; he drops, bleed- 
ing freely and obviously dead. She looks around dis- 
tractedly and, hearing a step at the door, hastily stows 
the body into the oven and stands over the spilt blood. 
Enter her husband,ToM Boffin, a hulking, drink-sodden 
fellow 7vhose flabby features are the loreck of a once 
handsome face. He lurches forward with a dazed look. 

Tom [hiccoughing]. Oop Got any beer, 

you . . . oop . . . little sow ? 

Ethel. Not for you, you drunken beast. You've 
'ad beer and enough these five years. And me never 
'ad a baby. 

Tom [striking her]. 'Ere . . . oop . . . you get 
me some beer. 

26 



REPERTORY DRAMA 

Ethel [stabbing him in the left breast]. There's 
yer beer, you boozy 'og. 

Tom drops dead, and his wife drags him along by 
the hair and puts him into the left oven. Whilst she is 
in the act the door leading from the house opens and 
her Grandfather comes in. He is abstracted, and 
notices nothing. He hobbles to the settle and with 
rheumatic groaning sits down on it. 

Granfer. Well, Ethel, my vlower ? 'Specs Tom '11 
be in zoon. Ees, Tom 'If be in zoon. Ees, Tom '11 be 
in zoon. Ees, Tom '11 be in zoon, Ees, Tom 

Ethel [impatiently interrupting him]. Shut up, 
you ole warmint. 

Gpanfer [whining]. Ees, the childer is all like 
that in these days. She called me an ole warmint, 
she did. Ees, an ole warmint. Ees, an ole warmint. 
Ees, an ole warmint. Ees, an ole 

Ethel [springing at him with the knife]. Gr-r-r-r. 

[Stabs him in the eye, the end of the knife protrud- 
ing through the back of his head. The body falls to the 
ground and she leaves it there. The door opens and 
George Tibbits appears. He looks at her with eager 
expectancy. 

George. Well, 'ave you bin an* done it .'' 

Ethel [triumphantly]. Yes, I bin and done it. I 
done 'im in, an' I done granfer in an' I done Algy 
Tupp in. They was all fules every one of 'em. Two 
of 'em be in the oven and the other [kicking Gran- 
fer under the table] is een 'ere. 

George. All right, my angel of heaven. They'm 
a good ole damn good riddance, all on 'em. We'll 
put 'em all down the well, my pearl. 'Ave you got 
a kiss for I } 

27 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Ethel [falling into his arms]. 'Ave I ? [Kisses him 
on both cheeks and then on the nape of the neck]. Oh, 
George, I've dreamed of you night and day. In the 
corn fields I have let my hair down and bound it 
with fillets of poppies and garlands of cornflowers, 
and I have said " These are for my George, for the 
man with eyes like stars and a neck like a pillar of 
carven ivory." Oh, George, you don't know what 
it's been like waitin' all these years. I thought this 
time would never come. If I'd had a child I think I 
should have been able to stand it, a child who would 
have tugged at my hair with his pretty hands and 
called me mother. Oh, I've been so lonely . . . 
the stars . . . the night . . . the hills . . . the 
waves of the great sea. 

[Wanderingly singing. 

The edge o' the world is fair to view 
And all the woods are still. 

[She faints in his arms. 

George. Yes, my sweeting, it has been a bit of 
a strain on you, I dare say. O my woman of all 
women, we will walk together, we two, in the sun- 
light and the moonlight, and all the past will fall 
away like a dark cloak. 

Ethel [waking]. Where am I ? 

George [patting her head]. Here, my darling. 
Have you got any beer ? 

Curtain. 



28 



II 

HOW THEY DO IT 



No, I. MR. H. BELLOC 



At Martinmas, when I was bom, 

Hey diddle^ Ho diddle^ Do, 
There came a cow with a crumpled horn, 

Hey diddle, Ho diddle. Do. 
She stood agape and said, " My dear. 
You're a very fine child for this time of year, 
And I think you'll have a taste in beer," 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Ho, do, do, do. 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do. 

A taste in beer I've certainly got, 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do, 
A very fine taste that the Jews have not. 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do. 
And though I travel on the hills of Spain, 
And Val-Pont-Cote and Belle Fontaine, 
With lusty lungs I shall still maintain 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Ho, do, do, do. 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do. 

So Sussex men, wherever you be. 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do, 
I pray you sing this song with me, 

Hey diddle. Ho diddle. Do ; 
That of all the shires she is the queen. 
And they sell at the " Chequers " at Chancton- 

bury Green 

31 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

The very best beer that ever was seen. 

Hey Domtnus, Domine, Dominum, Domini^ DominOy 
Domino. 

II 

Lord Globule was a backward lad, 

Round leaden eyes Lord Globule had, 

And shambling legs and shoulders stooped. 

And lower lip that dripped and drooped. 

At ten years old he could not get 

The hang of half the alphabet ; 

At twelve he learnt to read his name, 

At seventeen to write the same, 

At twenty-one, his boyhood done, 

He reached the age of twenty-one, 

Which was sufficient reason why 

His father's sturdy tenantry 

Should gather in a large white tent, 

Engulf some tons of nutriment, 

And, freely primed with free potations, 

Emit profuse congratulations. 

Sweet twenty-one 1 O magic age ! 

The opulent youth surveys the stage 

Where soon he'll walk 'mid loud applause. 

He only hesitates because 

His family all have different views 

Which role, which entrance he should choose. 

Lord Globule's father thought him made 

To dominate the world of Trade ; 

" Finance, finance is more his line," 

Exclaimed his Uncle Rubinstein ; 

" Oh, no," Aunt Araminta cried, 

32 



HOW THEY DO IT 

" Diplomacy should first be tried " ; 
But in the end with one accord 
They thought the chances of a hoard 
That British politics afford 
Would suit Lord Globule's pocket best. 

They all employed their interest 
With Uncle Tom, and Moses Kant, 
And Strauss, who married Globule's aunt, 
And Johnny Burke, and Stoke and Shere, 
And the old Duke and Humphrey Bere ; 
So that in January next year 
A vacancy in Hertfordshire 
Offered itself, and Globule's parts 
Enraptured the electors' hearts. 

The next five Sessions saw him slip 

Through Private Secretaryship, 

Under- Secretaryship , 

Financial Secretaryship, 

To Secretaryship of State, 

With absolute power to regulate 

The rural and the urban rate 

Of birth among the pauper classes, 

His duty 'twas to scan the masses 

And carefully eliminate 

What seemed to him degenerate, 

To say what kinds they'd mutilate 

And which ones merely isolate 

In " homes from home " where they should be 

Looked after tender-heartedly 

By men selected by a Board 

(No fewer than twenty to each ward). 

33 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

A heavy task, as you'll agree, 
For which they paid him liberally. 
Globule the office still would grace, 
And still would draw the emolument, 
Had not a wretched accident 
Unfortunately taken place. 

His chief subordinate being away 

(The man who wrote Lord Globule's speeches), 

Lord Globule took a hohday, 

Going by train to Burnham Beeches, 

A secretary, tall and prim, 

As usual, escorting him. 

This tall young gentleman, when taxed 

Later, denied he had relaxed 

His customary watchfulness ; 

But be that as it may, 'tis certain 

That late that night at Shoeburyness 

Lord Globule was discovered bare 

Of all except a muslin curtain 

And some few feathers in his hair 

And that the constable, when he 

Was quite unable to explain 

His actions or identity, 

Concluded that he was insane. 

Next day before the magistrate 

The poor young pillar of the State 

(His curtain bore no laundry marks !) 

Was still quite unidentified, 

And, catechized once more, replied 

Only with sundry mews and barks. 

And ultimately (to cut short 

The day's proceedings in the court) 

34 



HOW THEY DO IT 

Two doctors and the police advised 
That Globule should be sterilized 
(A thing I need not further mention), 
And sent to permanent detention. 

For days the public did not hear 
Of Globule's disappearance ; near 
And far, inquiries set on foot 
Quite privately, produced no fruit. 
Until at last the rumour spread 
(Not in the papers) and some one said 
That such a man in such a dress 
Had been detained at Shoeburyness. 
His relatives pursued the clue ; 
Alas, "alas, the thing was true, 
'Twas poor young Globule . . . 

But the worst 
Was this : that when they'd brought him out 
They found the thing had got about 
Among the unenlightened mob, 
Which stultified beyond all doubt 
The hopes they'd entertained at first 
That Globule might preserve bis job. 
Fate was too strong ; they had to bow ; 
Globule at home had been a failure ; 
And they could only give him now 
The Governorship of South Australia. 



35 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



No. 2. MR. W. H. DAVIES 

I 

I'm sure that you would never guess 
The tales I hear from birds and flowers, 

Without them sure 'twould be a mess 
I'd make of all the summer hours ; 

But these fair things they make for me 

A lovely life of joy and glee. 

I saw some sheep upon some grass, 
The sheep were fat, the grass was green, 

The sheep were white as clouds that pass, 
And greener grass was never seen ; 

I thought, " Oh, how my bliss is deep, 

With such green grass and such fat sheep ! " 

And as I watch bees in a hive, 

Or gentle cows that rub 'gainst trees, 

I do not envy men who live, 
No field?, no books upon their knees. 

I'd rather lie beneath small stars 

Than with rough men who drink in bars. 



36 



\ HOW THEY DO IT 

II 

A poor old man 
Who has no bread, 

He nothing can 
To get a bed. 

He has a cough, 
Bad boots he has ; 

He takes them off 
Upon the grass. 

He does not eat 

In cosy inns 
But keeps his meat 

In salmon tins. 

No oven hot. 
No frying-pan ; 

Thank God I'm not 
That poor old man. 



37 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

No. 3. SIR HENRY NEWBOLT 

It was eight bells in the forenoon and hammocks 
running sleek 
{It's a fair sea flovnng from the West)y 
When the little Commodore came a-sailing up the 
Creek 
{Heave Ho ! I think you'll know the rest), 
Thunder in the halyards and horses leaping high, 
Blake and Drake and Nelson are listenin' where 

they lie, 
Four and twenty blackbirds a-bakin' in a pie, 
And the Pegasus came waltzing from the West. 

Now the little Commodore sat steady on his keel 
{It's a fair sea flowing from the West), 

A heart as stout as concrete reinforced with steel 
{Heave Ho ! I think you'll know the rest). 

Swinging are the scuppers, hark, the rudder snores, 

Plugging at the Frenchmen, downing 'em by scores. 

Porto Rico, Vera Cruz, and also the Azores, 
And the Pegasus came waltzing from the West. 

So three cheers more for the little Commodore 

{It's a fair sea flowing from the West), 
I teil you so again as I've told you so before 

{Heigh Ho ! I think you know the rest). 
Aged is the Motherland, old but she is young 
(Easy with the tackle there — don't release the bung), 
And I sang a song like all the songs that I have ever 
sung 
When the Pegasus came sailing from the West. 

38 



HOW THEY DO IT 

No. 4. MR. JOHN MASEFIELD 

I. THE POET IN THE BACK STREETS 

[Author's Note. — The following poem has been 
considerably compressed owing to the exigencies 
of space, which must sometimes be respected. 

I 

Down Lupus Street there is a little pub, 

And there there worked a little bright-haired 
maiden, 

Mornings the furniture she had to scrub, 

Evenings she'd walk about with pewters laden ; 
But still she sang as did the birds in Eden ; 

In fact you would have said that there was no 

More cheerful barmaid in all Pimlico. 

She had eleven brothers and a sister, 

A mother who had rheumatism bad, 
And when she left o' mornings how they missed her, 

And when she stayed o' Sundays weren't they 
glad ; 

No other help or maintenance they had, 
So that their mother often said, " God pink 'em, 
Lucky for them Flo makes a decent income. 

39 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

" If 'twasn't for Flo's fifteen bob a week, 

Me and them brats would not know where to 
turn, 

For some of 'em ain't old enough to speak. 
And none of 'em ain't old enough to earn, 
And as for 'er bright merry japes, why, dum 

My bleedin' eyes, if we'd no Flo to quirk us, 

I'm sure we'd soon be droopin' in the workus. 

" It's only Flo's 'igh spirits keeps me goin' 
The way she sings ' My Pansy,' it's a treat, 

And also ' All a-blowin' and a-growin',' 
Our Flo is fair top-'ole, she can't be beat. 
So give three cheers for Flo, its' time to eat ; 

Mary, you just run out and fetch some jam. 

And Bill, take down the pickles and the ham." 

So the years passed, so Florence earned the money, 
And all the throng were happy as could be, 

No air could blench or stain her cheeks so bonny. 
No labour weigh upon her heart so free. 
She was, in short, as chirpy as could be ; 

Until at last came Fate in Fate's own time. 

And ravelled her in the dark nets of crime. 

Crime is the foulest blot on our escutcheon, 
Crime draws mankind as the moon draws the 
tides. 
Crime is a thing I'm rather prone to touch on, 
Crime is a clanking chain that grins and grides, 
A lure, a snare, and other things besides ; 
If crime should cease, I should not then be able 
To furnish England with my monthly fa ble. 

40 



HOW THEY DO IT 

One foggy night it happened there were drinking, 
Within the bar a crowd of all the boys, 

'Erb Gupps and Nixey Snell and Snouty Jinkin, 
And Noakes with several friends from Theydon 

Bois 
Visiting Pimlico ; they made a noise 

With call for booze and anecdote and curse, 

And as the night wore on the row got worse. 

" Wot sher," " Wot ho," " I don't fink," " Blast 
yer eyes," 
" That was a good 'un," " Cheese it," " 'Arf a 
mo," 
" Ten pints of 'arf an' 'arf," " There ain't no flies 

On Nixey," " You're a welsher, Joe," 

" A quartern more, miss," " lie," and so 

They kept it up with rapid thrust and answer, 
In phrases neatly measured for a stanza. 

Even when they yelled and fought, Flo did not 
mind. 
She did not mind, for she was used to this. 
Even when to sottish amourousness inclined 
They called her " Floss," or "Flo," instead of 

• " Miss " ; 
But when at last drunk Snouty snatched a kiss, 
She felt her cheek flame with a flaming flame, 
She felt her heart scorch with a hell of shame. 

All the air howls when storms scourge the Atlantic, 
All the wide forest shakes when falls the boar, 

A wounded whale is often very frantic, 
And jealous lions have been known to roar 

41 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Almost as loud as breakers on the shore ; 
But all these are tranquility and rest 
Compared with what went on in Florrie's breast. 

Red in her soul shame set its blazing seal, 
Black in her heart strong hate swirled round in 
torrents, 
Blue in her eyes the lightning shone Uke steel. 
White on her lips rage mingled with abhorrence ; 
Against a barrel's back leaned Barmaid Florence, 
Watching with grinding teeth and eyeballs rolling, 
Drunk Snouty who was belching forth "Tom Bowl- 
mg. 

There while the boozers rocked in song obscene, 

She stood like a tall statue marble-still, 
And first she moaned, " I am smirched, I am no 
more clean," 
And then she rasped, " By God, but I will kill 
That lousy stinkard, yes, by God I will." 
Fate flung the dice of Doom, her buckler buckled ; 
Life shrank, grew pale ; Death rubbed his chin and 
chuckled. 

So it draws on to closing-time ; men go 

By twos and threes ; Flo washes pots and glasses. 

Ranging them on the shelves in their degrees, 
Wipes the wet counter dry, turns down the 

gasses ; 
And, locking up the doors, the portal passes. 

Grasping with fervour of a frenzied bigot 

Inside her muff^ a mallet and a spigot. 



42 



HOW THEY DO IT 

There Snouty was, fumbling his way along 

Towards the bridge, blind-tight, alone and grunt- 
ing, 
And as he lurched he sang a maudlin song, 
A foolish song beginning, " Baby Bunting, 
For rabbit-skins your father's gone a-hunting," 
And as Flo heard the melody undroughty. 
She whispered, " Cripes, Fll bunt you, Mr. 
Snotity ! " 

So they went on, he foremost, she behind. 
Until they got to the Embankment wall ; 

He leant against it ; swifter than the wind 

She smashed her wedge into his head, and all 
His brains spattered the stones in pieces small. 

" My kiss," she hissed ; then with a sudden shiver 

Fled, tipping tools and Snouty in the river. 

And like a fleet slim panther she did fly 

Through the webbed streets of silent Pimlico, 

Faithful the white stars glimmered in the sky. 
Over the Lambeth bank the moon hung low, 
A great round golden moon as white as snow. 

Death cursed ; Life smiled and murmured, " She 
will live, 

The police will fail to track the fugitive." 

And the high stars looked down and saw her enter 
The doorway of her home in the dark street, 

Happy to think the cops would never scent her. 
Proud for the godlike swiftness of her feet. 
Cheek to her pillow cried she : " Yes, 'twas 
sweet." 

43 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

But God behind God's curtain cogitated 
About another end, and all things waited. 



II 

Six months rolled by ; Flo earned her wonted wages, 

The family consumed its usual food. 
Had nothing changed I'd not have penned these 
pages ; 

But evil generally brings forth good ; 

Briefly I'd have it to be understood 
One day a pavement-preacher's casual sentence 
Hurled Flo into abysses of repentance. 

So the sky fell ; there came a hand of fire 
That seared her soul with consciousness of sin, 

Her soul was all one yearning of desire 

For God ; she felt like jumping from her skin ; 
Like Hell in a through-draught she burnt within. 

" Mother," she said, " here is my this week's sub., 

I cannot go on working at the pub." 

The mother swooned ; the children joined in prayer 
That Flo should not decide in such a fast time ; 

But the fierce heavens cried beer was a snare 
And skittles was a most immoral pastime ; 
So that that evening for the very last time 

She washed the pots and locked the " Fountain " 
door. 

As she had done so many nights before. 

Next day she went out early without warning, 
Down the wan street ; and later in the day, 

44 



HOW THEY DO IT 

That is to say well on into the morning, 

She sent a District Messenger to say 

That she had definitely gone away 
To join the Battersea Salvation Army. 
" Swipe me," her mother moaned, " the gal's gone 
barmy." 

Barmy or not, she certainly had gone. 
In her low attic poor old mother wept, 

" She kep the home up, little Florence done, 
We was so happy in the home she kept ; 
*Twas mean of her to hook it while we slept ; 

I'll larn her yet to take me by surprise, 

I'll do her in, 'er eyes ! " 

But Flo was meanwhile getting fur and furder. 
Safe in the barracks in the Bilsey Road, 

Aching to make atonement for her murder, 
She said she wished to take up her abode 
There permanently ; stabbed by her inner goad. 

She very quickly rose to the direction 

Of her new comrades' Social Effort Section. 

She visited the mothers in the slums, 

And daily rescued suicidal wretches. 
She helped the young with their addition sums, 
And washed the infants' clothes and mended 

breeches ; 
And when she broke a plate or dropped some 
stitches, 
None ever heard a hasty word from Flo, 
The most she ever said was, " Here's a go ! ' 



45 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Work or no work, her heart was always merry, 
Heaven had washed her heart and cleansed her 
eyes, 

Adjutant Flo, the Barmaid Missionary, 
Was the adored of every sex and size, 
They said that she had strayed from Paradise, 

And every week her saintly reputation 
Led many sinning souls to seek salvation. 

Death laughed ; Life winced ; for in the neigh- 
bouring borough 
Old mother dwelt and bided her own hour, 

Whetting a carving-knife with motions thorough, 
Practising stabs of accuracy and power. 
The scythe must fall, and then must fall the flower, 

The day must die and then must sink the sun. 

And all things end that ever have begun. 



Ill 

All the crowds crowd in Battersea's Green Park ; 
The deer are fed, the ducks quack on the water ; 

On the trim paths the Sabbath-resting clerk 

Walks slowly with his wife and son and daughter. 
Or seeks the grass where orators breathe slaugh- 
ter. 

Some singing hymns to variegate their turns. 

Or waving flags with portraits of John Bums. 

Middle the plot there brays a brazen band. 

Peaked caps, red jerseys, other things of blue ; 
And when they cease behold a figure stand, 

46 



HOW THEY DO IT 

A bright-haired wench who wears <^hose garments 

too. 
She preaches truth as few but she can do 
Concerning drink and cigarettes and betting 
So that the mob must listen though they're sweat- 
ing. 

" S'welp me, it's hot." " Yes, s'welp me, so it is." 
" Ain't it a shame the pubs ain't open Sundays, 

Just as they be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Liz, 
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays, 
To close the up on just this one day's 

'Bout the worst thing the law has done." 

" Yus, so it is." " Gorblimey, wot a sun ! " 

iBut though the high sun spilled a raging heat, 
They could not go, they had to stay and hear. 

So tense her accents were, her voice so sweet. 
'* Crikey," says Bill, " she's a 'ard egg, no fear." 
Says Sam, " by Gosh, I'll drop the beer." 

" You won't." " I will." " You won't." " What 
will you bet ? " 

" A ... no, by gum, 'ere comes a Suffragette ! " 

It was a Suffragette with purple banner, 
Handbell and bag of many-coloured bills. 

At once in her inimitable manner 

She draws the crowd ; the space around her fills, 
While Flo's grows empty ; soon her pitch is still's 

The solitudes of the Antarctic Ocean, 

For even the band had shared the crowd's emotion. 



47 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Not a man trod her corner of the Park, 
A quarter-mile around the place was void, 

Only her voice to one lost mongrel's bark 

Rang on, and still, as vi^ith sound texts she toyed. 
She did not seem the slightest bit annoyed. 

But Life shrank low, and greedy Death did dance. 

For here at last had come old mother's chance ! 

Old mother had been hiding 'hind a tree, 
Old mother who had sworn the end of Flo, 

Weapon in hand she stole up stealthily 

Towards the daughter who had grieved her so. 
" Aha ! " she cried, " you little bitch, Ho, ho, 

I'll pay you out now for your vile desertion ..." 

In Flo's plain blouse she made a neat insertion ! 

Flo fell, she fell, did Barmaid Flo, she fell ; 
The carving-knife was sticking in her back, 

And as she fell she cried out, " Well, well, well, 
What is the motive of this base attack ? " 
But her old mother shrieked aloud, " Alack, 

This was my child, this was my little child, 

O, I must cover her with blossoms wild." 

So sought she underneath the elms and oaks. 
Garlic and dandeHons, peonies 

And cabbage-wort and sprole and old-man 's-mokes, 
And lillikens and dinks and bitter-ease. 
And mortmains that the hind in autumn sees 

In places where the mist lies on the hay 

And all the land is frozen with the May. 



48 



HOW THEY DO IT 

And wi.th her arms full, poor old mother staggered 
To her poor child there dead upon the grass, 

" My little Flo," she whimpered, " I'll be jaggered, 
I don't know how it ever come to pass, 
I don't know how I done it, little lass ; 

Whyever did I sharp that carvin' knife 

And let out all my lovely darHn's life ? 

" She wor a merry grig, wor little Flo, 
She kep the family goin' nicely, she did. 

There never was a wheeze she didn't know. 
She always pinched us anything we needed ; 
Gripes, but I cannot tell why I proceeded. 

Just 'cos she left the family to starve. 

My pretty Flo's sweet darlin' back to carve." 

And so she brought the flowers to her dead, 
And piled them on her feet and face and breast, 

Flo lay there still as down the blossoms shed, 
A heavenly angel lying down to rest, 
A downy bird at evening on its nest, 

A cloud, a moth, a wave, a steamer, or 

Almost any other metaphor. 

" Good-bye, my little Flo," said poor old mother 
" You had your faults, 1 willingly admit, 

Yet I am, taking one thing with another, 
Sorry for my rash act more than a bit, 
But still, I do not want to swing for it. 

Mum is the word, least said is soonest mended." 

So mother left the Park, and all was ended. 



49 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



II THE MERCIFUL WIDOW 

Inside a cottage by a common 

There lived an aged widow woman 

She had twelve children (quite a lot), 

And often wished that she had not. 

" S'welp me," she often sighed, "I'd rather 

You'd had a less prolific father ; 

Better than raise this surging mob 

That God had bowled me for a blob." 

Amongst her seven strapping sons 
There were some interesting ones. 
Even the baby James, for instance, 
Had killed a man without assistance ; 
And several more in divers ways 
Had striven to sing their Maker's praise. 
Henry, quite small, had tried to smother 
His somnolent recumbent mother ; 
Which failing, when she hollered fearful, 
He looked upon her quite untearful, 
With something of Don Juan's calm, 
Proceeding thus without a qualm : — 
" O mother in our hours of ease, 
As irritating as ten fleas. 
When pain and anguish wring the brow 
A fatuously lethargic sow. 
This time I haven't put you through it, 
But if you wait a day or two, it 
Will be quite clear I mean to do it." 
Whereat the mother murmured " Law ! 
I'll gi'e yer a wipe acrost the jaw ! " 

50 



HOW THEY DO IT 

Another son, Ezekiel, 

Was well upon the road to hell, 

Once every fortnight he betrayed 

An unsuspecting village maid. 

And now and then he went much furder 

By rounding off the job with murder. 

Sometimes they took him to the 'sizes, 

But there he told outrageous lieses, 

His loving family, unblushing. 

Always unanimously rushing 

To help him with false alibises. 

Richard was just another such, 

But William, Sam and John were much 

More evil and debauched than these. 

The account of their atrocities 

Might make a smelting furnace freeze. 

Without a scintilla of shame 

They bragged of things I cannot name. 

I represent them here by blanks. 

(Reader : " For this relief much thanks ! ") 

Hedda Lucrezia Esther Waters, 

The eldest of the widow's daughters. 

In early infancy absorbed 

A dreadful liking for the morbid. 

She much preferred the works of Ibsen 

To those of Mr, Dana Gibson, 

And when she went to bed at night 

She prayed by yellow candle-light : 

" Six angels for my bed. 

Three at foot and three at head, 

Beardsley, Strauss, Augustus John, 

51 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Bless the bed that I lie on. 
Nietzsche, Maeterlinck, Matisse, 
Fold my sleep in holy peace." 
The vices to which she inclined 
Were peccadilloes of the mind. 
Her sisters were much less refined. 
And often when they sallied out. 
With knife and pistol, kriss and knout, 
And other weapons of tfie sort 
Adapted to bucolic sport 
And rural raptures in the dark. 
They took occasion to remark : 

" Why, wot the 'ell's the use 

O' 'Edda, she ain't got no juice, 
She'll gas and jabber till all's blue 
She'll talk but she will never do. 
Upon my oath, it is fair sickenin'." 

And so at last they gave her strychnine, 
A thing efficient though not gory. 
And Hedda drops from out the story. 

Four daughters, seven sons were left, 
But still the v/idow felt bereft, 
She was distressed at Hedda's loss. 
And found it hard to bear her cross. 
She tried to find a salve for it 
By studying in Holy Writ. 
She read the exciting episode 
Of how good Moses made a road 
Across the rubicundish ocean, 
But could not stifle her emotion. 
She read of Jews and Jebusites, 

52 



HOW THEY DO IT 

And Hittites and Amakelites, 

And Joash, Job and Jeroboam, 

And Rachel, Ruth and Rehoboam, 

And Moloch, Moab and Megiddo, 

But still no respite had the widow. 

Nothing could charm her grief away, 

It grew more bitter every day. 

Often she'd sit when evening fell, 

And moan : " Ah, Lawkamussy, well, 

'Edda was better than the rest. 

My 'Edda alius was the best. 

Many's the time she's washed the crocks, 

And scrubbed the floors and darned the socks. 

When all them selfish gals an' blokes 

Was out, the selfish things they are, 

A-murderin' and a-rapin' folks, 

'Edda would stay 'ome with 'er ma. 

Yes, 'Edda was a lovely chile, 

I do remember 'er sweet smile, 

'Er little 'ands wot lammed and lugged me, 

An' scratched an' tore an' pinched an' tugged me. 

I mind me 'ow so long ago, 

I set 'er little cheeks aglow. 

When I 'ad bin to Ledbury fair 

An' bought a ribbon for 'er 'air, 

A ribbon for 'er pretty 'ead ; 

But now my little 'Edda's dead ! 

Now while spring pulses through the blood 

And jonquils carpet every wood, 

And God's small fowls sing in the dawn, 

I wish to Gawd I'd naver bin born ! " 



53 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

And so at last the widow thought 
Things were not going as they ought. 
She'd never grumbled in the past : 
She'd let them all do things at which 
Most parents would have stood aghast — 
She'd seen it all without a twitch. 
Indeed, religiously she'd tried 
To share the joy and fun they'd had ; 
But really, this sororicide 
Was coming it a bit too bad. 
She made her mind up : " It's high time 
They stopped their silly vice and crime ! " 

She mustered the domestic throng 
And gave it to them hot and strong. 

" Look here," she said, " this flux 

'Ad best come to a crux ! 

1 long regarded as diversions 

Your profligacies and perversions ; 

I helped you v/hile you swam in sin, 

And backed you up through thick and thin ; 

But now you've gone a step too far ; 

I mean to show you I'm your ma. 

Yes, it's you I'm talkin' to, Kate and John : 

You'll have to stop these goings-on. 

Murders must stop from this day on ! " 

Sons and daughters 3tood amazed, 
Bunkered, flummuxed, moonstruck, dazed, 
Grunted with appropriate swear, 
** What's come over the old mare ? " 
" Stop the murders, stop the drink, 
Stop the lechery ? I don't fink ! " 

54 



HOW THEY DO IT 

" If she's had enough of sin, 

I guess we'd better do 'er in ! " 

Thus said Henry, savagely 

Whetting his knife upon his knee. 

" No," said James, " go easy, brother ; 

After all, she is our mother. 

Just you wait for 'arf a mo' — 

Give me 'arf a mo' to show 

'Er the thing in a new light, 

And mother '11 come round all right ! " 

Love is and was our king and lord, 
The tongue is mightier than the sword, 
Words may shine at break of day 
Like a palace of Cathay, 
Words may shine when evening falls 
Like the sign of three brass balls. 
All the crowd cried, " Righto, Jim ! 
Jim's a plucked 'un, 'ark to 'im ! " 
Chewing half-a-pound of twist. 
Smiting the table with his fist, 
Jim went on : " Just 'ark to me, 
Mother, jest you 'ark to me," 
(He spat with vigour on his hands) 
" This is 'ow the matter stands. 

" I'll agree we've done enough 
Stabbin's, drunks and such-like stuff, 
We, unlike our fellow-men, 
Have fractured the commandments ten 
With others of our own invention 
That the scripture doesn't mention. 
We have done to heart's content, 

55 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



And speaking for myself, I've had 

Quite enough of being bad ; 

And to cut the matter short, 

Should find uprightness quite good sport. 

But, mother, mother, strike me bUnd, 

This must aye be borne in mind,- 

Mother, mother, strike me rotten, 

This must never be forgotten, 

We must not think of self alone. 

If no one's interests but our own 

Were here involved we'd all turn pi. 

And put our past transgressions by. 

We'd gladly cease our evil-doings. 

Promiscuous assaults and wooings, 

And end the too-familiar scenes 

Which you indignantly have eyed ; 

Only, alas, our hands are tied. 

Another factor intervenes. 

For there's a poet up in London 

Who, if we stop, will be quite undone. 

We do evil for his good. 

He inks his paper with our blood ; 

Every crime that we commit 

He makes a poem out of it, 

And were we so unkind 's to stop, he 

Would famish for congenial copy. 

My Hfe begins to give my guts hell. 

But there's the matter in a nutshell." 

" Ay, ay," said Dick, in accents cold, 
" Brother Jim the truth has told." 

56 



HOW THEY DO IT 

" Ay, ay," the girls said, " do not doubt it, 

That's the truth, that's all about it." 

" Well," said the mother, " I am human, 

Though only a poor widow woman. 

Jim's remarks have cleared my sight, 

I understand your motives quite, 

And when you shed pore 'Edda's blood 

Your purpose was distinctly good. 

I still must make it understood 

I do not like your goings-on, 

Espeshly yours, Bill, Sam and John. 

But contraventions of the laws 

Committed in such worthy cause, 

Habits, however atavistic 

Prompted by feelings altruistic, 

I can't view with disapprobation 

Entirely without qualification. 

Thought of your evil deeds must pain me, 

Thoughts of your motives must restrain me, 

I'm proud to find such virtue in you. 

As far as I'm concerned, continue." 



57 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



No. 5. MR. G. K. CHESTERTON 



When I leapt over Tower Bridge 

There were three that watched below, 

A bald man and a hairy man, 
And a man like Ikey Mo. 

When I leapt over London Bridge 

They quailed to see my tears, 
As terrible as a shaken sword 

And many shining spears. 

But when I leapt over Blackfriars 

The pigeons on St. Paul's 
Grew ghastly white as they saw the sight 

Like an awful sun that falls ; 

And all along from I -udgate 

To the wonder of Charing Cross, 

The devil flew through a host of hearts — 
A messenger of loss. 

With a rumour of ghostly things that pass 
With a thunderous pennon of pain, 

To a land where the sky is as red as the grass 
And the sun as green as the rain. 



58 



HOW THEY DO IT 



n 



It is a curious thing about most modern people — 
it is possible that the ancients sometimes exhibited 
the same trait — that they will insist on making con- 
fusions. Sometimes they even make confusions 
worse confounded, but that particular species of 
the genus need not now detain us. More curious still 
— as Alice should have said but did not — their 
habit is not to confuse similar things but dissimilar 
things. They do not confuse Miss Marie Corelli 
with Mr. Hall Caine ; they do not confuse six of 
one with half-a-dozen of the other ; they do not 
even commit the very pardonable error of failing to 
distinguish between Mr. Asquith and Mr. Balfour. 
The case, indeed, is quite the reverse. They have a 
strange and almost horrible, a magical and most 
tragical power of differentiating at a glance between 
things that to the otdinary human eye would seem 
to be identical in every feature. They can draw a 
confident line between the Hegelians and the Prag- 
matists (of whom I am not one) ; they can call the 
Primitive Methodists, the Swedenborgians and the 
Socialists by their names ; confront them with a 
flock of sheep and you will find them as expert ovine 
onomatologists as any wild and wonderful shepherd 
who ever brooded in the sunsets on the remote and 
inacessible hills of Dartmoor. But put before them 
two or three things that are really and fundament- 
ally different, and they will be almost pitifully at a 
loss to detect the slightest diversity . They will know 
one octopus from another, but they will not know 

59 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

either from a lobster. They will know the average 
Tory from the average Socialist, but they will not 
know one kind of Socialist from another kind of 
Socialist. 

This profound and far-reaching truth has fre- 
quently struck me ; and, as you doubtless know, I 
have as frequently expressed it. Our ancestors (who 
were much less foolish than some of their descend- 
ants) never hit the nail on the head with more stu- 
pendous and earth-shaking force than when they 
laid it down as a rigid and unquestionable axiom 
that the truth cannot be too often restated. It is that 
inexpugnable fact that plunges our modern pessi- 
mists into the nethermost abysses of suicidal 
despair ; it is that saline and saltating fact that 
raises in the breasts of our optimists a fierce and 
holy joy. The essence of a great truth is that it is 
stale. Sometimes it is merely musty, sometimes it 
is almost terribly mouldy. But mouldiness is not 
merely a sign of vitality — which is truncated im- 
mortality ; it is the sole and single, the one and only 
sign of vitality. Truth has gathered the wrinkles of 
age on her brows and the dust of ages on the skirts 
of her garment. A thing can no more be true and 
fresh than it can be new and mouldy. If a man told 
me he had discovered a new truth I should politely 
but firmly reprimand him precisely as I should a 
man who informed me, with however candid and 
engaging an air, that he had just seen moss growing 
on the back of a new-born child. 

Meditating thus, I was walking last Tuesday 
night down the splendid and awful solitudes of the 
Old Kent Road. Diabolic shapes grinned and moved 

60 



HOW THEY DO IT 

in the secret and sorrowful shadows of the shop 
doorways, and every looming warehouse seemed a 
monstrous sibyl writhing gnarled and boding fingers 
at the hurrying clouds. Suddenly as I turned a 
comer I saw, low in the sky where the houses were 
broken, a solitary star, a huge red star glowing and 
flickering with all the flames of hell, a star that in a 
more religious and less purblind age men would 
have whispered to be prophetic of awful and con- 
vulsive things. It held my feet as with gyves of iron. 
I gazed at its scarlet lamp, quaking and shivering 
like a man in a palsy. And then, full in my back, I 
felt a strange and horrible blow, and there rang in 
my ears a voice sepulchral and thunderously muffled 
as the voice of one come from the dead. 

There were words, human articulate words, and 
they were addressed to me. There is something 
peculiarly mystic and terrible about words that 
proceed from an unknown mouth through impene- 
trable darkness. It is that, I think, that must have 
been the first principle grasped by the hairy and 
horrible men of the primeval forests. They went to 
some cave for a refuge and found a religion. They 
went there for a gorge and found a god. They went 
there for a repast and found a ritual. They entered 
the cave expecting to have a snooze, and when they 
left it they found they had a sacerdotalism. As I 
heard the loathsome voice hailing me through the 
darkness as some evil minion of Beelzebub might 
hail a lost and errant soul through the pierceless 
and intangible grottoes of the outer void, it sud- 
denly, I say, flashed across my consciousness that the 
impalpable stranger was addressing me in articulate, 

6i 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

not to say terse, syllables of the English tongue. 
If there is one thing more than another that accounts 
for the widespread use of the English language it is 
its incomparable and almost murderous terseness. 
A man once told me that Bulgarian was still more 
terse ; another man (presuming, I fear, on an old 
friendship) assured me a few months later that 
Bantu was terser than either ; but as Bulgarian and 
Bantu are studies of my youth that I have long left 
behind me, I am afraid I am not quite competent 
to express a final opinion on the matter. Suffice it 
that you would no more attempt to increase the 
terseness of the English tongue than you would 
attempt to augment the flexibility of an elephant's 
trunk by the insertion of an arrangement, however 
delicate and dexterous, of cogwheels. 

His words were terse, but at first I did not alto- 
gether fathom their meaning. " How," I pondered, 
" surely there can be nothing sanguinary about me. 
I have not shaved myself for days, and I have not 
to my knowledge committed a murder for at least 
three weeks. And if there is anything markedly 
mural about my eyes I confess I was unaware of 
the fact. Indeed, it is not altogether plain to me how 
any eye can be mural. My friend, you must be mis- 
taken." 

Summoning up the courage that is often a strong 
characteristic of really brave men, I spoke to him. 
There was, in that dreadful and desolate place, 
under the fiery blaze of that lurid and lecherous 
planet, something hollow and awful even about the 
tones of my own voice. It echoed along the walls 
and wailed round the corners like the foggy clarion 

62 



HOW THEY DO IT 

of a marshland ghost. But my heart was set like 
steel, and unquailing I cried, " I think, my friend, 
you have made a mistake." 

And an error that was a type and a symbol be- 
came also a text. 



When I had spoken he fled. Which showed that 
he was neither a man nor a democrat, but a puny 
and pessimistic modern — in all probability a Nietz- 
schean. Under the sky, now cloudless and sprinkled 
with silver stars, I pursued my way, watching for 
the banners of the dawn, and listening for her trum- 
pets that knew the youth of the world. 



63 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



No. 6. NUMEROUS CELTS 

There's a grey wind wails on the clover, 
And grey hills, and mist around the hills, 

And a far voice sighing a song that is over, 
And my grey heart that a strange longing fills. 

A sheen of dead swords that shake upon the wind, 
And a harp that sleeps though the wind is blow- 
ing 
Over the hills and the seas and the great hills behind, 
The great hills of Kerry, where my heart would 
be going. 

For I would be in Kerry now where quiet is the 
grass, 

And the birds are crying in the low light. 
And over the stone hedges the shadows pass. 

And a fiddle weeps at the shadow of the night. 

With Pat Doogan 
Father Murphy 
Brown maidens 
King Cuchullain 
The Kine 
The Sheep 
Some old women 
Some old men 
And Uncle White Sea-gull and all. 

(Chorus) And Uncle White Sea-gull and all. 

64 



HOW THEY DO IT 



No. 7. THE PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN SECRET 
WHAT IN PUBLIC THEY ALLEGE TO BE 
FOLK-SONGS 

The night it was so cold, and the moon it was so 
clear, 

When I stood at the churchyard gate a-parting from 
my dear, 

A-parting from my dear, for to bid my dear good- 
bye ! 

And I parted from my dear when the moon was in 
th^ sky. 

" I never shall forget," said he, " wherever I may 

roam, 
The day that I parted from my own true love at 

home, 
My own true love at home that was always true to 

me, 
I never shall forget my love wherever I may be. 

" But I must off to Barbary for good King George 

to fight. 
And it's farewell to Bayswater and to the Isle of 

Wight, 
And it's farewell to my true love, it's farewell to you, 
It's farewell to my own dear love, so faithful and so 

true." 



65 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

He kissed me good-bye, and he gave me a ring, 
And he rode away to Lunnon for to fight for the 

King; 
Oh ! lonely am I now, and sair, sair cold my pillow, 
And I must bind my head with O the green willow. 

For last night there came a white angel to my bed. 
And he told to me that my own dear love was dead ; 
My own dear love is dead, and I am all alone 
(So it's surely rather obtuse of you to ask me why I 
moan). 



66 



HOW THEY DO IT 



No. 8. MR. H. G. WELLS 
I 

I do not quite know how to begin. . . . Ever 
since I left England and settled here in this quiet 
Putumayo valley I have been wondering and won- 
dering. ... I want to put everything down quite 
frankly so that you who come after me shall under- 
stand. It is very peaceful here in the forest, and as 
my mind goes back to that roaring old England, 
with its strange welter of aspirations and basenesses, 
that little old England, so far away now, a small 
green jewel in the great sea, I break into a smile of 
tender tolerance. Here, as the immemorial pro- 
cession of day and night, of summer and winter, 
sweeps over the earth, amid the vast serenities of 
primeval nature, it all seems so very far away, so 
small, so queerly inconsequent. . . .The men who 
made me, the men who broke me, the women I 
loved, the sprawling tow^ns, the confused effort, 
and that ungainly lop-sided structure of our twen- 
tieth-century civilization, with its strange welter 
of sex. . . . 

n 

And then it was that the Hon. Astarte Cholmond- 
eley came into my life. I remember as clearly as 
though it were yesterday — and it is now over thirty 
years ago— the moment of our meeting. It was at 
one of those enormous futile receptions that political 
hostesses give at the beginning of tlie Session, 

67 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

assemblies of two or three thousand men and women, 
minor pohticians, organizers, journalists, all clam- 
orous for champagne and burning for nods of 
recognition from the great men of the Party. It was 
a fine night, almost oppressively warm, and I had 
walked across the Park from Hill Street, carrying 
my opera-hat in my hand. There was a dull uniform 
roar from the distant traffic ; the tops of the trees 
faintly swished in the hght wind, the lights along 
the lake shone very quietly, and above were the vast 
serenities of the sky, powdered with stars. On benches 
in the shadows lurked pairs of quiet lovers, and the 
stars looked down upon them as they had upon 
lovers in Nineveh and Babylon. As I stepped out 
into the rush of Pall Mall, with its stream of swift 
motors, I thought, I remember, of my career, . . . 

Ill 

The crush was vulgar and intolerable. 

I had spent an hour passing dejected remarks to 
the other young men, also there out of duty and as 
bored as I was myself. Then suddenly she entered 
... a slender slip of a thing, brown-haired and 
brown-eyed, leaning flower-like on the arm of her 
elephantine mother, the Dowager. . . . 

IV 

" Dearest," she wrote me next day, " did you 
sleep last night ? I did not sleep a wink. All night 
long I lay dazzled and overwhelmed by this wonder- 
ful thing that has come to us. And then this morn- 
ing, when God's great dawn slowly lifted over the 

68 



HOW THEY DO IT 

westward hills, I got up, did my hair (oh my beau- 
tiful, beautiful hair, now all yours, my own Man, 
all yours), and sat down to write this, my first letter, 
to you, I am sitting at the little window of my room 
in the Lion Tower. The breath of the roses rises in 
the fresh morning air ; and out beyond the park, 
where the deer are placidly grazing, the slanting 
sun glints exquisitely on spacious woodland and 
rolling down, mile after mile. . . . Far away, 
against the blue of the horizon, there is a little point- 
ing church spire, and somehow it reminds me of 
you. . . . Oh, my lover, I am going to lay bare to 
you the inmost shrine of my heart. You must be 
patient with me, very patient ; for do we not belong 
to each other ? We must live openly we tw-o, we who 
are the apostles of new freedoms, of new realizations, 
of a second birth for this dear, fooHsh old world of 
ours." Thus she wrote, and there was more, much 
more, too sacredly intimate to be set down here, 
but breathing in every line the essence of her ador- 
able self. . . . 

V 
And then it was that Mary Browne came into my 
life. I had known her years ago when I was at 
college ; I had thought her a meek and rather dull 
little girl, as insignificant as the rest of her family. 
But now there was about her a certain quaUty of 
graciousness, very difficult to define, but very un- 
escapable when it is present, that gave to her mouse- 
grey hair and rather weak blue eyes a beauty very 
rare and very subtle. She had spent, she told me, 
tu'o years in the East End at some social work or 
other. . . . 

69 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
VI 

And then I met Cecilia Scroop. . . . 

VII 

And so the end came. In those last days I worked 
more feverishly than ever, writing my book, attend- 
ing committees, speaking on platforms throughout 
the country. I was the chief speaker during that by- 
election of Brooks's at Manchester, which I still 
believe might have been the germ of a new social 
order, of coherences and approximations, of differ- 
entiations and realizations beyond the imagining 
of the men of our time, but to be very clearly and 
very palpably apprehended by that future race for 
whom we, in a blind and groping way, are living 
and building. . . .And then the blow fell. . . . 

It was a Friday afternoon. The House had risen 
early after throwing out some absurd Bill that that 
ass Biffin had brought in ; I think it was something 
about Bee Disease. I had been one of the tellers for 
the Noes, and at three o'clock I walked out into 
Palace Yard and along the chalky stone cloister that 
leads to the private tunnel through which members 
enter the Underground Railway station. I had 
promised to meet Astarte at four at the foot of the 
Scenic Railway (this was before the time when little 
Higgins revolutionized the amusement business 
with his actino-gyroscopes) in the Earl's Court 
Exhibition. Since her marriage with Binger com- 
munication had been increasingly difficult for us. 
All her letters were opened, and Binger had eaves- 
droppers at work in the telephone exchanges. Her 

70 



HOW THEY DO IT 

chauffeur, happily, played his master false, and she 
was usually able to keep appointments when she 
had made them ; and for some months we had 
arranged our meetings by little cryptic notices in 
the agony column of the Morning Post. We had 
thought ourselves safe. But she must have dropped 
a casual word to somebody ; some fool had given 
us away ; and when I got to Earl's Court I found 
that Astarte was there, but that Mary and Cecilia 
were there as well. . . . 

vni 

I remonstrated with them. I knew it was hope- 
less, and my heart sank ; but I did my best. Greatest 
agony of all it was to know that these women in 
whom I had trusted, whom I had looked to as pion- 
eers, as auguries of what was to be and what still 
will be, were, when the crisis came, still shackled 
and bound by the little petty jealousies of the old 
system. With set, white faces they glowered upon 
me (it was raining a little, I remember, and the 
ground at our feet was muddy and covered with 
stained and trampled paper) as I spoke, softly and 
passionately, of muddle and waste, of the sordid 
and furtive shames and reticences that man has 
brought with him from the ancestral past, that he 
must shed before we build for our gods the diviner 
temples that might be. . . Night came over. . . . 
and then, as my voice failed, a tall man stepped out 
from behind a hoarding. It was Montacute, the 
Prime Minister. " I am very sorry for you," he said 
simply, " but I am afraid, Mr. Bilgewater, we shall 
have to ask you to resign." He seemed to hesitate a 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

moment ; then, as though half ashamed, he held 
out his hand and looked me in the eyes. . . I had 
known him since I was a boy at school and he a 
young man, a fastidious and kindly young man who 
had seemed almost too delicate for the rough work 
of politics. He had always taken a friendly interest 
in me even when I was bitterly fighting him. . . 
" Good-bye," he said. My voice was husky as I 
returned his farewell. 

IX 

I went back to my chambers and told my man to 
pack a single portmanteau. There were just three 
hours before the boat-train. Before I left I wrote ten 
letters. . . . 



72 



Ill 

HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 



No. I. IF WORDSWORTH HAD WRITTEN 
" THE EVERLASTING MERCY " 

Ever since boyhood it has been my joy 

To rove the hills and vales, the woods and streams, 

To commune with the flowers, the beasts, the birds, 

And all the humble messengers of God. 

And so not seldom liave my footsteps strayed 

To that bare farm where Thomas Haythornthwaite 

(Alas ! 'tis now ten years the good old man 

Is dead !) wrung turnips from the barren soil, 

To keep himself and his good wife, Maria, 

Whom I remember well, although 'tis now 

Full twenty years since she deceased ; and I 

Have often visited her quiet grave 

In summer and in winter, that I might 

Place some few flowers upon it, and returned 

In solemn meditation from the spot, 

In the employment of this honest man 

There was a hind, Saul Kane, I knew him well, 

And oft-times 'twas my fortune to lament 

The blackness of the youth's depravity. 

For when I came to visit Haythornthwaite 

The good old man, leaning upon this spade, 

Would say to me, " Saul Kane is wicked, sir ; 

A wicked lad. Before he cut his teeth 

He broke his poor old mother's heart in two. 

For at the beer-house he is often seen 

With ill companions, and at dead of night 

We hear him loud blaspheming at the owls 

That fly about the house. I oft have blushed 

75 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

At deeds of his I could not speak about." 

But yet so wondrous is the heart of man 

That even Saul Kane repented of his sins — 

A little maid, a little Quaker maid, 

Converted him one day. " Saul Kane," she said, 

" Dear Saul, I pray you will get drunk no more." 

Nor did he ; but embraced a sober life, 

And married Mary Thorpe ; and yesterday 

I met him on my walk, and with him went 

Up to the house where he and his do dwell. 

And there I long in serious converse stayed. 

Speaking of Nature and of politics, 

And then turned homeward meditating much 

About the single transferable vote. 



76 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 



No. 2. IF SWINBURNE HAD WRITTEN 
" THE LAY OF HORATIUS " 

N.B. — Read this aloud^ with resonance, nor examine 
too closely the meaning. 

May the sword burn bright, may the old sword 
smite, that a myriad years have worn and rusted? 
May an old wind blow where the young winds go 
immaculate over the eager land ? 
May faded blossoms on ripening bosoms flame with 
lust as of old they lusted, 
Or the might of a night take flight with the white 
sweet arms of a dead Dionysian band ? 
Ah, nay ! for the rods of the high pale gods the power 
of the past have spilled and broken 
And over the fields the amaranth yields her guer- 
don of gossamer, bitter as rue. 
And the desolate blind sad ghost of the wind falters 
and fails as a word that was spoken 
Long since of a fire and a blazing pyre of per- 
jured monarchs and kings untrue.* 

The sword may smite and the keen sword bite 
though the clouds in the sky be clouds of peril, 
Though the Teuton glance at the flanks of France 
and the hand of Fate be a hand unseen, 

For the brave man'sf arm was swift to charm and 
the coward's arm was weak and sterile 

* Possible mention of Tarquin. 
t Conceivably Horatius. 

77 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Or ever the Saxon galleons swam to England* 

over the waters green 
And over the high Thessalian hills the feet of the 

maidens fail and falter, 
Samian waters and Lemnian valleys, Ithacan 

rivers and Lesbian seas, 
And the god returning with frenzy burning foams 

at the foot of a roseless altar. 
And dumb with the kiss of Artemis and the berries 

of death the virgin flees. 

With persistence and luck the reader, after eighty verses 
or so, would have come to something as specific as 
this : 

For the triumph of the trampling of the nations 

And the laughter of the loud Etrurianf gates 
And the thunder of a host of desolations 

And the lightning of an avalanche of hates 
Never daunted thee or made thy cheek the paler 

On the bridge which thou didst hold as held the 
fleet 
Drake, our own superb Elizabethan sailor, 

Yea, and drove the bloody tyrant from his seat. 



Our mother, inviolate ever since, save for one only occasion. 
t Lars Porsena in poet's mind. 

78 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

. 3. IF MR. MASEFIELD HAD WRITTEN 
" CASABIANCA " 

" You dirty hog," " You snouty snipe," 
" You lump of muck," " You bag of tripe," 
Such, as their latest breaths they drew, 
The objurgations of ♦'he crew. 

they roared 

As they went tumbUng overboard, 
Or frizzled like so many suppers 
All along the halyard scuppers. 

" You " . . . the last was gone. 

And Cassy yelled there all alone. 

(He thought the old man was on the ship.) 

" Father ! this gives me the fair pip ! " 

" My God, you old vagabond," he cried, 
" If only I ..." No voice replied ; 
Only the tall flames higher sprang, 
Amid the spars, and soared and sang. 
Only along the rigging came 
God's great unfolding flower of flame, 
And Love's divine dim planet shed 
Her radiance on the many dead ; 
And past the battUng fleets the sea 
Stretched to the world's edge tranquilly, 
Breathing with slow, contented breath 
As though it were in love with Death, 
As it has breathed since first began 
Man's inhumanity to man, 



79 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

As it will do when like a scroll 
All the heavens together roll. 
There's that purple passage done 
And I have one less lap to run. 

Dogs barked, owls hooted, cockerels crew, 

As in my works they often do 

When, flagging with my main design, 

I pad with a descriptive line. 

Young Cassy cried again : " Oh, damn ! 

What an unhappy put I am ! 

Will nobody go out and search 

For dad, who's left me in the lurch ? 

For dad, who's left me on the poop, 

For dad, who's left me in the soup, 

For dad, who's left me on the deck. 

Perhaps it's what I should expeck 

Considerin' 'ow he treated me 

Before I came away to sea. 

" Often at home he used to beat 
My head for talking in the street. 
Often for things I didden do, 
He brushed my breeches with a shoe. 
O ! but I wish that I was home now, 
Treading the soft old Breton loam now 
In that old Breton country where 
Mellows the golden autumn air, 
And all the tender champaign fills 
With hyacinths and daffodils, 
And on God's azure uplands now 
They plough the ploughed fields with a plough, 
And earth-worms feel avers? from laughter. 
80 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

With hungry white birds following after. 
And maids at evening walk with men 
Through the meadows and up the glen 
To hear the old sweet tale again." 
The deck was getting hot and hotter, 

" Father ! " he screamed, " you rotter 1 " 

The deck was getting red and redder, 

And now he thought he'd take a header, 

Now he advanced and now he funked it . . . 

It had been better had he bunked it, 

For as he wavered thus, and swore. 

There came a slow tremendous roar. 

Lord Nelson suddenly woke up. 

" Where is Old Cassy and his pup ? 

' Don't know,' you say ? Why, strike me blind, 

I s'pose I'd better ask the wind." 

He asked the wind ; the brooding sky 

At once gave back the wind's reply : 

" Wotto, Nelson ! " 

" Wotto, sonny ? " 
" Do you think you're being funny ? 
Can't you look around, confound you. 
At all these fragments that surround you, 
Thick as thieves upon the sea. 
Instead of coming bothering me ? " 

Or, alternatively, if you prefer his other method, it 
would run like this : 
And the flames rose, and leaping flames of fire 
Leapt round the masts and made the spars a 
crown, 
A golden crown, as ravenous as desire. 



8i 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

" Father ! " he cried, " my feet are getting 

brown." 
" Father ! " he cried. The quiet stars looked 

down, 
The flames rose up like flowers overhead. 
He was alone and all the crew were dead. 



82 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 



No. 4. IF ALMOST ANY ELIZABETHAN 

HAD WRITTEN " SHE DWELT AMONG 

THE UNTRODDEN WAYS " 

Ask me not for the semblance of my loue. 

Amidst the fountains of the christal Doue 

Like to that fayre Aurora did she runne, 

Who treads the beams of the sweete morning sunne. 

Forth from her head her hayres Uke golden wyre 

Did spring ; her amorous eyes were lamps of fire, 

Bright as that torch their heauenly raies did mount 

Wherewith fayre Hero lit the Hellespont, 

Or as that flame which on the desert lies 

When new-borne Phenix soareth to the skies. 

Like wanton darts her eye-beames she did throw 

From out her noble forehead's iuorie bow 

Whose Beauties great perfection would withstand 

The skill of the most cunning painter's hand. 

Her virgin nose like Dian's self did raigne 

Amidst her vermeil cheekes' ambrosiall plaine ; 

Her busie lips twinne Rubies did appeare 

From which her Voyce did come as Diamonds 

cleare ; 
Venus' owne sonne would sigh to look beneath 
At the straight pearlie pleasaunce of her teethe. 
Like to fayre starres, or rather, like the sunne 
Was her smooth Marble chinne's pavilion, 
Wherefrom her slender necke the eye did lead 



83 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

To shoulders like twinne Lilies on a mead, 

Whiter than Ledae's f ethers or white milke, 

As sweete as nectar and as softe as silke. 

O, and her tender brests, they were as white 

As snowie hills which Phebus' beames doe smite 

Engirt with azure and with Saphire veines. . . . 

{Cetera desunt) 



84 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 



No. 5. IF POPE HAD WRITTEN " BREAK, 
BREAK, BREAK " 

Fly, Muse, tby wonted themes, nor longer seek 
The consolations of a powder'd cheek ; 
Forsake the busy purlieus of the Court 
For calmer meads where finny tribes resort. 
So may th' Almighty's natural antidote 
Abate the worldly tenour of thy note, 
The various beauties of the liquid main 
Refine thy reed and elevate thy strain. 

See how the labour of the urgent oar 

Propels the barks and draws them to the shore. 

Hark ! from the margin of the azure bay 

The joyful cries of infants at their play. 

(The offspring of a piscatorial swain, 

His home the sands, his pasturage the main.) 

Yet none of these may soothe the mourning heart, 

Nor fond alleviation's sweets impart ; 

Nor may the pow'rs of infants that rejoice 

Restore the accents of a former voice. 

Nor the bright smiles of ocean's nymphs command 

The pleasing contact of a vanished hand. 

So let me still in meditation move, 

Muse in the vale and ponder in the grove, 

And scan the skies where sinking Phoebus glows 

With hues more rubicund than Gibber's nose. . . , 

{After which the poet gets into his proper stride). 
85 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



No. 6. IF GRAY HAD HAD TO WRITE HIS 

ELEGY LN THE CEMETERY OF SPOON 

RIVER INSTEAD OF IN THAT OF 

STOKE POGES 

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, 
The whippoorwill salutes the rising moon, 

And wanly glimmer in her gentle ray, 
The sinuous windings of the turbid Spoon. 

Here where the flattering and mendacious swarm 

Of lying epitaphs their secrets keep, 
At last incapable of further harm 

The lewd forefathers of the village sleep. 

The earliest drug of half- awakened morn, 
Cocaine or hashish, strychnine; poppy-seeds 

Or fiery produce of fermented com 

No more shall start them on the day's misdeeds. 

For them no more the whetstone's cheerful noise, 
No more the sun upon his daily course 

Shall watch them savouring the genial joys, 
Of murder, bigamy, arson and divorce. 

Here they all lie ; and, as the hour is late, 
O stranger, o'er their tombstones cease to stoop. 

But bow thine ear to me and contemplate 
The unexpurgated annals of the group. 



86 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

There are two hundred only : yet of these 
Some thirty died of drowning in the river, 

Sixteen went mad, ten others had D. T's. 
And twenty-eight cirrhosis of the liver. 

Several by absent-minded friends were shot, 
Still more blew out their own exhausted brains, 

One died of a mysterious inward rot, 

Three fell off roofs, and five were hit by trains. 

One was harpooned, one gored by a bull-moose, 
Four on the Fourth fell victims to lock-jaw. 

Ten in electric chair or hempen noose 
Suffered the last exaction of the law. 

Stranger, you quail, and seem inclined to/un ; 

But, timid stranger, do not be unnerved ; 
I can assure you that there was not one 

Who got a tithe of what he had deserved. 

Full many a vice is born to thrive unseen, 

Full many a crime the world does not discuss, 

Full many a pervert lives to reach a green 
Replete old age, and so it was with us. 

Here lies a parson who would often make 
Clandestine rendezvous with Claflin's Moll, 

And 'neath the druggist's counter creep to take 
A sip of surreptitious alcohol. 



87 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
And here a doctor, who had seven wives, 

And, fearing this mdnage might seem grotesque, 
Persuaded six of them to spend their Uves 

Locked in a drawer of his private desk. 

And others here there sleep who, given scope, 
Had writ their names large on the Scrolls of Crime, 

Men who, with half a chance, might haply cope. 
With the first miscreants of recorded time. 

Doubtless in this neglected spot is laid 

Some village Nero who has missed his due, 

Some Bluebeard who dissected many a maid, 
And all for naught, since no one ever knew. 

Some poor bucolic Borgia here may rest 
Whose poisons sent whole families to their doom, 

Some hayseed Herod who, within his breast. 
Concealed the sites of many an infant's tomb. 

Types that the Muse of Masefield might have stirred, 

Or waked to ecstasy Gaboriau, 
Each in his narrow cell at last interred, 

All, all are sleeping peacefully below. 



Enough, enough ! But, stranger, ere we part. 

Glancing farewell to each nefarious bier. 
This warning I would beg you take to heart, 

" There is an end to even the worst career !." 



88 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

No. 7. IF A VERY NEW POET HAD WRITTEN 
" THE LOTUS-EATERS " 

I 

Ah! 

Ough ! 

Umph ! 

It was a sweat ! 

Thank God, that's over ! 

No more navigating for me. 

I am on to 

Something 

Softer. . . . 

Conductor, 

Give us a tune 

II 

Work! 

Did I used to work ? 

I seem to remember it 

Out there. 

Millions of fools are still at 

It, 

Jumping about 

All over the place. . . . 

And what's the good of it all ? . . . 

Buzz, 

Hustle, 

Pop, 

And then . . . 

Dump 

In the grave. 

89 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

III 

Bring me six cushions 

A yellow one, a green one, a purple one, an orange 
one, an ultramarine one, and a vermilion one, 
Colours of which the combination 
Pleases my eye. 
Bring me 
Also 

Six lemon squashes 
And 
A straw. . . . 

IV 

I have taken off my coat. 
I shall now 
Loosen 
My braces. 



Now I am 
All right . . . 
My God. . . . 
I do feel lazy ! 



90 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 



No. 8. IF HENRY JAMES HAD WRITTEN 
THE CHURCH CATECHISM 

Q. What is your name ? 

A. It may possibly be conceived as standing in a 
relation of contiguity to a certain — shall we say ? 
— somewhat complicatedly rectilinear design — to 
put it colloquially, a symbol — employed by such of 
the races of mankind as follow the Roman usage to 
denote a sort of suppressed explosion, or rather, a 
confused hum " produced " when the upper and 
the nether lip are brought with some firmness — or 
even, as one might phrase it, " snap " — together, 
and a continuous sound is compelled for egress to 
flow through a less harmonious though undeniably 
more prominent organ. Or, on the other hand, its 
relation to that so interesting figure may be some- 
thing even closer than one of mere contiguity, how- 
ever proximate, something in the nature of coin- 
cidence, of body and soul identity even : in a word, 
it may be, or, more exactly, may be represented oy, 
that symbol itself. 

Q. Who gave you that name ? 

A. Which ? 

Q. Oh, no, not the other one, the quite inevitably 
discursive family " label." 

A. You mean my . . . 

Q. Well yes, not that all so shared, and as it were 
almost — if one may forgivably say it — may one ? — 
" vulgarized " — your, as they call it, " surname." 

A. Oh, not that one ? 

91 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Q. No . . . 

A. The other ? 

Q. Yes — that other — that more exquisitely per- 
sonal, the more (dare one ?) appropriated, the one 
of which, I had thought, we touched, even grasped, 
the skirts when our interlocution, or to put it quite 
brutally, when we began our conversation. 

A. You refer . . . 

Q. I am, dear lady, all ears. 

A. To, in 'fact, my — since we are both to be so 
frank — Christian name ? 

Q. Oh, but you are great ! 

A. Not great, not, I mean, really, in the sense 
that you mean. . . . 

Q. / mean } 

A. The other sense, you know. 

Q. Yes, I apprehend you, but it wasn't that one 
I meant. 

A. Then what in the world was it ? 

Q. Take it from another point of view, wasn't 
frankness to be, always, our splendid object ? 

A. Explicitly. 

Q. Wasn't it ? 

A. Oh no, I wouldn't doubt it ; I wouldn't, really 
wouldn't, let you down. 

Q. Not even gently ? 

A. The other way, I meant. 

Q. Divine clarity ! And who gave it you ? 

A. The Deluge ! 

Q. He was it, or she ? 

A. Oh, never he, as he would himself say, never 
on your life. 



92 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

Q. And she ? 

A. She would, as she always will, bet her boots 
not ! 

Q. Not, surely it wasn't, they ? 

A. They ! 

Q. They ! 

A. Oh, certainly they ! Who could have stopped 
them. Not miserable I, so pitifully, so hopelessly, so 
microscopically, futilely small ! They were all there, 
and there was I. And they did it, oh, quite finally 
did it. 

Q. Who } 

(Etc.) 



93 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



No. 9. IF LORD BYRON HAD WRITTEN 
" THE PASSING OF ARTHUR " 

So all day long the noise of battle rolled 
Among the mountains by the western sea, 

Till, when the bell for evening service tolled, 
Each side had swiped the other utterly ; 

And, looking round, Sir Bedivere the bold 

Said, " Sire, there's no one left but you and me ; 

I'm game to lay a million to a fiver 

That, save for us, there is not one survivor." 

" Quite likely," answered Arthur, " and I'm sure 
That I have been so hammered by these swine 

To-morrow's sun will find us yet one fewer. 
I prithee take me to yon lonely shrine 

Where I may rest and die. There is no cure 

For men with sixty-seven wounds like mine." 

So Bedivere did very firmly grapple 

His arm, and led him to the Baptist Chapel. 

There he lay down, and by him burned like flame 

His sword Excalibur : its massy hilt 
Crusted with blazing gems that never came 

From mortal mines ; its blade, inlaid and gilt 
And graved with many a necromantic name, 

Still dabbled with the blood the king had spilt. 
Which touching, Arthur said, " Sir Bedivere, 
Please take this brand and throw him in the mere." 



94 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

Bold Bedivere sprang back like one distraught, 
Or like a snail when tapped upon the shell, 

Was this the peerless prince for whom he'd fought, 
A man who'd drop his cheque-book down a well ? 

Surely he must have dreamt the words, he thought. 
Had the king spoken ? Was it possible 

To give so lunatic a proposal credit ? . . . 

And yet the king undoubtedly had said it. 

He said it again in accents full serene : 

" Go to the lake and throw this weapon in it, 

And then come back and tell me what you've seen. 
The business should not take you half a minute. 

Off now. I say precisely what I mean." 

" Right, sire ! " But, sotto voce, " What a sin it 

Would be, what criminal improvidence 

To waste an arme blanche of such excellence ! " 

But Arthur's voice broke through his meditation, 
" Why this delay ? I thought I said * at once ' ?" 

" Yes, sire," said he, and, with a salutation 

Walked off reflecting, " How this fighting blunts 

One's wits. In any other situation 

I should have guessed — 'twere obvious to a dunce 

That this all comes from Merlin's precious offices, 

Why could he not confine himself to prophecies ? " 

Bearing the brand, across the rocks he went 
And now and then a hot impatient word 

Witnessed the stress of inner argument. 

" Curse it," he mused, " a really sumptuous 
sword 



95 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Is just the very one accoutrement 

I never have been able to afford ; 
This beautiful, this incomparable Excalibur 
Would nicely suit a warrior of my calibre. 

" Could anything be madder than to hurl in 
This stupid lake a sword as good as new, 

Merely because that hoary humbug Merlin 
Suggested that would be the thing to do ? 

A bigger liar never came from Berlin, 

I won^t be baulked by guff and bugaboo ; 

The old impostor's lake may call in vain for it 

I'll stick it in a hole and come again for it." 

So, having safely stowed away the sword 
And marked the place with several large stones 

Sir Bedivere returned to his liege lord 
And, with a studious frankness in his tones, 

Stated that he had dropped it overboard ; 
But Arthur only greeted him with groans : 

" My Bedivere," he said, " I may be dying. 

But even dead I'd spot such barefaced lying. 

" It's rather rough upon a dying man 

That his last dying orders should be flouted. 

Time was when if you'd thus deranged my plan 
I should have said, ' Regard yourself as outed, 

I'll find some other gentleman who can.' 

Now I must take what comes, that's all about it . . . 

My strength is failing fast, it's very cold here. 

Come, pull yourself together, be a soldier. 



96 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

" Once more I must insist you are to lift 

Excalibur and hurl him in the mere. 
Don't hang about now. You had better shift 

For all you're worth, or when you come back here 
The chances are you'll find your master stiffed." 

Whereat the agonized Sir Bedivere, 
His " Yes, Sire," broken by a noisy sob, 
Went off once more on his distasteful job. 

But as he walked the inner voice did say : 
" I quite agree witn ' Render unto Caesar,' 

But nothing's said of throwing things away 
When a man's king's an old delirious geezer, 

You don't meet swords like this one every day. 
Jewels and filigree as fine as these are 

Should surely be preserved in a museum 

That our posterity may come and see 'em. 

" A work of Art's a thing one holds in trust, 
One has no right to throw it in a lake. 

Such Vandalism would arouse disgust 
In every Englishman who claims to take 

An interest in Art. Oh, no, I must 

Delude my monarch for my country's sake ; 

Obedience in such a case, in fact, 

Were patently an anti-social act. 

" It is not pleasant to deceive my king, 
I had much rather humour his caprice. 

But, if I tell him I have thrown the thing. 

And, thinking that the truth, he dies in peace. 

Surely the poets of our race will sing 

(Unless they are the most pedantic geese) 

97 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

The praises of the knight who lied to save 
This precious weapon from a watery grave." 

He reached the margin of the lake and there 

Until a decent interval had passed 
Lingered, the sword once more safe in its lair. 

Then to his anxious monarch hurried fast. 
And, putting on a still more candid air, 

Assured the king the brand had gone at last. 
But Arthur, not deceived by any means, 
Icily said : " Tell that to the marines. 

" Sir Bedivere, this conduct won't enhance 

Your reputation as a man of honour. 
If you had dared to lead me such a dance 

A week ago you would have been a goner. 
Listen to me ! I give you one more chance ; 

And, if you fail again, I swear upon our 
Old oath of fealty to the Table Round 
I shall jump up and fell you to the ground." 

So that sad soul went off alone once more. 

Rebellion frowned no longer on his face ; 
His spirit was broken ; when he reached the shore 

He wormed the sword out of its hiding-place, 
Excalibur, that man's eye should see no more, 

And, fearing still a further lapse from grace. 
Shut his eyes tight against that matchless jewel 
And, desperately hissing, " This is cruel," 

Swung it far back ; and then, with mighty sweep. 
Hove it to southward as he had been bade. 

And, as it fell, an arm did suddenly leap 
Out of the moonlit wave, in samite clad, 
98 



HOW THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT 

And grasped the sword and drew it to the deep. 

And all was still ; and Bedivere, who had 
No nerve at all left now, exclaimed, " My Hat ! 
I'll never want another job like that ! " 

Thus Bedivere at last performed his vow. 

And Arthur, when the warrior bore in sight, 
Read his success upon his gloomy brow. 
" Done it at last," he murmured, " that's all right. 
Well, Bedivere, and what has happened now ? " 

Demanded he ; and the disconsolate knight 
In a harsh bitter voice replied, " Oh, damn it all, 
I saw a mystic arm, clothed in white samite all." 

" Quite right," said Arthur, " better late than never; 

Now, if you please, you'll take me for a ride, 
Put me upon your back and then endeavour 

To run top-speed unto the waterside. 
Come, stir your stumps, you must be pretty clever, 

Or otherwise I fear I shall have died 
Before you've landed me upon the jetty, 
And then the programme's spoilt : which were a 
pity." 

What followed after this (although my trade is 

Romantic verse) is quite beyond my lay. 
For automobile barges, full of ladies 

Singing and weeping, never came my way. 
Though, for that matter, I was once in Cadiz — 

But never mind. It will suffice to say 
That in his final act our old friend Malory 

Was obviously playing to the gallery. 



99 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

No. lo. IF SIR RABINDRANATH TAGORE 

HAD WRITTEN " LITTLE DROPS OF 

WATER " 

Child, I am wondering. 

Last night I was watching the silver moon rising 
over the sea, 

And in her light the colour of the sea was pale, and 
the colour of the grasses was dark and sweet as 
the champak. 

I heard the ducks crying over the waters by the shore. 

I heard from the khitmatgar, threading Uke pearls 
on the darkness, the soft notes of the cummer- 
bund. 

Child, I am wondering. 

Child, I smelt the flowers. 

The golden flowers . . . hiding in crowds like 

fairies at my feet, 
And as I smelt them the endless smile of the infinite 

broke over me, and I knew that they and you 

and I were one. 

They and you and I, the cowherds and the cows, 

the jewels and the potter's wheel, the mothers 

and the light in baby's eyes. 
For the sempstress when she takes one stitch may 

make nine unnecessary ; 
And the smooth and shining stone that rolls and 

rolls like the great river may gain no moss, 
And it is extraordinary what a lot you can do with a 

platitude when you dress it up in Blank Prose. 
Child, I smelt the flowers. 

ICO 



IV 
IMAGINARY REVIEWS 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 



" Prolegomena for a System of Intuitive Reason- 
ing." By F. W. Wiertz. Translated from the third 
German edition by Julia Elson. (The Channer-Wehh 
Co., New York). 

It speaks ill for the enterprise of our publishing 
firms that it should have been left to an American 
firm to bring out the first English translation of 
Friedrich Wiertz's magnum opus. It was as long ago 
as 1894 that the late David Andrews — a man who, 
owing possibly to his lack of an academic connect- 
ion, never won the philosophic reputation that was 
his due — first drew the attention of English students 
to Wiertz by his excellent rendering of the " Torso 
of Apollo." Since then the remainder of Wiertz's 
Esthetic has also been translated, although remark- 
ably badly. But the theory of aesthetics was to him 
little more than a side show. He threw great Ught 
on some most obscure problems. Unlike many phil- 
osophers who have written on the subject, he had 
some appreciation of beauty ; and there are passages 
in the " Torso " which, from the general reader's 
point of view, are as amusing, as well- written and 
at least as sane as the best critical and polemic pass- 
ages of Nietzsche in his anti- Wagner period. Never- 
theless, Wiertz himself attached small importance 
to these works, and his chief interest lay elsewhere. 
He believed, and he believed rightly, that there was 
more permanent value in the " Prolegomena " 
103 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

than in all his other writings put together ; and it 
seems preposterous that we should have had to wait 
until he has been in the grave ten years, before getting 
an English version of a book which will continue 
to mould European thought when most of his con- 
temporaries are forgotten. It is characteristic of 
this country. Wiertz is ignored and they bombard 
us with Eucken. 

The first sentence of the book is an earnest of 
what follows. " When doctors disagree," says 
Wiertz, " honest men come by their own " ; com- 
bining two proverbs which exist both in German 
and in English. There follows a rapid but most 
brilliant sketch of the history of philosophy from 
Herachtus and Pythagoras to Hoffding, Herbert 
Spencer and T. H. Green, in whom he seems to 
have taken a special delight. Briefly analysing their 
systems, or the systems that have been foisted on 
them by their followers, he shows that almost all of 
them have been subject to primary delusions that 
have vitiated the whole of their work. They have 
made assumptions that they have comfortably 
stowed out of sight when they thought the reader 
was not looking. They have drugged themselves 
into a belief in the all-potency of logic and of analysis. 
They have been mastered by their own metaphors. 
They have allowed themselves to think that what 
cannot be solved in any other way can be solved by 
a manipulation of words. They have " built long 
thin ladders into the air, some with many rungs, 
but all no more capable of containing, or, rather, of 
comprehending, the universe than my hair is of 
comprehending the atmosphere." With delightful 

104 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

wit he demolishes " the ancient, modern, and medi- 
aeval scholastic philosophies." He quotes RubinofF '• 
" The philosophers of all sects have spent three 
thousand years burying the fair form of Truth 
under a mass of verbal sewage." This unsavoury 
accumulation Wiertz, with a grace that leads one 
to suspect him of non-Teuton blood, shovels aside 
with great sweeps of the pen and drops on the be- 
nighted heads of its original depositors. 

" Down with Words," " Down with Philos- 
ophers," " Down with Systems " ; these are three 
of his next chapter headings. The uninitiated might 
well wonder why he proceeded to imitate those 
whom he denounced. The reader has taken re- 
spectfully his descriptions of his predecessors : 
Plato, *' a bad artist with a depraved taste for social 
reform " ; Hegel, " a windbag who was bom 
burst " ; Schopenhauer, " a dyspeptic mushroom 
on half-pay " ; Spinoza, " a wandering Jew " ; 
Kant, " a corpulent cypher " ; Zeno, " a lamp-post 
without a lamp " ; Fichte, " the echo of a bad 
smell " ; Aristotle, " an industrious publisher's 
hack," and so on. What had he to do with words 
and systems ? How did he hope. to escape the lot of 
all the others who have attempted to " draw maps 
of the dark side of the moon " } It is bare justice 
to him to say that he realised the inconsistency ; it 
is also bare justice to add that he never constructed 
a system, though he had the temerity to provide 
materials for a system that a more foolish successor 
might construct. But, still he did not confine himself 
to destructive criticism, to negation. He was not a 
philosopher of the study. He had had a training in 

10 s .. 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

positive science, and for some time he even took 
part in the politics of Saxony, his state. Never losing 
sight of his limitations, he achieved by experiment 
and speculation results which, whatever their re- 
lation to the Eternal Sphinx, may be of the greatest 
practical value. 

It is impossible here to detail the way in which 
Wiertz arrived at his method, or the manner in 
which he, with unexampled lucidity, defended its 
use. Roughly speaking, his process was this : " What 
he asked, " is the usual concept of a concept ? " 
After examining and rejecting a number of 
illustrations for it he chose that of the unfolding 
mirror that is being continually breathed upon. By 
induction he concluded that if the breath could be 
removed the mirror would become clearer. Both 
experience and common-sense (which, though he 
could not defend it, he deemed important) tell us 
that the operation of stopping the breath cannot be 
performed by a phenomenal agency. We have to 
look, then (and even Hegel could not have rejected 
this conclusioii), for a non-phenomenal, or, rather, 
a super-phenomenal agency. But this super-pheno- 
menal agency can only be grasped by super-pheno- 
menal means ; and here Wiertz 's years in the labor- 
atories came to his rescue. He had noticed, when 
weighing sections of an amoeba, that the weight of 
the sections was always less than that of the whole, 
and that the discrepancy varied with the temper- 
ature, being greatest when the temperature was 
high and least when it was low. For this Residuum, 
to which he chose to give the name Supraliminal 
Intuition, he discovered the formula : Cos 65 
106 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

log 2 = 23 sin 45 + ^2^''. On this formula which 
can convey but little to anyone who is not a mathe- 
matician, he built, by a long and careful process of 
argument, his theory or, rather, his working hypo- 
thesis of the Intuitive Reason. It is this process that 
fills the greater part of the " Prolegomena." To the 
average reader these chapters must of necessity be 
difficult and rather dull. But it is well worth while 
making the eiTort to master them in view of the 
bearing that they have on the concluding chapter, 
the chapter that is being made the basis of a whole 
political theory in Germany and Italy and that some 
of the French Syndicalists have appropriated to 
their own use. 

The Wiertzians have gone to the most extreme 
lengths in the affirmations they have made with the 
" Prolegomena " as justification. When one says this 
one does not imply that they advocate or assert 
much that is shocking to bourgeois sentiment in 
the sense that Nietzsche, Stirner, Marinetti and 
Tolstoi are shocking. Where they run to excess is 
in the meticulousness with which they apply the 
Wiertzian instrument. Hirsch-MenkendorfF, the 
latest of them, gravely informs the world not merely 
thit women's suffrage is bad, that beer is good, that 
the government should be run by commercial men, 
that Sabbatarianism and cruelty to ^animals go hand 
in hand, but announces with all the air of a solemn 
prophet : " God objects to compulsory insurance." 
Wiertz never went into such detail as this himself. 
But it may at least be said that there is little that the 
average middle-class man says or does or thinks that 
he cannot find defended and justified in his pages. 

107 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

" I am," said he, " the Apotheosis of the Ordinary." 
It is absurd that he should not have been translated 
into English before. 

Miss Elson's rendering is scholarly and her 
language clear and idiomatic. But here and there, 
unfortunately, there are Americanisms that a British 
audience will scarcely stomach. English people do 
not allude to a " bunch of philosophers, ' and for 
" hand-grip," on page 164, " portmanteau " or 
" hand-bag " might have been substituted. 



108 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

II 

" The Collected Poetical Works of William Scotton." 
Edited with notes by Bernard L. Easterbrook. {zs. 
bd. net.) 

Those who know their Boswell intimately may 
remember a certain conversation which the bio- 
grapher chronicles under date of 15th November 
1774. It runs as follows : 

" I dined with him at General Williamson's, 
where were also Mr. Langton, Mr. Beauclerk, Dr. 
James of St. Albans, and a gentleman from Bristol 
whose name I do not now recollect. Poetry being 
mentioned, the Bristol gentleman praised with 
much warmth, the poetical compositions of Mr. 
Scotton, more especially the ' Country Wooing,' 
which had then lately appeared. Johnson : * No, 
sir ; Scotton is well enough for a man of no learn- 
ing. It is true that he is well acquainted with the 
forms of trees, brooks, clouds and other natural 
objects, but that does not make him a poet. Scotton 
writes of Nature as an intelligent cow might write 
of her, presuming the cow to have some suitable 
contrivance for transcribing her cogitations. In 
Parnassus he shall be our horned poet, our poeta 
corniitus.' Boswell ; ' But, sir, Mr. Edwards hath a 
very great opinion of Scotton.' Johnson : ' Mr. 
Edwards, sir, is a doltish fellow ; and you, sir, are 
another.' " 

Scotton at this time was enjoying a brief fame. 
We find favourable references to him in The Gentle- 
man s Magazine, and Horace Walpole speaks of 

109 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

him in such a way as to give the impression that, 
for a while at all events, every person who desired a 
reputation for taste affected to praise the poet. But 
his little " boom " was soon over, like those of Dyer, 
Boyce and Blacklock, and since Boswell's day he 
has fallen into an abyss of oblivion far more com- 
plete than that which shrouds those writers. From 
1779, when the third edition of his poems appeared, 
he has never been reprinted until the present day. 
And it may be said that just as his early repute was 
adventitious, so his later neglect has been unde- 
served. 

Scotton, Hke Clare and Bloomfield, came of rural 
labouring stock. He was one of a family of nine 
children of Thomas Scotton, who worked under a 
farmer at Leiston, Suffolk, a tenant of Sir William 
Bolton. At an early age he learnt to read and write, 
and before he was fifteen he composed verses and 
was shown as a prodigy at the houses of the neigh- 
bouring gentry. The Duchess of Devonshire, seeing 
his juvenile work, sent him to have his education 
completed under a clergyman at Wimbledon, who 
seems to have taught him nothing. At nineteen he 
came to town with a small allowance from her 
Grace. After his two volumes of poems, both of 
which were published before he was twenty-eight, 
he wrote nothing of any merit. Society lost its in- 
terest in him ; his allowance stopped with the death 
of his patron ; he lingered in Fleet Street for a few 
years as a bookseller's hack, and at thirty-seven he 
died. So completely had he dropped out of sight 
that, were it not for an entry in the register of St. 
Mary Axe which has been disinterred by the energy 
no 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

of the present editor, we should not know the date 
or place of his death. 

His poems consist of the " Country Wooing," 
which is in blank verse, a long poem in rhymed 
couplets entitled " Doris and Philemon," and about 
fifty lyrics, mostly quite short. Nobody could deny, 
and Mr. Easterbrook makes no attempt to deny, 
that a great deal of this is very commonplace. 
Scotton, like Burns, had a native style and a culti- 
vated style. Most of his time he was attempting to 
write like the other poets of his day, and a great deal 
of his work is little more than an accumulation of 
artificial sentiments, dead epithets and deader meta- 
phors. The following, from " Doris and Philemon," 
is a characteristic passage : 

Now the declining fulgent orb of day 
Tinged all the landskip with his latest ray ; 
Philemon came to seek the blooming fair, 
Rending with gloomy moans the conscious air. 
" Doris," he cried, " my Doris I would find — 
Doris, my Doris, beauteous and kind, 
Doris the queen of all our rural train, 
Doris a nymph admir'd by ev'ry swain." 
No pleasing answer pierc'd his list'ning ear ; 
In vain his eyelids shed each sparkling tear ; 
No virgin accents came, no step of love 
Trod the soft verdure of the silent grove. 
No lovely face to beam upon his heart, 
To calm his breast and ease his painful smart. 



Ill 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

With tortured breath for Phcebus' aid he wails, 
Shrieks to the trees and murmurs to the gales : 
" Me wretched ; bring me Doris or I die." 
But only scornful Echo made reply. 

This, it must be admitted, is feeble and derivative. 
Stuff undistinguishable from it, no more flat and 
dull and no more hackneyed in expression, was 
written by scores of men of Scotton's day, now 
deservedly forgotten. The whole of this long past- 
oral is in this vein, and a good many of the lyrics 
are as bad. Some, again, whilst neatly and tunefully 
put together, are vitiated by the commonplaceness 
and conventionality that the Suffolk youth found it 
so hard to resist and that swamped his own genuine 
freshness- and personality. There are dozens of 
verses in the fashion of these addressed " To Miss 
L. F. on the Occasion of her Departure for the Con- 
tinent " : 

Wherefore, Lucinda, dost aspire 

To leave thy native plain. 
Forsaking thine adoring quire 

To brave the raging main ? 

Are domiciliar dells so dark. 

So dull our English vales. 
That thou must trust thy slender bark 

To inauspicious gales ? 

If thou wouldst fain console the Muse, 

In explanation speak ! 
See now the tender blush suffuse 

Lucinda 's lovely cheek ; 

112 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

A pitying word vouchsafes the fair : 

" I seek a foreign plain 
That I with more delight may share 

My native meads again." 

If all Scotton's work were like this it would not 
be worth reprinting. But in some of it, and especi- 
ally in the " Country Wooing," about which Dr. 
Johnson was so contemptuous, another note is 
Struck. This country boy really, when free from 
contemporary Uterary influences, wrote about 
Nature as one who can look at her with his own 
eyes and who was moved by her in a manner familiar 
to but few verse-writeri of that artificial and urban 
age. It is a remarkable thing that when his thought 
is at its best and his feeling most direct, his language 
becomes least stilted and dated. Here and there he 
reaches a freshness of vision and a moving simplicity 
of speech that give him a claim to be considered 
with Cowper and Collins amongst the forerunners 
of the renascence which came with Wordsworth, 
Coleridge and Blake. His blank verse in places has 
a vigour and tone and freedom of movement almost 
unknown to an age when that species of verse usually 
moved on feet of lead and was employed mainly for 
didactic and expository purposes. Here is a passage 
to the point. It is from the " Country Wooing." If 
any influence is perceptible it is that of Milton : 

So lay the youth with Mary in his arms, 
Pale with excess of bliss. But when the maid 
Perforce must leave to seek her mother's cot 
He clomb the higher slopes of Haldon Hill 



"3 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

And looked against the sunset. Low and red, 
Calmly suspended 'bove the horizon's rim, 
Burned the great globe, and far and far away 
The meadows coruscated with his light. 
There sat the boy an hour, his thoughtful chin 
Supported by his hand, and over all 
The universe his eager thought took flight. 
He saw lone vessels straining on far seas, 
Spread continents of dusky peoples, woods 
Where lurked vast she-lions with stealthy eyes, 
And icy deserts round about the Pole. 
He flung the earth behind his voyaging feet, 
And flew amid the stars beyond the moon, 
Across the threshold of the Milky Way 
And on into the darkness of the void 
Impenetrable. So an hour he journeyed. 
Then, with a sudden start, regained the world. 
And, weary-eyed, stared over sunless fields 
And shades that hastened over Haldon Hill. 

It were superfluous to point out that there are 
defects in this. There is not much continuity ; the 
thing is rather a hotch-potch ; nevertheless, a native 
strength and a certain intensity of imagination are 
observable that are lacking in the works of many 
better-known eighteenth-century writers. Here is 
another extract a page or two farther on : 

'Twas night. High in the heavens rode the moon, 
With her great shining host of starry guards. 
Pale lay the fields i' th' light, so that they seemed 
Almost celestial to Richard's eyes. 
There where the river wandered stole he down 
And heard the owler screaming to her mate 
114 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

And the bat twittering. Anon some downy moth 
Would flutter like a phantom 'gainst his face, 
Anon he'd hear, as by a hedge he passed, 
Some good old hermit of a horse that fed 
With loud bite in his dark and tranquil field. 

Here again, though some might detect in one 
place a reminiscence of the Countess of Winchilsea, 
there is something which, although rather shapeless, 
is far more exhilarating than the endless verses the 
century produced concerning Diana regent of the 
skies shedding lucent affluence on nocturnal pros- 
pects. And Scotton produces similar pleasant effects 
in some of his shorter poems. Here is a stanza from 
" The Swallow " : 

Birds, trees and flow'rs they bring to me, 
A boon as precious as 'tis free, 
That cities cannot give. 

glossy breast and rapid wing, 

If thou shouldst e'er forsake the spring 
I should not wish to live. 

And here is one from " My Father's Cot " : 

1 left thee with a courage high, 
The gleam of boyhood in my eye, 

And undefil^d soul. 
And now what have I ? Shreds of art, 
A craven spirit and a heart 

That never will be whole. 

There is sincerity in those lines, and there is tragedy. 

Mr. Easterbrook has done his work excellently. 

In his introduction and notes he gives us what 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

scanty material he has been able to collect concern- 
ing Scotton's life. He has not overburdened the 
book with superfluous comment, but what critical 
remarks he does make are admirably to the point. 
He has done a great service to letters, and is fully 
justified in his assertion that " In the future no 
anthology of eighteenth-century verse will be com- 
plete without some extracts from Scotton and no 
histdry of English poetry adequate without some 
reference to him." 



ii6 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

III 

" The Recovery of the Picturesque.'' By Professor 
William Pigott-Jones . {Chad-wick & Hopkins, los. 
6d. net.) 

It looks as though the propaganda of WilHam 
Morris were beginning to have some genuine prac- 
tical effect. One cannot class as such the so-called 
" revolution " in designs for stuffs and furniture that 
has been witnessed during the last generation. In 
the first place these changes in design have had a 
bearing only upon the lives of the prosperous minor- 
ity, and none whatever upon those of the masses or 
the general social life of the nation ; and, in the 
second place, change in this respect has not gener- 
ally meant improvement. Morris's ideas — as com- 
monly happens — have been degraded in adaptation 
and, save in regard to a very narrow sphere, we have 
merely seen a change from one kind of bad and 
stupid design to another. But Morris's artistic 
gospel had a far wider scope than mere suggestions 
for improving the appearance of our domestic con- 
veniences. If he revived tapestry weaving, he also 
wrote " News from Nowhere." Over and above 
everything else he stands for the transformation 
and development of our public amenities. Here, in 
' fact, we have the key to his Mediaevalism. It was 
not so much the handicraft of the Middle Ages or 
their Chivalry or their Faith that attracted him, as 
the variety, colour and energy of their social life. 
His objection to modern conditions took its rise 
not so much from ethical or economic theory 

117 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

(though with these he was incidentally concerned) 
as from his objection to ugliness, gloom and uni- 
formity. " Merry England " to him was more than 
a Christmas-card phrase ; the words embodied a 
contrast and a protest. He detested " six counties 
overhung by smoke," and the appalling sameness 
of modern dress, the absence of green from our 
cities, of colour from our streets, and of sports from 
our countryside. He dreamed of an England pastoral 
and agricultural, sprinkled with small towns where 
the traveller could find things curious and beautiful 
and new, instead of things noisily monotonous and 
aggressively tedious. Others, of course, have shared 
his views on the matter, but no one has voiced them 
so eloquently as he. And, thanks chiefly to him, the 
Revolt against Uniformity has begun. 

We have never entirely succumbed to it. We 
have never quite let Merrie England go out of mind. 
She has been kept, as it were, like a beautiful lady 
in the cupboard whilst all the skeletons are at the 
feast. Occasionally when we have felt it our solemn 
duty to be festive we have shown that we still have 
a half-idea of what we really ought to do. I do not 
suggest that we ever entertain the idea of pulling 
down London, of seriously modifying the big re- 
sults of laissez-faire politics ; and Professor Pigott- 
Jones believes that we have most to gain just now 
by keeping off" the largest problems. But whenever 
we have a ceremonial holiday, we furtively draw 
out some of the symbols of an earlier and better 
civilisation. For example, during the recent Coro- 
nation festivities, the occupants of offices in Lom- 
bard Street revived the ancient sign-boards. Bankers 

n8 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

and wholesale merchants disported themselves 
with brand-new and cheerfully coloured Eagles 
and Leopards and Three Old Cocks, and so forth. 
But as though ashamed of our temporary lapse into 
sense we remove these delightful ornaments directly 
the immediate cause of their fabrication has been 
removed. Coronation over, Lombard Street became 
its old and dull self again. 

It is with apparently small matters like this of the 
sign-boards that Professor Pigott- Jones busies him- 
self. He believes that here and now he can do most 
good — ^whilst never losing sight of his ultimate 
Utopianism — by studying how in small ways he can 
improve things as they are. " Granted," he says, 
" that London, as we know it, must in its essentials 
remain ; granted that commercialism continue 
and that the arrangement and design of houses and 
streets remain what it is. How, whilst ignoring 
fundamentals, can we touch up, or, as it were, trim 
the superficies of our modern bustling city life in 
such a way as to invest it with some of those qual- 
ities, the absence of which was so rightly and justly 
deplored by the great poet-craftsman who was so 
recently in our midst ? " He proceeds in a most 
fascinating book of five hundred pages to outline 
his own suggestions for amelioration. 

Now, it must be frankly admitted that some of 
his suggestions are quite unlikely to be adopted ; 
some, in fact, might, by a cold-blooded person, be 
called fantastical and fanatical. Occasionally his 
exuberance and enthusiasm run away with him, 
and he advocates things that could no more be 
grafted on our present-day civilisation than an 

119 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

elephant's tusks could be grafted on a mollusc of 
the slime. But, generally speaking, he is as practical 
as he is inspiring. He urges changes in small detail 
so numerous and excellent in their cumulative effect 
that, were they all achieved, they would certainly 
do a great deal to render modern London tolerable 
to a sane human being. 

The signs above referred to are one of the ancient 
novelties he would re-introduce. Englishmen never, 
to do them justice, abandoned these things volun- 
tarily, or because they had ceased to appreciate 
them. The reason why they disappeared is that one 
day a certain too venerable and decrepit sign fell 
upon the head of a passer-by and killed him. The 
small clique of busybodies who at that time ruled 
England forthwith introduced an Act making pro- 
jecting street signs illegal. Even to-day there are 
rigid restrictions as to the size, height and con- 
struction of such sign-boards. Whether on the whole 
it is not advantageous to retain such excellent things, 
even though they may be a little dangerous, does 
not seem to occur to any of our rulers. Lives, they 
think, may be wasted in the making of wealth but 
not in the making of beauty. It is right and proper 
that coal-mining and the running of railways should 
go on, even though thousands of men should each 
year lose their lives in those occupations. But not 
one arm or leg should be sacrificed for the sake of 
what are called " non-economic goods." Should a 
stray water-wagtail by chance peck a baby's eyes 
out, they would at once start a campaign for the 
extirpation of water- wagtails. " Let us," says the 
Professor, " see every business street in London 

120 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

gay with bright signs which will restore to us in 
large measure both our colour and our symbolism. 
Let the Pig and Whistle and the Goat and Com- 
passes be something more than mere names. Let 
them be a tonic to our adults and an inspiration to 
our young folk." 

Separate chapters are devoted to various special 
departments, such as Paint, Bunting, and Uniforms. 
Whilst reluctantly admitting that the stage has not 
been reached at which we can expect the ordinary 
private citizen to alter his costume, he points out 
that it would be easy to begin with public servants 
and other persons upon whom some " regulation " 
attire is enforced by orders from above. It only needs 
to get the sympathy of, say, the Postmaster- General 
or the City Corporation or the Chairman of Direct- 
ors of some important railway to transform at once 
the appearance of a large body of men who, speak- 
ing visually, may be termed prominent men. He 
disclaims any idea of going to the Morrisian Ex- 
treme of Golden Dustmen. He sees that all that we 
can hope for just now is the adoption of official 
costumes which may be more aesthetically pleasing 
than those now in vogue and at the same time 
equally suitable for working purposes. Why, he 
asks, should postmen, policemen and railway serv- 
ants wear three of the most hideous forms of costume 
that ever defaced the form of man } If policemen 
must have helmets, he inquires, why should they 
not have gracefully modelled shining helmets of 
brass or white metal, instead of " melancholy blue 
tumuli with poker-knobs on the top .'' " Without, 
he argues, going to the extreme of equipping 

121 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

postmen with the cap and rod of winged Mercury, 
cannot we supply them with something which will 
bring a Uttle brightness and joy into our dingy 
streets, and which may even counteract the de- 
pressing influence of the unpaid tradesmen's bills 
that they are delivering ? As for the railwaymen, he 
frankly suggests that the men at the different under- 
ground stations should bear on their persons some 
emblem representing the plates to which they are 
attached. " I do not go to what would seem the 
grotesque length of saying that at Blackfriars the 
ticket-collectors should be garbed with rope, rosary 
and friar's gown, or that the men at the Temple 
should wear the robes of Greek hierophants. But I 
do say that, whilst retaining the form of garment in 
general use to-day (I refer to the coat, the waistcoat 
and the trousers), a great improvement in colour 
might be wrought and the colours varied for the 
different stations ; and that at each station some 
little badge or token might be worn which would 
remind one of its particular associations and greatly 
relieve the tedium of our journeys." 

It is perhaps in the chapter on nomenclature that 
Professor Pigott-Jones gets most interesting. He 
inveighs with earnest eloquence against the naming 
of our streets, our churches and our theatres, our 
modern public-houses and our shops. He points 
out with great force the viciousness of the custom 
of calling our public-houses after the streets in 
which they are situated (as the " Albert "), or by 
some supposedly patrician name lifted out of a 
cheap novelette (as the " Beaumont Arms "). " Let 
the names of our public-houseb grow once more," 

122 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

says he, " out of the soil of the human heart." He 
gives specimens, including the " Man Laden with 
Mischief," at Madingley, and the " Live and Let 
Live," which graces the crest of a Somersetshire 
hill. In olden days, he observes, it was the custom 
to name streets after some genuine local association. 
** If a street was small and ran by the Thames, men 
called it Little Thames Street ; if the builder of an 
alley had his attention attracted by a limping cur, 
we got a Lame Dog Alley, and the neighbourhood 
of a vixen could procure for a thoroughfare the name 
of Scolding Mary Lane. To-day it is nothing but 
John Street and George Street and Westminster 
Road and Ladysmith Avenue. The imagination 
that used to go to the making of local names is no 
longer present. We have banished the natural man. 
Fancy, caprice and spontaneity are no more with 
us ; or, if they are with us, we keep them well locked 
up under our hats." He gets most lyrical when he 
throws out the quite original suggestion of a plan 
which might invest even our motor buses with some- 
thing of romance. The passage is, I think, worth 
quoting at length : 

" W^ith good will and a few buckets of paint our 
very motor buses could be turned to good use. At 
present I feel an angry aching at the heart whenever 
I see one. For why ? They are all exactly the same ! 
With few exceptions, their colour is red, and the 
word ' General ' is splashed across them in large 
letters. I walk along the Strand and there they pass 
in endless, irritating iteration — red General .after 
red General— never a change for the eye, never a 
variety for the mind. Surely, now that almost the 

123 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

whole of our omnibus traffic has passed into the 
hands of one great company, the motives (adver- 
tisement, distinction from the buses of other com- 
panies, etc.) which may have prompted the same- 
ness of name and colour in earlier days aie no longer 
vaUd. Generally speaking, if we see a bus we know 
it is a General, and there's an end on't. It would 
cost the company scarcely any trouble or loss, whilst 
at the same time adding immensely to the amenities 
of our streets, were the buses on each route given 
a distinctive colour and name. We had something 
of the sort in the old days of the horse buses ; the 
* Monster ' bus and the ' Favorite ' bus were with 
us quite lately. It might, perhaps, be confusing to 
call each individual omnibus by a special name as 
we do each ship in the Navy — though that would 
be a very desirable consummation were it attainable. 
But there could certainly be no inconvenience in 
giving one name to all the buses on a particular 
route. I conceive that such names might be at once 
picturesque, and symbolic ; they might be at once 
classical in their flavour and peculiarly modern in 
their implications. Why, for instance, should we 
not have the Vulcan or the Thor running to Ham- 
mersmith ? I hope I shall live to see the day when I 
may go to Battersea by the Xerxes and by the Pan- 
dora to Canning Town. What more suitable name 
than that of the fair metamorphosed Daphne, god- 
pursued, could be bestowed upon the bus which 
should take us to Turnham Green } And how in- 
timate might not be the association of goat-foot 
Pan with Tooting ? For the buses on the Ealing 
route I choose as by impulse the name of .^sculapius; 
124 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

for those which go to Peckham that of Leda, mother 
of beautiful children. The Styx should run to Mort- 
lake, the Polyphemus to Wapping, the Amazon to 
Holloway, the Dionysus to Fulham, the Sisyphus 
to Crouch Hill, the Actaeon to Hornsey, the Perse- 
phone to Bloomsbury, the Vitellius to Eaton Square, 
the Cleopatra to Purley, the Cerberus to Barking, 
the Trojan Horse to Walworth, the Prometheus to 
Liverpool Street, the Bucephalus to Hackney, the 
Rhadamanthus to Chancery Lane, the Croesus to 
Westminster, and the Tantalus to Whitechapel ? 
Think of it — a London ablaze with moving symbols 
and ringing day-long with the names of the gods 
and heroes of old time ! " 

It is impossible in the short space at my disposal 
to do justice to this fascinating and stimulating 
book. It is a book that may well initiate a great 
movement that will leave permanent marks upon 
the face of our country. Once one has taken it up it 
is exceedingly difficult to lay it down. It cuts through 
shams and deep into the flesh of humanity. It has 
the stuff of life in it. And it possesses that rare thing, 
that elusive quality, charm. 



125 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



IV 

" The Seventeenth Canto of Byron's Don Juan.'* 
Now first edited and published by David M'Kie. 
{The Scots Reviewers' Society. Two guineas net.) 

The discovery last year of a lost canto of Byron's 
Don Juan is one of the greatest literary " finds " of 
recent times. In itself, perhaps, the thing is not 
particularly valuable ; far greater treasures lie be- 
neath the lava of Herculaneum and the sand of 
Aphroditopolis. The new canto is in style and con- 
tent rather inferior to the sixteen old ones ; and the 
poem in its old state was quite long enough for most 
people. But the excitement of a discovery like this 
depends not so much upon the quality of the new 
matter as upon the greatness of the author ; were a 
new book of Wordsworth's " Excursion " found — 
even were it as dull as it could be — all literary Eng- 
land (which never looks into " The Excursion ") 
would read it and talk about it. 

It has always been suspected that this canto might 
turn up. There are letters from Byron extant written 
to Moore and to John Murray in which he mentions 
the seventeenth canto as having been completed 
and sent to one or two of his friends to look at. 
Why he did not publish it is uncertain, but it may 
be presumed that he meant to write a further con- 
tinuation and to publish several cantos at once. And 
a complete mystery overhangs its progress to the 
Ubrary in which it was found — that of Mr. Ellis of 
Newton Grange. Byron had the manuscript by him 
just before his last journey to Greece ; we know 

126 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

that from a flippant letter to the Countess Guiccioll 
which appears in Mr. Harker's collection. Mr. 
Ellis, as it happens, is a great-nephew of Mrs. 
Chaworth-Musters, the poet's first love. Conceiv- 
ably this may give a clue. " Might not," says Mr. 
M'Kie, " Byron have had this canto with him at 
Missolonghi and might he not have sent it home 
by his servant, Fletcher ? It is well known that he 
entrusted Fletcher with messages to the wife and 
daughter from whom he had so long been parted. 
Is it not conceivable that the same faithful attend- 
ant may have been told to deliver this manuscript 
as a parting gift to the lady who had been Byron's 
first love, and whose image he had cherished un- 
sullied through all those stormy years. And might 
it not, either through accident, or as a consequence 
of some testamentary disposition which may yet be 
traced, have passed into the Ellis branch of the 
lady's family ? " Failing any better hypothesis, this 
one is sufficiently tenable, though one may be per- 
mitted to observe that this canto was a curious 
memento to bestow in such a quarter. The main 
thing is that the canto has been recovered. 

The sixteenth canto ends with Juan's discovery 
of the Duchess of Fitzfulke masquerading at night 
in the corridor as the Friar's Ghost. The new canto 
takes up the story at that point : 

As Shakespeare states, we frequently discover 

A goodly apple rotten at the core, 
Maidens ere now have entertained as lover 

A vampire with a gout for virgin gore, 



127 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

And, sailors know, a welcome light may hover 
Above a treacherous and greedy shore. 

And if you touch a duchess you may prod a sty — 
But I was always noted for my modesty. 

The lady, judging by her laughing eyes, 

Thought lightly of this midnight misdemeanour, 

The youth had penetrated her disguise, 

But he of course would never say he'd seen her. 

But being (as you know) averse from lies, 
Our hero felt extremely loath to screen her. 

Juan, in fact, was most extremely shocked : 

" Friar," he said, " you ought to be unfrocked ! " 

Juan, with his familiar softness of heart, forgives 
her Grace for her deceitfulness and the fright she 
had given him, and the episode ends in the custom- 
ary manner of the poem. This takes us up to the 
fifteenth stanza. The sixteenth sees Juan one of a 
house-party in Lincolnshire, where he retails his 
adventures and is lionised in consequence. He is, 
for the time, free from amorous entanglements, but 
very nearly ruins himself by shooting a fox. The 
coolness bred by this exploit leads to his migration 
to London, where he stays at his country's Embassy 
and in due course goes to Court. George Ill's son 
is here treated as badly as was George III in the 
" Vision of Judgment." Juan, young prude, reflects 
gravely on the royal morals and facetiously on the 
royal appearance, comparing him to all the other 
bloated persons and bulging things that he had 
seen in his life : balloons, hogs, the Rock of Gib- 
raltar and the poetical works of Robert Southey. 

128 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

He goes to Parliament in the fifty- fifth stanza, and 
goes to sleep in the fifty-sixth, the sonority of his 
snores interrupting a speech by the Duke of Welling- 
ton. The Duke, however, restrains officious per- 
sons who would have the distinguished visitor 
removed : 

The noble warrior 
Having a fellow-feeling for a nose 
Refrained from interrupting his repose. 

He mingles in literary society, which he finds com- 
posed of pretentious strutters who feed on garbage 
from the gutters and spend their time looking for a 
genuine poet in order that they may stone him. In 
the eightieth stanza he goes to Coleridge's after 
dinner. Coleridge talks for thirty stanzas : 

Juan could not determine 
Why in a land so rich in mental ordure 
Supplies should be imported from the German 

Again he goes to sleep ; to wake up in the morning 
with the sun shining and his oblivious host still 
talking. Juan has taken in nothing of it ; he " de- 
parted thus, his mind in puris naturalibus." But he 
has had enough of England and, without taking 
leave of his acquaintance, ships from Wapping to 
Spain, which by this time will be cool enough to 
hold him. The hundred and thirtieth stanza is the 
last. 

The new canto is certainly not very interesting 
either as poetry or as satire. The pinions of Pegasus 
are flagging. There are none of those fine flights of 

129 

K 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

rhetoric that adorn the earlier cantos ; the invective 
is cheap, and Byron's scores off his bugbears are 
not so terse and pointed as of yore. But such as it is, 
it is the end of a great work. The lost toe of the 
statue has been recovered, and even though it is a 
dull toe it does fill up a lacuna in the statue. Mr. 
M'Kie's editing leaves little to be desired, but one 
or two errors have found their way into his usually 
informative notes. 1832 is not the year of J. W. 
Croker's death, nor of the death of Wordsworth ; 
whilst it was the Whigs and not the Tories who 
were primarily responsible for the passage of the 
Reform Bill of that year. The present reviewer shares 
Mr. M'Kie's curiosity as to what Byron would have 
thought of that Bill. There can be little doubt that 
it would not have satisfied him and that Earl Grey 
and Lord John Russell would have lent themselves 
(particularly Lord John) to his sarcasm. Take him 
for all in all we shall not look upon his like again. 



130 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

V 

" The Poetical Works {in English) of Robert Hos- 
kyns." Edited with Introduction and Notes by Archi- 
bald Thorne. (The Laurel Library. 3^. dd. net) 

Some time or other we shall, I suppose, get a 
respectably complete series of reprints of the Eliza- 
bethan poets. The greater of them are accessible in 
many editions, but many of respectable accomplish- 
ment and fame, such as Anthony Munday and 
Nicholas Breton, have not yet been issued in a 
cheap, worthy and complete form. With the ap- 
pearance of the present volume we see justice — or 
more than justice — done to a metrical luminary 
decidedly inferior to those mentioned, but never- 
theless interesting and well deserving resurrection. 
Save that Gillespie reprinted some dozen of Hos- 
kyns' poems in his " Tudor Songs " nothing of 
Hoskyns' has been pubUshed in the last century. 
Mr. Thorne has not merely restored to the reading 
public much meritorious poetry, but, what is far 
more important, he has at last given scholars (who 
have hitherto found the rare copies of Hoskyns 
diffic.lt of access) an opportunity of estimating 
accurately Hoskyns' place in the development of 
English poetry and of placing him in his proper 
niche in the great Elizabethan hierarchy. 

Mr. Thorne has performed at least one great 
service to research. He has added one important fact 
to our scanty knowledge of the poet. Hitherto we 
have known the date of his birth (1552), that of his 
entry at Peterhouse, Cambridge (1567), and that of 

131 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

his death (1591), which latter was ascertained some 
twenty years ago by Dr. Boddington in the course 
of an examination of the parish registers of the Isle 
of Ely. The register at Stationers' Hall also records 
the date of entry of Hoskyns'one volume, " A Garden 
of Daintie Delites " — 1582. What we have not pre- 
viously known, and what Mr. Thorne has dis- 
covered in a stray leaf of the Admittances in the 
liarleian MS. 2016, is that in 1576 a " Rob. Hos- 
kynes " was admitted to Gray's Inn. Whether or 
not he was ever called to the bar, and whether or 
not he practised, we do not yet know, and it is 
possible that we never shall know ; but so genuine 
is the modern revival of interest in literature, and 
so widespread the net of research, that it is by no 
means inconceivable that this information may 
some time come to light. 

Contemporary references to the poet are very few 
indeed. There are at the utmost three of them ; and 
in none of these cases is his name actually men- 
tioned. Mr. Thorne believes (and adduces good 
reason for the belief) that it is to Hoskyns that 
William Webbe refers in that pungent passage of 
the " Discourse of EngUsh Poetry " in which he 
speaks of " pottical poetical heads " whose " wor- 
shipful commencements might, instead of laurel, 
be gorgeously garnished with fair green barley, in 
token of their good affection to our English malt. . . , 
I scorn and spue out the rakehelly rout of our ragged 
Rhymers (for so themselves use to hunt the Letter) 
which without learning boast, without judgment 
jangle, without reason rage and fume, as if some 
instinct of poetical spirit had newly ravished them, 

132 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

above the meanness of common capacity." There 
is a similar reference in Gierke's Polimanteia (pub- 
lished a year or two after the poet's death) in which 
dissolute habits are also alluded to ; whilst the third 
passage (much later in date and much less certain 
in its allusion) consists of some lines of Drayton's 
" Of Poets and Poesie," in which occurs the pass- 
age : 

. . . He came likewise who did faile 
At making, but at duppling of good ale 
Accompted was the best. 

It is, of course, not quite certain that any of these 
passages refers to Hoskyns, and we have no other 
reason for believing that he was a roysterer or an 
intemperate drinker ; but a careful consideration 
of the internal evidence makes it highly probable 
that in each case he was the poet alluded to. 

Beyond this all is the merest speculation. Mr. 
Thorne considers and rebuts at length Dr. Bodd- 
ington's contention that Hoskyns was an adherent 
of the older faith, a contention which is apparently 
based entirely on the fact that there is record of a 
person of that name having studied medicine and 
theology at Douay after Hoskyns' death, a person 
who may possibly have been a relation of the poet's 
but whose relationship has not to date been proved. 
Men of the name, as far as that goes, may be found 
not merely among the CathoUcs but among the 
adherents of the Ghurch of England and even 
amongst the most fanatical Brownists ; and, in the 
present reviewer's opinion, it is stretching the point 
rather too far to take one isolated instance of the 

133 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

occurrence of the name and to jump from that to 
the conclusion that Hoskyns was a CathoUc who (as 
Dr. Boddington has half insinuated) was probably 
involved in one of the many plots against Queen 
Elizabeth. 

There is no documentary evidence of Hoskyns 
receiving patronage either from the Court or from 
individual noblemen. It is possible that in his 
later years he may have known the young Shake- 
speare ; and in that case he may have shared with 
him the encouragement and, possibly, the bene- 
factions of the Earl of Southampton. Philip Sidney 
again (whose brilliant career was, alas, so soon to 
be untimely cut short on the stricken field of Zut- 
phen) may have sought and valued his acquaint- 
ance. There was much in common between the two 
men : the love of foreign literature, the keen in- 
terest in metrical experiment and in the old ballads, 
the chivalrousness and warm interest in human 
nature. Surely it is not an excessive indulgence of 
the fancy if we assume that two men so much alike 
in character and tastes should have met in the liter- 
ary coteries of the time, and, that having met, they 
should have become fast friends } Is it not possible 
that here at last we have the solution of that old 
riddle as to the person alluded to in the " Apology 
for Poetry ": — " Now doth the peerless Poet per- 
form both. For whatsoever the Philosopher saith 
should be done, he giveth a perfect picture of it in 
someone by whom he presupposeth it was done " ? 

Space forbids quotation here from the many 
dehghtful songs in the " Garden of Daintie Delites." 
Some of them, as Mr. Thome says, " are not un- 



IMAGINARY REVIEWS 

worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as those 
of Barnabe Barnes, of Whetstone, and Gabriel 
Harvey." They have about them that spontaneity 
and charm that is the peculiar fascination of the 
Elizabethan lyric at its best. We have to thank Mr. 
Thorne for his labours. Anything more shrewd than 
some of his emendations has not been witnessed 
for some time in this particular region of know- 
ledge. The format is good, print, paper and cover 
alike tasteful and pleasant. This is just the book 
(publishers please note for purposes of quotation) 
for the train, for the bedside, or for a cosy winter 
evening in front of the fire, when the winds are 
howling outside and the logs are crackling within. 
It is years since we have read a book that has given 
us at once so much instruction and so much enter- 
tainment. It is a book to be read and re-read. 



»3S 



V 
IMAGINARY SPEECHES 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

I 

By lord ROSEBERY 

style : the judicious-consistent 

The next Liberal Government has sent to the Lords 
a Finance Bill, the only "feature " of which is the 
repeal of the licence duty on dogs. 

I have no party ties, my lords. I am but an ordin- 
ary private, and I hope not altogether useless — 
(cheers) — member of your lordships' House. I 
speak with no glamour of ministerial authority 
about me. I have long dwelt in isolation, I will not 
say splendid but certainly complete — (laughter) — 
and I am not so vain or so shallow as to think that 
any halting sentences of mine will have the merest 
modicum of influence upon your lordships. Yet I 
cannot but deem it my duty to say my feeble word 
— the tremulous mouthing it may seem, maybe, of 
an old superannuated, even doting, actor who has 
long dofFed the buskin — ^against this measure, a 
measure which from the bottom of my heart I be- 
lieve to be fraught with the gravest consequences 
to the welfare of this Empire and these ancient 
realms. (Loud cheers.) What is this Bill ? It is, as 
far as my poor intellect can determine, an enabling 
Bill to permit, nay to compel — (loud cheers) — this 
country to take the first downward step towards 
Avernus. Nothing more, nothing less. " But," 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

observe its suave and genial progenitors — (laugh- 
ter) — " nothing Is further from our thoughts." 
(Laughter.) " We haven't the slightest wish to ruin 
the country." My lords, their intentions are the very 
last things that matter. Your deeds may be crimson 
though your desires be whiter than snow. (Laughter 
and cheers.) What, I may ask, have we to do with 
the intentions of the Government ? They may be 
excellent. I don't deny it, (Laughter.) They may be 
immaculate. They may be illuminate with a virgin 
whiteness, untainted with the blemishes of greed or 
jealousy, or hate, or the lust for strife. They may be 
all that. But with all the meagre solemnity at my 
command I ask you to weigh them, to consider 
whither they lead. 

This, it is said, is a money Bill. It is, so far as it is 
new, a Bill to relieve the owners of dogs of the neces- 
sity of paying the trifling tax which has been hitherto 
imposed. The money can be spared, and an auspic- 
ious opportunity offers for relieving those who 
possess canine quadrupeds of a tax which, though 
small, like the mosquito, is unquestionably irritating. 
The Bill is a pure money Bill, and your lordships 
have to sit with folded hands while it passes, im- 
potent to reject it. It is an inconsiderable Bill, and 
there is slight need to trouble about it. A very simple 
matter ! But is it, my lords, is it ? I say with intense 
sincerity that it is far, far more than that. It is not 
primarily a Finance Bill, and I would that I could 
honestly describe it as an inconsiderable Bill. I 
maintain, my lords, that it is not a Bill for the diminu- 
tion of taxes ; it is a Bill for the multiplication of 
dogs. (Loud cheers.) There lies the rotten core of 
140 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 
this fruit with the blushfully innocent exterior. 
Every competent and experienced statesman knows 
that the dog-Ucence duty is not a tax at all. No one, 
as far as my poor observation goes — not even the 
present Chancellor of the Exchequer— holds the 
matured opinion that a man is a fit subject for penal- 
isation merely because he is so unfortunate as to 
find pleasure in having his footsteps dogged — (laugh- 
ter) — by the humble hound, or his fireside decor- 
ated — (laughter) — by the comfortable cur. Such 
cravings have not in the past — I know not what 
may happen in the future — been characterised as 
testifications to hopeless and abysmal depravity — 
(laughter) — the desire to keep a dog has not even 
been regarded as a possibly pardonable peccadillo. 
Rather, my lords, has this nameless longing 
for the society of dumb and faithful beasts been 
regarded as something worthy in a man, something 
to be reverently cherished, something reminiscent 
of that infinitude from which trailing clouds of glory 
do we come. Many a man has been better for the 
companionship of a dog. (Cheers.) Many a sombre 
and tenebrous deed has been killed before it was 
born by the naive and half-divine appeal in the eyes 
of some devoted mastiff or bloodhound. (Cheers.) 
I have not a word to say aginst the dog. I have not 
a word to say against the dog keeper. In my own 
small way I have kept dogs myself. (Laughter and 
prolonged cheers.) But, my lords, it is possible to 
have too much of a good thing. The great ministers 
of the past knew that only by keeping the canine 
population within rigid limits would that popula- 
tion remain a blessing and not a curse. Enough dogs 

141 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

are as good as a feast. If we have more than enough 
I gravely fear we shall be as good as a feast for them. 
(Laughter and cheers.) Enough dogs eat our rats. 
More would eat us. Once remove this tax and the 
sole restriction upon the wholesale breeding of dogs, 
the sole inducement to the wholesale submersion 
of young dogs — (laughter) — will have been swept 
away. I have no desire to exaggerate, my lords. 
Obscure though I may be, my only thought is to 
give the plain opinion of a plain man who wishes 
in his humble manner to do his countrymen ser- 
vice. But the terms of this Bill bring inevitably 
before my eyes the vision of an England covered 
with litters next year, covered with packs of grown 
and voracious hounds next year. We cannot feed 
them. The thin veneer of civilisation will slip from 
them, and they will become again as the wild wolves 
of the woods. I see -the infinite thousands of dogs 
sweeping the counties from South to Noith . London 
will be devastated. The horror will rush over our 
great midland metropolis, over the thriving cotton 
looms of Lancashire, over the immense and flour- 
ishing iron districts of the North, a vast and por- 
tentous pestilence, growing daily blacker and more 
foul. The land will be oppressed as by the shadow 
of death itself ; no moving thing will be seen save lean 
and insatiate shapes, which will pad along with fiery 
eyes and lolling tongues, exhausted with the absorption 
of human blood. Europe is arming. England is beset 
by enemies, grim, intent, armipotent. The day will 
come. They will spring. And when they come they will 
find an England, lonely, desolate, depopulated. Eng- 
land like Jezebel will have been devoured by the dogs. 
142 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

My lords, 1 say nothing of the enormous con- 
stitutional importance of this Bill. (Loud cheers.) 
The dog-licence duty has from time immemorial 
been an integral part of our constitution. I need not 
remind you of the immortal words used by the 
younger Pitt on the introduction of the Merchand- 
ise Bill of 1802 : " Our Constitution is a delicate 
and complex fabric. Tamper with one insignificant 
thread or joist of it and you bring the whole to the 
ground in ruin, irretrievable, irreparable." (I^ud 
cheers.) I can only add that I most bitterly regret 
that some of your lordships should have seen fit to 
advocate the rejection of this Bill, and that I have 
no option but to back my opinion by emphatically 
abstaining from voting. (Dead silence.) 



H3 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



II 



BY THE RIGHT HON. DAVID LLOYD 
GEORGE 

19 — ; he, as Premier, having introduced a Women's 
Suffrage Bill. The reports ore taken from " The 
Times." 

I. INSIDE THE HOUSE. STYLE : — ^THE SUCKING DOVE 

Mr. Lloyd George (Carnarvon Boroughs) : Well, 
now, Mr. Speaker, I really didn't think it of the 
right honourable gentleman (Mr. Balfour). I thought 
this was a matter upon which we had all agreed 
years and years ago. When I introduced this Bill I 
thought we should during this debate have a sort 
of little Hague Conference. Here, said I to myself, 
are the Liberals ; they all want to give votes to 
women. Here are the Socialists ; they've been like 
a regiment of human megaphones demanding votes 
for women. And here are the right honourable 
gentleman and his friends who, at any rate during 
the general election — (laughter) — almost worried 
themselves into a rapid decline in their anxiety to 
prove their devotion to the cause of women's suff- 
rage. (Opposition dissent.) Well, perhaps, they 
weren t quite as fanatical as dervishes about it, but 
seriously, Mr. Speaker, nine out of ten of the right 
honourable gentleman's supporters, at least nine 
out of ten, I should say, said, either in their election 
addresses, or in platform speeches, or in replies to 

144 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

deputations, that they were in favour of the prin- 
ciple of this reform. So, of course, I thought in my 
childish ignorance that they meant to vote for it. 
(Ministerial cheers and laughter.) I didn't knovir 
the way their ingenious minds worked. (Ministerial 
cheers and laughter.) I thought that my Bill would 
go down like — what shall I say ? — like butter down 
a cat's throat. And now I find the right honourable 
gentleman turning and rending my unfortunate 
little non-controversial measure with the savage 
ferocity of a rattlesnake with a red-hot poker on its 
tail. (Loud laughter, in which Mr. Balfour heartily 
joined.) 

Well, really, I don't know what to make of it. I 
didn't hear any arguments from the right honour- 
able gentleman. (Derisive Opposition laughter and 
cries of " Oh ! Oh ! ") No, seriously, I didn't recog- 
nise any genuine arguments. I know the right hon- 
ourable gentleman has as kind a heart as any man 
in the House. (General cheers.) He wouldn't, if I 
may say so, hurt a hair on the head of a gnat. (Laugh- 
ter.) I've promised to consider every hard case, 
every objection on points of detail that members on 
either side of the House may bring forward. If you've 
any fault to find with any clause or any sub-section 
in this Bill, you've only to bring it before me, and I 
promise faithfully that I will give it my most earnest 
consideration. I'll do that. I'll meet you half way. 
I'll meet you more than half way I'll run to meet 
you with open arms. (Laughter.) So, come, come ; 
just let's see if we can't agree about this business. I 
don't believe the right honourable gentleman is 
mean. I don't believe he likes to be thought mean. I 

145 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

don't think he'd like people in the country to say 
that he and his friends were mean. In many and 
many a humble cottage to-night, where the rain is 
pouring through holes in the thatch, where the only 
light comes from a candle stuck in a broken bottle, 
where there isn't a crust left in the cupboard, and 
there isn't even a little bit of coal in the grate, poor 
old women are sitting waiting for what this House 
can give them without harming anybody the least 
little bit in the world. Some of you have had sisters 
and mothers. (Ministerial cheers.) Surely you aren't 
going to let it be said that the Opposition was so 
niggardly, so callous, so hard-hearted as to refuse a 
poor miserable old vote to a poor old woman, to 
block up the little ray of sunshine which would 
light up with its flickering gleam 

Earl Winterton (Sussex, Horsham) : Garn ! 
Stow that slime ! 

The Speaker : I must remind the noble earl that 
the language of everyday life is not permissible 
within the walls of this House. 

Earl Winterton : Of course, Mr. Speaker, I sub- 
mit to your ruling and withdraw. 

II. OUTSIDE THE HOUSE. STYLE : — THE FORTITER IN 
MODO 

These Tories ! Look at 'em ! What a mingy, 
sting) lot they are. (Loud cheers.) What a greedy, 
miserable crew. (Loud cheers.) The more you give 
'em, the more they want. These Lansdownes and 
Rothschilds, and dukes, and lord-knows-whats, 
why, they've got stomachs like the Bottomless Pit. 
(Laughter.) You can't fill 'em. Here's this Woman's 

146 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

Suffrage Bill, the People's Bill. (Loud cheers.) 1 
came to 'em, and offered 'em concessions. I said to 
'em, " I'll give you anything within reason ; ask 
me anything within reason, and you shall have it." 
(Loud cheers.) I offered 'em concessions by the 
bushel — hogsheads, perhaps, are more in their line. 
(Laughter.) I raised the age limit for 'em ; I told 
'em the Tory agents could stand outside the polling 
booths as the women came in and examine their 
teeth to see there was no cheating about age. (Loud 
laughter.) I increased the property limit. (Cheers 
and dissent.) I told 'em I'd exempt mothers-in-law 
if they liked. (Roars of laughter.) What did they do ? 
They took up my concessions in their bloated, blue- 
blooded fingers, and flung 'em back in my face with 
a curse. (Cries of exasperation.) Faugh ! It makes 
one almost bilious to think of it ! These waddling 
old Tory members, these dilapidated, doddering, 
drivelling old dukes — (laughter) — they're plural 
voters, every man of 'em. They've got two votes 
apiece. (Shame !) They've got four votes apiece. 
(Shame ! and hisses.) Some of 'em have got six, 
eight, twenty, a hundred votes apiece. (Hisses.) 
Why, you'll hardly believe me, but there's one old 
monkey-faced idiot, who gets all his income from 
liquor, and spends it on the same, who has no less 
than six hundred and seventy votes. (Loud hisses.) 
Think of it ! One for every constituency in the 
country. You're all retail voters. These superior, 
fine gentlemen are wholesale voters. They're worth 
their weight in votes. They've got more votes than 
they can carry. They take 'em about in carts. (Loud 
laughter.) They've got bundles of 'em, faggots of 

H7 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

'em, stacks of 'em. (A voice : " Give it to 'em, sir ! " 
and cheers.) Isn't it mean ? Aren't they a lot of skin- 
flints ? Why, they'd sneak a marrow bone from a 
dog, or a penny from a blind man's tin. I ask 'em 
not to give up any of their innumerable votes — oh 
dear, no — but just to grant one poor little vote to 
every poor old woman in the country ; just one 
poor old vote to one poor old woman ; just a vote 
for a poor old woman who is sitting desolate, child- 
less, hungry, cold, beside her empty fireside. [Here 
the right honourable gentleman resumed his seat, 
displaying marked emotion.] 



148 



BY THE RT. HON. A. J. BALFOUR 

STYLE : THE ENLIGHTENING 

It is 1919, and the Unionist Government in power 
has introduced a Budget providing for the 50 per cent, 
taxation of land values. Much to Mr. Balfour's sur- 
prise the Liberals have impugned his attitude, and he 
rises a little flushed or — as the Liberal Parliamentary 
sketch-tvriters would say — " purple with rage." 

Mr, Speaker, I really find myself totally unable 
to comprehend the most extraordmary objections 
which have been lodged against myself and my 
friends by honourable gentlemen opposite. One 
might have imagined that an Opposition which was 
confronted with a measure embodying principles 
which they themselves had, in however crude and 
incomplete a manner, first formulated and developed 
in legislative form, a measure which by what 
appears to be common consent they do not at this 
moment assign to the category of Bills the sub- 
stance of which encounters criticism from them on 
fundamental grounds, but into that other category 
of Bills which are based upon tenets which find 
general acceptance not merely upon one side, but 
upon both sides of the House, one would have sup- 
posed that an Opposition confronted with such a 
measure, providing for the financial necessities of 
the year, might well have found it both dignified 
149 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

and convenieni to confine their attention, or, at all 
events, their hostile attention, to points of detail in 
the measure which, in their judgment, call for 
proper comment, and might have refrained from 
indulging in those more general observations to 
which the House is accustomed when matters are 
under discussion regarding which there is a wide 
and deep cleavage of opinion. That is what one 
would have supposed. That is the gross error — 
(Ministerial cheersj — into which one would have 
fallen. Apparently our view of what is right and 
proper procedure is not shared by gentlemen oppo- 
site. Unable, apparently, to vent their political 
spleen upon our present, they have vented it upon 
our past. (Loud Ministerial cheers and Opposition 
laughter.) 

If I be correct, and I think I am correct — (Minis- 
terial cheers) — the gravamen of the accusation 
against us is that we opposed the land taxes of 
1909, and that we have introduced the land taxes of 
1919. (Mr. Lloyd George : " Hear, hear.") I 
understand the right honourable gentleman to give 
his assent to that proposition. He and his colleagues 
have done me the honour of quoting some hoary 
and venerable observations — (laughter) — of mine 
that I confess I had myself forgotten, from speeches 
I made during the debafes upon the right honour- 
able gentleman's first and — if I may venture to 
make such distinctions between things which to all 
save the most fastidiously discriminating of eyes 
must seem equally bad — (prolonged Ministerial 
cheers) — his most mischievous Budget. I acknow- 
ledge I was rejoiced to hear these old acquaintances 
150 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

again. If I may say so without traversing the fron- 
tiers of a due modesty, I never until now fully real- 
ised how great a degree of justice and force there 
was in the contentions I then advanced. (Cheers 
and laughter.) But for the life of me I cannot un<.ler- 
stand why these passages should have been exhumed 
from the nether profundities of Hansard, least of all 
by honourable gentlemen opposite. What do they 
prove ? They prove that I and my friends behind 
me oflFered a very solid and a very strenuous resist- 
ance to proposals that we thought then and think 
now to have been preposterous proposals, that we 
opposed the land taxes of ten years ago. Well, what 
of that ? What if we did oppose them ? I don't deny 
that I did. (Ironical Opposition laughter.) I don't 
think that any of my friends will deny that they did. 
If anybody does deny that we did I shall be prepared 
most emphatically to contradict him. But even 
allowing — ^which I am far from allowing, I shall 
come to that presently — that we have been super- 
ficially inconsistent, are honourable gentlemen 
opposite so ignorant of the most elementary forms 
of our constitutional practice, of that Parliamentary 
custom which in the opinion of many of us has a 
higher sanction even than the law of the land, as to 
think that the speeches of an Opposition ten years 
ago either are, or should be, or should be expected 
to be, vaUd criteria of the actions of a Government 
to-day, or to maintain that a party which has once 
dissented from the policy underlying a Bill ought, 
when in power, steadfastly and for all eternity 
to refrain from adapting itself to changed con- 
ditions when that Bill has become an Act ? Have 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

honourable and right honourable gentlemen opposite, 
political Miltons and Savonarolas — (laughter) — 
ever held that verbal consistency should be the 
primary objective of men of affairs ? I do not think, 
sir, that the most rabid doctrinaire, I do not think 
that even the right honourable gentleman who 
represents Dundee — (loud laughter) — would sup- 
port that position in his calmer moments. 

But, quite apart from this matter of literal con- 
sistency, upon which such great and, as I think, such 
undue stress has been laid, there is a question of 
fact. If honourable gentlemen had really honoured 
my old speeches as wholes with the careful scrutiny 
they have bestowed upon isolated and detached 
sentences from them — (cheers) — they would have 
discovered that we have not been even inconsistent. 
What did we attack ? We did not attack taxes. 
(Cheers.). We did not attack land taxes. (Cheers 
and ironical cheers.) What we attacked and all that 
we attacked was the land taxes of 1909. In our 
speeches we specifically made this clear. We dis- 
tinctly and in terms repudiated any objection to 
the principle that the State should, if its financial 
needs should be justifiably pressing, absorb a fair 
portion of unearned increment in land. In my 
speech upon the Second Reading of the 1909 Bud- 
get I plainly characterised that doctrine as a legiti- 
mate doctrine. (Ministerial cheers.) I repeated my 
statement in slightly difi^erent words at Manchester, 
and many of my friends pursued a similar course. 
Not merely that, but, if I rightly remember, we 
actually pressed for the insertion of the specific 
word, " unearned," before " increment " in the 

152 



IMAGINARY SPEECHES 

text of the Finance Bill, and our request was — In- 
credible though it may seem — flatly refused by the 
Government of the day on the ostensible ground 
that if it were granted legal complications would 
follow. Did that action on our part connote any 
deep-rooted reluctance to secure for the commun- 
ity wealth the community had created ? (Cheers.) 
Was there anything selfish and sinister in that ? 
(Loud cheers.) Still, we fought the taxes. Agreed ; 
but why ? We fought them for the very simple and 
sufficient reason that they were not what their 
authors professed them to be. (Cheers.) We objected 
to an impost so small — two per cent., or five or ten 
per cent., I forget the exact figure — that it pro- 
duced a gross revenue absolutely insignificant. We 
objected, moreover, to a tax which carried with it a 
scheme of valuation which entailed upon the State 
an expenditure infinitely greater than the revenue 
which was to accrue to the State. (Cheers.) Our 
objections were not academic ; they were business 
objections. They were founded not upon a creed of 
economics, but upon a creed of economy. (Cheers.) 
Can anyone say that there is even the remotest 
affinity, save the bare terminological one, between 
the tax we are proposing now and the tax they pro- 
posed then ? Out tax is a fifty per cent. It will bring 
in twenty millions this year. (Cheers.) The additional 
cost of valuation will be nothing. (Cheers.) The 
great increase which we have fortunately been able 
to promote in the number of owners of land will 
make it a far less invidious and undemocratic tax 
than was that of 1909. As far as I can deduce, sir, 
what the argument of the Opposition comes to is 

153 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

this : " You refused to waste money ten years ago; 
therefore you have no moral right to raise money 
now." (Loud and continued Ministerial cheers, 
during which the right honourable gentleman 
resumed his seat.) 



'54 



VI 
THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 



PART ONE 
STEPS TO PARNASSUS 

I 

THOROUGHNESS IN PLAGIARISING 

Doubtless the fault arises rather from lack of 
vigorous training and sound precept ; but no in- 
telligent reader of the bulk of our contemporary 
poets can have failed to observe that their plagiar- 
isms, though frequent, are not quite whole-hearted. 
Occasionally the weakness of the flesh asserts itself, 
and the poet will put in a line which has been some- 
what altered, or even (for such is the hardihood of 
some) a line which expresses in his own language a 
thought which is to a markedly perceptible extent 
his own. Naturally these flaws do not escape the 
notice of our ever-vigilant critics. Their ears are 
well attuned to echoes, and they have scant mercy 
for a sound which has in it nothing of reflection or 
ricochet. Many young poets, well-intentioned 
enough, must have been caused piteous heart-burn- 
ing by the severe reprimands dealt out to them 
merely because they have from time to time 
forgotten their " sources." We know that their 
treatment has been unjust. We know that they 
have been dealt with hardly when they have con- 
scientiously done their best. They have striven 
might and main never to let roses and lilies out of 
their sight ; never to forget the silence that is among 

157 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

the lonely hills ; and always to remember that elms 
are immemorial and most other things immeasur- 
able, infinite, immortal, deathless, eternal or ever- 
lasting. But they have failed ; and they have failed 
because they have paid no respect to the old motto, 
" Be thorough ! " The masters of old time were 
greater than we ; we can only get near to them by 
imitating them ; and surely the most perfect form 
of imitation is literal transcription. There is no need 
to copy out whole poems as they stand. The corpus 
of English poetry is very large. With time and con- 
centration any number of lines can be found to fit 
each other metrically and with respect to rhyme. 
To quote once more from our rich national treasury 
of proverbial wisdom, " An ounce of example is 
worth a pound of argument." Perhaps — such at 
least is the devout hope of the present writer — the 
following little lines, hastily strung together in the 
spare moments of a busy life, may be of help to 
many who need but a little judicious counsel to set 
their feet on the high road which leads to Success 
and Fame : 

A VISION OF TRUTH 

As it fell upon a day 

I made another garden, yea, 

I got me flowers to strew the way 

Like to the summer's rain ; 
And the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 
" Poor moralist, and what art thou ? 
But blessings on thy frosty pow. 

And she shall rise again ! " 



158 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore, 
A highly respectable Chancellor, 
A military casque he wore 

Half-hidden from the eye ; 
The robin redbreast and the wren. 
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen, 
Heckety-peckety my black hen, 

He took her with a sigh. 

The fight is o'er, the battle won, 
And furious Frank and fiery Hun, 
Stole a pig and away he run 

And drew my snickersnee, 
A gulf divides the best and worst 
" Ho ! bring us wine to quench our thirst 1 " 
We were the first who ever burst 

Under the greenwood tree. 

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep 
(She is a shepherdess of sheep), 
Bid me to weep and I will weep. 

Thy tooth is not so keen, 
Then up and spake Sir Patrick Spens 
Who bought a fiddle for eighteenpence 
And reverently departed thence, 

His wife could eat no lean. 

If an epilogue be desired, the following may per- 
haps serve as a useful model : 

'Twas roses, roses all the way 
Nor any drop to drink ; 



159 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
Or again : 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow 

Whose goodness faileth never, 
For men may come and men may go, 

But I go on for ever. 

Some readers may — indeed, very likely will — con- 
tend that in one or two places the thread of the 
narrative in the above lines is a little tangled, or 
even that many of the lines have no obvious con- 
nection with one another. 

But that' really does not matter. Speaking as one 
who would not willingly mislead a fly, I tell my 
brother-poets, with the most whole-hearted con- 
cern for their welfare, that obscurity and apparent 
discontinuity of parts will be all to their advantage. 
For if the critics cannot understand your argument 
or detect the junction of your images they will call 
you a symbolist. And that will be so nice for you. 



160 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

II 

THE DIFFICULTY OF RHYME 

The use of the rhyming dictionary has been 
general for many years, and bouts-rimes (or poems 
constructed after the rhymes have been set down 
in order) have been known ever since the Middle 
Ages. Both these methods are clumsy, in so far as 
they do not give the writer any indication as to what 
rhymes he shall choose in the first instance. They 
are clumsy and they are haphazard ; a young and 
inexperienced poet attempting to write bouts-rimes 
(even with the assistance of a rhyming dictionary) 
must be constantly baffled and disheartened by 
finding that he has chosen groups of rhymes that 
do not go well together, and that convey images 
which cannot easily be collocated. He might, for 
example, select the rhymes " mullet " and " pullet" 
and the rhymes " chant" and " hierophant." If he 
does this he will find it exceedingly difficult to link 
his poem together. Undoubtedly, with luck he 
might hit upon a pair of rhymes that would fit easily 
in with " mullet " and " pullet " ; as, for instance, 
" surf " and " turf " : 

I would rather be a pullet 

On the tirrf 
Than a red or grey mullet 

In the surf, 

makes very good sense, even though it be not per- 
haps one of the more ethereal flights of poetry. But 

i6i 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

left to dhoose his own pairs of rhymes from a dictionary 
and to arrange them himself for bouts-rim6s, the poet 
may still find his material very stubborn. 

The solution is this. If a man have not the good 
memory to retain rhymes in his brain and the knack 
of arranging them when he has them, the safest and 
easiest thing for him to do is to profit by the ex- 
perience of past generations. We do not scorn to 
use the accumulations that have been handed down 
to us in other departments of science and art ; why 
should we neglect those which have been piled up 
by our bards. Painter derives from painter know- 
ledge of design, of the mixing of paints, and of the 
harmonising of colours. Rhyme is merely the shell, 
or part of the shell, of a poem, and even those who 
are purists on the subject of general plagiarism can 
surely have no objection to a poet making use of a 
rhyme-scheme that has been found convenient and 
shapely by another poet who has gone before him. 
Let poets who are troubled by rhyme, in fact, borrow 
and adapt arrangements of rhyme from works already 
in existence. 

An ounce of example, as one has often observed 
before, is worth many ounces of precept. Let us 
take, for instance, so well-known and deservedly 
popular a nursery rhyme as : 

Jack and Jill 

Went up the hill 
To fetch a pail of water. 

Jack fell down 

And broke his crown, 
And Jill came tumbling after. 

162 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

Detaching the rhymes from their context we get 
the following arrangement : 

Jill, 

Hill, 

Water, 

Down, 

Crown, 

After. 

These rhymes are not particularly convenient 
ones, and a restriction is introduced by the occurr- 
ence of the proper name " Jill " at the end of the 
line. This necessitates the mention in our own poem 
of a lady name Jill. But, after all, it is a pretty name. 
Given these rhymes, we can without a moment's 
hesitation turn out a graceful little lyric like this : 

I would I were with gentle Jill 
From dawn till eve on Bloxham Hill 

High above Severn water ; 
All day we'd gaze entranced down 
Upon the river's silver crown. 

Nor look before or after. 

Should a whimsical touch be desired, the last line 
might be made to run : 

And home to supper after. 

We see here that not only have we been saved the 
trouble of finding and co-ordinating rhymes, but 
that the rhymes really provided have given us a clue 
to our subject-matter. Yet our resultant poem is not 
in the least like the original. Something new has 

163 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

been added to the rich treasury of English verse. 
Let us take another example : 

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, 
She had so many children she didn't know what to 

do, 
So she gave them some broth without any bread, 
And whipped them all soundly and put them to 

bed. 
Our rhyme scheme here will run as follows : 

Shoe, 
Do, 
Bread, 
Bed. 

Little or no cogitation will give us a result Uke this, 
fully up to the standard of most contemporary 
verse : 

Lo ! I am poor and pincheth sore the shoe, 
I cannot go it as I used to do, 
Natheless I'll be content so that I've bread, 
A roof above, a pallet for my bed. 

That is in the dignified facetious style. But the 
rhymes given are equally suited to the note of pas- 
sion and solemn reverence : 

I am not worthy to unlace thy shoe ; 
Surely thou dost not breathe as others do, 
Nectared ambrosia sure must be thy bread, 
And doves thy messengers, and clouds thy bed ! 

Or, yet again, if our rhymes be taken from the chorus 

of a song recently popular in our lighter places of 

164 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

entertainment, a poem like the following may easily 
be constructed : 

Hail, holy Liberty ! When thou dost speak 

A glory all glory out-shining all men see, 
Thy glance, the thunderous perfume of thy tresses, 

Bear dreams that trample base reality ! 
O, should'st thou open once again thy hand 

And tell abroad the splendour of thy name. 
The whole great universe should be thy picture 

And bliss make bright the universal frame. 

Enough has, it is hoped, been said to indicate the 
nature and use of the method proposed. With this 
key a new Shakespeare may (who knows ?) unlock 
his heart. 



165 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



III 

THE HUMOROUS VERSE WRITER'S 
EQUIPMENT 

There must be many a man who has a strong 
desire to write humorous verse for our weekly 
periodicals but whose efforts are constantly thwarted 
by his inability to think of anything funny. All 
around him he sees men who are apparently quite 
devoid of a sense of humour but who seem able to 
write any quantity of fluent humorous verse that 
fetches good prices. Such men may be grateful for 
a few hints on the technique of humorous verse 
construction. Knowledge is power, and it is the 
duty of those who possess knowledge to communi- 
cate it to their less fortunate fellows who stand in 
need of it. 

The plain truth of the matter is this. There is no 
need whatever for our young entertainer to have 
any funny or original notions of his own. If a few 
simple rules are followed the humour will make 
ITSELF ! These indispensable rules are few in num- 
ber, easy to memorise, and easy to observe. 

The first rule is that normal phraseology should 
as much as possible be avoided. Use either slang or 
stilted circumlocutions. A judicious admixture of 
the two is best. Surprise is the essence of humour, 
and there is no surer way of producing it than this. 
Long words and periphrastic sentences have, when 
employed in avowedly humorous verse, an irresist- 
ibly facetious air. There is no necessity for the writer 

i66 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

himself to see anything amusing in them ; he is 
sure of that effect upon the reader that it is his 
desire to achieve. 

Take an example. Suppose you have chosen as 
your subject the death of a favourite Pomeranian 
dog. The rough draft of your conception runs as 
follows : "He was a nice dog. I had him a long 
time. He was given me by an uncle. I am very sorry 
he is dead." That in itself is not very funny. But it 
may very easily be developed into a second prose 
draft which will run as follows : " He was a hound 
of benevolent and kindly disposition. Long ere the 
days of Lloyd Georges and Churchills he was estab- 
lished, a household deity, upon my hearth. He was 
bestowed upon me by an avuncular relative, a good 
old cove. I weep bitterly because he has kicked the 
bucket." 

The second rule is that you should, whenever 
possible, illustrate your text with any illustrations 
save the ones that naturally occur to you. Let us 
suppose that the dog was a nice dog. The first thing 
that occurs to you as an illustration of this quality 
is that he licked your hand. It would be permissible 
to mention this in a roundabout form, such as " he 
deposited lingual moisture on my digits " ; but it 
would be better to keep clear of it altogether. Your 
plan is to think of some species of benevolent and 
pleasant act that could not be performed by a dog 
and to attribute that to the deceased. Say, for in- 
stance, " He often mixed my drinks (liquid bever- 
ages) for me when I was tired," or, " He could 
always be relied upon to make a fourth for me at 
bridge." 

167 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

These two rules will be quite sufficient to ensure 
the proper management of your subject-matter, 
with the proviso that you always speak of small or 
common things with great veneration and of vener- 
able and solemn and great things with familiarity. 
With regard to form there are several small things 
to remember. Your metre and the length of the line 
should be determined by the first two lines that 
occur to you. The key to success in these matters 
lies in the management of rhyme. Jn the first place 
you should select unusual words and insist on find- 
ing rhymes for them ; this process will lead to many 
very amusing results. In the second place you should 
when possible, put proper names at the end of lines 
and find rhymes for them. And, as a matter of 
general practice, you should have a preference for 
bi- and tri-syllabled rhymes over those of one 
syllable. Better than sacrifice an unusual tri-syll- 
abled rhyme, wander from your train of thought 
and let the rhyme suggest any divagation or paren- 
thesis it will. All such things will contribute to the 
desired element of surprise. The following lines 
have been constructed on these principles without 
the help of any peculiar individual skill or knack : 

Hail and farewell, hail and farewell, my Fido, 

Most charitable of the canine race. 
Surely none ever mourned a hound as I do. 

That peerless miracle of strength and grace ; 
Never was hunter fleeter in the chase, 

Never was friend more jovial at the table ; 
I choke with sobs, the tears run down my face, 

I mean to weep as long as I am able. 
1 68 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

Long, long ago he came from Pomerania, 

Long ere the days of Churchill and such refuse, 
Brought by a relative who had a mania 

For buying dogs and giving them to nephews ; 
A good old cove, albeit of rather stiff views 

About the rights of relatives avuncular. 
Who had one of those trumpet things the deaf use, 

Also a nasal ornament carbuncular. 

Never didst fail to make a fourth at auction. 

To gossip when I felt like conversation, 
Or hold thy canine peace when I would talk shun. 

Or join me in convivial relaxation. 
O noblest of thy tikey generation, 

I am so sick that you have kicked the bucket 
That I shall go on mourning your prostration 

Until my friends petition me to chuck it. 

It is possible that you do not think this poem 
funny. Nor do I ; in fact, I think it is repulsively 
silly. But you must admit that it is like many others 
that are classified as humorous, and that with the 
aid of the above hints you could have written it 
yourself. It would be certain of acceptance by most 
journals. 



169 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

IV 
SOME ESSENTIALS OF CRITICISM 

It would be ridiculous to pretend to instruct any 
young man in re&pect of judgment. It is impossible 
to inculcate by maxim, rule or example, a faculty 
for the proper discrimination of good or bad in 
literature. In that sense criticism is either born in a 
man or not born in him, and little more can be said 
of it. But there is another kind of critic than the 
born judge of letters ; there is the practising critic, 
whose duty it is to fill a certain amount of space in 
our daily and weekly newspapers with what are 
called " reviews " of books, and with articles on 
authors, dead and alive. In the absence of a good 
manual of their craft these men, at present, have to 
acquire a mastery of it very painfully and slowly 
th-Tough practice. It is not the intention of the present 
writer to supply that lack, but he may be doing young 
critics some slight service if he gives a few hints on 
the subject. Such hints the young are not likely to 
obtain from older brethren in the profession, as 
frank speech about their technique is not common 
among them. 

For convenience one may make here a division 
between the preparatory work necessarily precedent 
to the critical career, and the actual practice of criti- 
cism. What is the minimum of equipment which a 
man should possess if he is to make a really con- 
siderable figure as a critic .'* We are, be it under- 
stood, leaving taste out of the question ; on the one 

170 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

hand, it cannot, as we have said, be taught, and, -on 
the other hand, tastes differ ; and, whatever a critic's 
tastes may be, he is in a safe enough position if he 
possesses the requisite amount of learning. And 
this learning is not a difficuh thing to acquire. 

A critic must have a good memory ; if he have 
that all things are made much easier for him. And 
he must have a good memory for this reason : it is 
necessary that he should remember what he reads. 
He need not read many literary works — poems, 
essays and what not. If he reads them — the thing 
can be done very rapidly, since the motive is rather 
a business motive than a desire for spiritual or 
aesthetic sensations — so much the better ; but it is 
rather a work of supererogation. One or two works 
by each author will in any case be sufficient ; but 
what is essential is that the critic should know what 
may be called the " plots " of a great number of 
works by a great number of authors. These plots 
and their atmospheres may be obtained from pre- 
faces, from biographies, and, most of all, from other 
reviews. It is a prime necessity that the critic should 
read a very great deal of contemporary criticism. 
From this he will discover what various authors 
stand for (as Ibsen for revolt and emancipation and 
protest against the " compact majority "), what are 
these authors' leading literary characteristics (as the 
" subtle irony " of Anatole France and the " bar- 
baric yawp " of Walt Whitman) and, above all, who 
are the proper authors with which to deal at any 
particular moment. 

This latter consideration, save for those few 
critics who specialise in one author and acquire an 

171 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

encyclopaedic knowledge of his writings, is a matter 
of prime importance. You must not hunt about for 
authors whom you yourself prefer, nor must you 
write about unknown men, or great men to whom 
at the moment no one else is devoting any attention. 
Very often the way is quite clear for you. The cen- 
tenary of the birth or death of any writer calls im- 
peratively for an estimate of his place in literature 
and an epitome of that all-important thing his 
** message." The appearance, again, of a new col- 
lected edition will call for similar studies. But 
beyond all this there are always certain authors who 
are, so to speak, in the air. How exactly this comes 
about it is difficult to say. In part it is due to a 
" boom " in some modern author who, after a num- 
ber of years' obscurity during which but a few 
people have appreciated him (not including your- 
self), attains a sudden hold over the public or a 
sudden vogue amongst intellectual folk which impels 
continual articles about him and invariable mention 
of him in articles about other men. And sometimes 
it is traceable to natural exhaustion and reaction. 
Man is an animal fond of variety. A continual sur- 
feit of one dish cloys his appetite. If he reads about 
Shelley all one year he wishes to read all about Keats 
the next year ; if one year you have written about 
nobody save Gorki and Borrow, next year may find 
you hard at work on Tolstoi and Sir Thomas Browne. 
Whoever it be, you will always be safe enough if 
you keep your eyes and ears open ; that soul-of-the- 
crowd of which modern psychologists write would 
almost seem to work amongst reviewers in some 
special manner ; so swiftly and imperceptibly does 
172 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

there spread from one to another what may be called 
the " consciousness of vogue." 

You know whom to write about ; your mind is a 
calendar of the names, dates, characteristics and 
love affairs of all the greater writers of all ages and 
climes, and you have well-stocked libraries at hand 
where you may look up facts about any lesser person 
whom you may find it desirable to mention ; in 
what style shall your articles be written ? 

Firstly, keep your imagination and your sense of 
humour (if you are endowed with such) in check ; 
as also your independent judgment. It will disturb 
your readers if you make jokes ; the exercise of 
imagination will demand from them a mental effort 
which they do not desire to make (or they would be 
reading books) ; and the exercise of independent 
judgment is both insolent and an act of treachery to 
the whole body of critics. 

Secondly, your work will gain much in impres- 
siveness and weight if you decorate it with a maxi- 
mum number of references to authors, living and 
dead. Remember that almost any author may be 
mentioned in connection with almost any other. If 
he cannot be brought in for comparison he can be 
brought in for contrast ; and, failing these, he can 
be brought in by way of parenthesis. Perhaps an 
illustration or two may make this more clear. 

(i) " Mr. Timmins is a great satirist. He is in the 
true line of descent from Aristophanes and Lucian, 
Rabelais and Cervantes, Swift and Byron. It is true 
that each of these great masters had qualities of 
which he is devoid and that he has qualities which 
none of them possessed. For a parallel, for example, 

173 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

to his subtle artistry of phrase we should have to go 
to Walter Pater, and we can remember no one since 
Catullus (except perhaps Heine) who could so sud- 
denly etch intense passion in six flaming words." 

(2) " Mr, Peakyblinder's verse has not the medi- 
tative calmness of Wordsworth's, nor the lyrical 
enthusiasm of Shelley's, but in its way it is unique." 

(3) " The late Mark Twain in one of his books 
evidenced as proof of the stupidity of the ant that 
instead of walking round a blade of grass which 
stood in its way it would go up one side and down 
the other. We are far from imputing stupidity to 
Miss Chaffers, but we confess that the laboriousness 
of her methods puts us strongly in mind of S. L. 
Clemens' ant." 

Thirdly, as to phraseology. Individual phrases, 
if you read sufficient current criticism, will come 
ready enough to your pen. Do not forget to use the 
word " stuff^ " at least once in every article, as : 
" This is no ordinary book, it is compact of the very 
stuff" of man's existence." Other useful phrases are 
legion in number, and a few specimens, chosen at 
random, must suffice. " The root of the matter," 
" divine discontent," " lambent humour," " beau- 
tiful but ineffectual angel," " slim volume," " tears 
away shams and illusions," " haunting and elusive 
beauty," " that subtle sympathy which is the secret 
of his spell," " rare tenacity and singleness of pur- 
pose," " that vein of cynicism that mars so much 
of his best work," " a veritable mine of quaint lore," 
" decked in the shreds and tatters of an outworn 
philosophy " : these are but a causal string which 
might be lengthened indefinitely. With respect to 

174 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 
more sustained passages, there are two chief ways of 
making them effective. One is to take a phrase and 
repeat it several times in different forms. The second 
is to fasten on any metaphorical expression which 
comes uppermost as you write, and to elaborate the 
metaphor in all its details. As, for instance : 

" Professor Chubb says that Hawkins grafted 
the French variety of lyric drama on to the native 
English stem. That in a sense is true, but it needs 
qualification. Hawkins did so graft the foreign growth 
on our English tree. But in doing so he stripped 
that foreign growth of its dead and diseased leaves, 
roughened its effeminately smooth bark, multiplied 
its blossoms and gave a new vitality and a new activity 
to its sap." 



^75 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

PART TWO 

MODELS FOR THE VERSE WRITERS 

I 

THE EXQUISITE SONNET 

No purple mars the chalice ; not a bird 
Shrills o'er the solemn silence of thy fame. 
No echo of the mist that knows no name 

Dims the fierce darkness of the odorous word. 

The shadowy sails of all the world are stirred, 
The pomps of hell go down in utter flame, 
And never a magic master stands to shame 

The hollow of the hill the Titans heard. 

O move not, cease not, heart ! Time's acolyte 
Frustrates forlorn the windows of the west 
And beats the blinding of our bitter tears, 
Immune in isolation ; whilst the night 

Smites with her^tark immortal palimpsest 
The green arcades of immemorial years ! 



176 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

II 

THE HELL-FOR-LEATHER BALLAD 

('Tis a mile and a mile as a man may march 

With Hope and his sins for load 
Or ever he win from the Marble y\rch 

To the end of the Tottenham Road !) 

The wind was cold and the sky was black 
And the lights were ranged for a feast 

When w" turned our steps from the Edgware track 
And faced the yearning East. 

O fair is the rose and fair the vine 

And sweet the sound of the lute ! 
But Self ridge's towered like a Sphinx's shrine 

And mocked us, massive and mute ! 

Dark on our path lay the w reaking wrath 

Of a thousand nights and days ; 
But there like the fangs that a boarhound hath 

Stood the challenging gates of Jay's ! 

And we steeled our breasts and we clashed our teeth 
Though our limbs were numb with pain, 

Though the jaws of the pavement clung beneath 
As each tortuous yard was slain. 

Great blood-gouts fell where the Circus yawned 

And a drop and a drop (O Christ !) 
Where Lewis and Evans and Marshall and Snell- 
grove 
Did keep their tongueless tryst ! 
177 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

The white lamp flared and the windows stared 

(Each pane was a jeering face I) 
And ghosts that lurked in the doorways glared 

At the murderers of space. 

But our feet were deep in the furrow set 
Our hands were firm on the plough, 

And there rang in ears that could not forget 
The voiceless cry of the Now. 

And the last mile died and the last hour sped, 

And as stars to the aching Soul 
When the ashes of dawn gasped rapid and red 

Glowed the portals of the goal. 

(So we found a fane for our weary feet 

And a pen and a pipe and a pot 
And we made us a Ballad of Oxford Street. . . 

And why the Devil not ?) 



•78 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

III 

THE CONTEMPT - FOR - CIVILISATION 
AND - GEOGRAPHY - FRATERNAL - WITH 
THE - ELEMENTS - PLEIN - AIR PIECE 

We have had our fill, my heart, 

Of the haunts of men, 
We will tread the stones of these cities 

Not ever again. 

So I take the road to the sunset 

My staff in my hand 
To make my peace ere I die 

With the sea and the land. 

For the deeps are caUing, calling, 

And the clouds sail slow, 
And the wild in my breast has wakened 

And I rise and go. 

Over the great wide spaces 

To the fields of morn 
To the hills and silent places 

Where the clouds are born. 

Where the curlew wheels o'er the heather 

That never man trod 
In the shine and the windy weather 

On the uplands of God. 

Over the seas and the mountains 

To the great world's end 
With the sun and the rain for my brothers 

And the wind for my friend. 
179 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

IV 
THE POETRY OF BROKEN SHACKLES 

The sun sets. 

Not a breath of wind stirs the surface of the sea, 

Not a ripple breaks tlie sheen of its placid mirror, 

And the fields, 

Weary of the heat and labour of the day, 

Lie motionless and green-brown as the day dies 

Immobile in the perfection of rest well- won. 

Never a sound threads the air save the distant croon- 
ing song 

Of a herdsman. 

And the voices of grazing sheep 

Bleating 

Quietly. 

And the faint murmur, far, far out over the waters 
of the plash of oars 

From a brown-sailed fisherman's boat whose canvas 
idly hangs 

From the masts. 

High in the west 

The battlemented clouds are piled 

Red and purple and dark blue, all girdled and glow- 
ing 

With the golden effulgence nf the orb of Apollo 
now half below the horizon. 

In the east with great strides 

Night comes on 

Inviolable, indomitable, immense, 



I So 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

Brushing wide heaven with the stridence of her 
rustHng wings, 

Enacting once again the old old tragedy with her 
pitiless wings, 

Striking fear into the heart of man 

And death into the heart of the day ; 

Proclaiming, exultant triumphant, with steely clar- 
ion the victory of her titanic wings. . . . 

The whole air is filled full with the clamour of in- 
numerable wings. 

The sun goes down 

Pop! 



i8i 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

■ V 

THE NEWSPAPER PASTORAL 

(N.B. — Every other line must be in italics). 

The summer is a-coming and the bumble bee's 
a-humming, 
(An' it's O to be with you, dear, by the shining Devon 
sea !) 
And the finches in the coppice know the golden 
whin's a-blooming, 
{An' it's O to be in Devon when the bloom is on the 
bee !) 

Last year with thoughtless rapture we trod the 
springy turf. 
{An' it's O to be in Devon when the bloom is on the 
bee !) 
Whilst we watched the light-foot breakers rolling 
on the mighty surf, 
{An' it's sweet it was with you, dear, by the shining 
Devon sea !) 

And we saw the ringdoves cooing in the little vale 
below, 
(// was Youth and Life and Love, dear, by the 
shining Devon sea !) 
Whilst the East was all a-gloom and the West was 
all aglow. 
(O / lost my heart in Devon when the bloom was on 
the bee !) 

182 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 
But now my footsteps wander through the city's 
toil and bustle, 
{An' I long to be in Devon where the bloom is on the 
beej) 
An' the rushes are a-rustle and the tushes are a- 
tustle, 
{An' I eat my heart for you, dear, and the shining 
Devon sea). 



'83 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

VI 

THE POEM OF STARTLING CONFESSION 

I crossed the outer gates of fire ; 

I scaled the purple towers of sin 

And brake the doors, and walked within 

The midnight chamber of desire. 

I burnt my brows with frankincense, 

My cheeks with nard and myrrh I smeared ; 

I bathed in crimson blood, nor feared 
To slake the slakeless thirsts of sense. 

Dead women lay about my feet ; 

I trod on them, I did not reck, 

I bound their hair about my neck, 
And ate their breasts, for they were sweet. 

Strange beasts did lurk about my ways 

That round my throat their folds did twist ; 
I drank their saffron breath and kissed 

Their snouts of pearl and chrysoprase. 

And things I did I may not tell 

With men whose names may not be told, 
Strange men whose breasts were tipped with 
gold, 

Whose eyes did gleam with sparks of hell. 

I cursed the saints, yea, with a curse 
I flung God from the pedestal. . . 



184 



THI': ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

VII 

THE SIMPLE PROSE-POEM 

I sat in my chair. 

I gazed into the fire, the fire with its caverns of light, 
with its luminous recesses the jnilses of which 
undulate, rise and fall, heave and subside, like 
the bosom of some beloved woman. 

The fire w^ith its wavering rainbow tongues. 

I sat in my chair, gazing. 

On a sudden I heard a step, soft a's a snowflake, 

There behind my chair, standing yet not standing, 
suspended as it were yet not suspended, stood 
the form of a man, which was neither of earth 
nor of heaven. Pale was his brow. Mis eyes of a 
profundity and Hquidity like the liquidity and 
profundity of pools in the utter depths of some 
remote sea where keel never swam nor lead 
sounded, shone with a light that was neither of 
heaven nor of earth. His cheeks were faintly 
hollowed as with the last loving touch of a 
sculptor's thumb, and his white tremulous lips, 
beardless as a boy's, spoke yet did not speak. 

" I have come," was the message. 

The stranger turned towards the door with a slight 
beckoning gesture. 

I knew him and I followed. 



185 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

VIII 

THE BACK - TO - THE - LAND - AND- 
FEDERATED-DIALECTS MORCEAU 

The yellow leaves from yonder tree 

Is vallin' wan by wan,, 
Jist like they vailed on 'er and me 

This vourty year agone. 
The saft and wistful drop of them 

Oi nivir cud abide 
Syne angels tuk awa' ma gem 

The year that Mary died. 

Gor dal 'ee zur, woy, stroike me pink 

'Er wuz my ownly j'y ; 
*Er bore me fust an' lawst, I think, 

Ten maidens an' a b'y. 
Ten maidens an' a b'y, Ochone ! 

But now they've wandered wide, 
The youngest left me 'ere alone 

The year that Mary died. 



x86 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

IX 

THE CELTIC LYRIC 

Seven dead men, Brigit, 

Came from the sea, 
(Mist on the waters 

And sorrow in the tree). 

Seven pallid men, Brigit, 

Cold from the sea. 
And each with his strange eyes 

Whispered to me : 

" O, sad voyagers, 

Whither are ye faring ? 

Do ye bring a tale of grief 
For desolate Eirinn ? " 

" Oisinn and Dubb we be, 

And Cucutullitore, 
And Fish and Fash and Fingall, 

They spoke never more. 

But each wove a warp, a warp, 

And each wove a weft 
Of lost stars and suns forlorn 

And moons bereft. 



187 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

X 

THE EPIGRAMMATIC EPIGRAM 

You say, my friend, thai Gladstone always bid 
The Hght be darkness and the night be Hght, 
I quite agree ; doubtless you may be right ; 

All I can say is — Gladstone never did. 



188 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

XI 

THE HANDS-ACROSS-THE-SEA POEM 

Sons of the Empire, boiul and free, 

Yellow imd black and brown, 
I greet you all where'er you be, 

Here ere the sun goes down ; 
Here, while the sunset flushes red 

The waves of England's main, 
I breathe the prayer our fathers said, 

And sing the song again. 

The ancient song that struck the sky 

When Roman standards flew. 
The song that smote the bastions high 

Of Philip's recreant crew ; 
The song that Drake and Nelson sang 

When Heaven flared with war, 
And echoed with the shots that rang 

O'er baflled Trafalgar. 

Sons of the Empire, Britain's sons, 

Here, as the darkness falls. 
Over your grey Sea-AIother's guns 

The warning clarion calls ; 
O, and I bid you now " God speed. 

Quit you like men, be true " ; 
Stand by us in the hour of need 

And we shall stand bv vou. 



189 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

XII (and last) 
THE IN-MEMORIAM ODE 

Lay on him laurel, rosemary, and rue, 

Roses and trailers of the sweet wood-bine, 
Gentle forget-me-not (was he not true ?) 

And sunflowers (did not his verses shine ?) 
O, pilfer all the sweets of all the wood, 

And all the musky blossoms of the vale 
(For was he not the brother of our blood ?) 

And strew them where he lies so still, so pale. 

A light, a Ught has gone, a star has fled, 

A sun is dimmed that lit the whole wide sky, 
The flame that burned a hemisphere is dead 

(O, and our stricken spirits murmur, " Why ? " 
Vain murmuring, vain sorrow, vain regret !) 

Is there no hope for us, no hope, not one ? 
Night thunders, " None ! " but we may not forget 

The wondrous glory of him who was our sun. 

There should he twenty- four verses more (" not 
counting the women and little children,'" as Rabelais 
would have said), hut these are enough. 



190 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

PART THREE 
MODELS FOR THE PROSE-WRITER 

I 
THE DESCRIPTIVE-PEREGRINATORY 

The sun, a ruddy and coruscating globe, was 
sinking over the low blue hills to the westward as 
I mounted the long white road that leads up to the 
ancient village of Molineaux-des-Sept-Vierges. 
Down in the valley to my left some cows were 
quietly grazing. They munched stolidly, imper- 
turbably, at the lush green grass of that rich Nor- 
mandy bottom just as they had munched any time 
these twenty centuries past. So the Visigoths saw 
them as they swept southward on their irresistible 
way to the doomed and waiting valleys of Spain. So 
the Franks, emerging, blue of eye and flaxen of 
hair, from the recesses of their German forests. So 
Charlemagne the Emperor, master of half Europe, 
as he rode quietly one day, maybe, with his swart 
and invulnerable train of warriors up the valley of 
the rapid Yolle, along the skirts of the Rocher Du 
Grand Boulanger, and thuswise up the little road 
trodden now by feet that Charlemagne never knew. 
They are all gone over, and the glory of them has 
departed. The Emperor lies — he has lain these many 
centuries — in his great tomb at Aix. And the 
munching kine remain, and the long white road, 
and the Uttle town on the hill-top. 

191 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

The trees by the roadside nistled as a little wind 
from over the distant sea breathed across hill and 
plain, bearing with it a savour of salt that smote 
sweetly and soothingly on the heated brow of the 
dusty and weary traveller. Somewhere a sheep 
bleated. Somewhere an unseen shepherd whistled 
softly to himself a fragment of some forgotten air. 
It \vas a plaintive air, wistful, sad, and a little melan- 
choly. He was out of sight. 

As I passed under a little archaic gate that guards 
the entrance to the village it was already dark. Here 
and there along the cobble-paved street, with its 
nests of low stone houses shrouded in the gathering 
gloom, the lights began to twinkle out in the leaded 
windows. First one, then two, then three, then four. 
They were yellow, that warm and consoling yellow 
that one sometimes sees in Southern countries when 
darkness falls and the lights are lit one by one. In a 
small cottage to my left a woman's shadow passed 
across the blind. She was feeding her baby. The 
stones rang beneath my tread. The world was very 
peaceful. . . . 

The landlord was a jovial old fellow, with hard 
features tanned by exposure, a bald pate, and little 
beady black eyes that twinkled when he laughed. 
He had fought, so he told me, at Sedan. He had 
taken part in that disastrous retreat from Poppot- 
Le-Boom when De Lozay (brother of that De 
Lozay whose heroism during the siege of the Pekin 
Legations was afterwards to be blazoned in letters 
of gold upon the scroll of history) had made his oft- 
quoted remark, " Mcs braves, hier j'etais qu'est- 
ce que c'est que 9a, demain je serais je ne sais quoi. 

192 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

Mais qu'importe ? " Twice he had been wounded, 
once seriously ; and on that occasion he had been 
nursed back to Ufe by the woman who afterwards 
became his wife. " Elle est mort, monsieur," said 
he, with the nearest approach to sadness that I saw 
him display ; and as for one fleeting instant he gazed 
into the great wood fire, the romance of this weather 
beaten child of the French earth suddenly unrolled 
before me. Strong in spirit, grey and steadfast of 
eye, she had been frail of body as a flower. Care- 
fully — very carefully — he had tended her, watching 
in agony as those sweet and wan and uncomplaining 
features grew tenser and whiter under the cruel hand 
of death. And at last she had gone and left him alone. 
Som.ewhere, I knew, in this old, rambling house 
with its low ceilings and its heavy furniture of oak, 
was a room consecrated to her memory, a room 
where the yellow blinds were always drawn, where 
a four-poster bed slept under a quiet old counter- 
pane of silk, where an old dress or two, maybe, 
hung undisturbed on the hooks on which their 
wearer long ago had placed them, where a faint 
scent of dead rose-leaves and lavender vaguely 
pervaded the air. 

I went to bed and slept the sleep of the just. No 
dreams broke in on the sleep that the kindly god 
shed like a dew upon my tired body. The first thing 
of which I was conscious was the little maid-serv- 
ant's charming pipe, " Voici d'eau chaud de m'sieu.." 
Somewhat leisurely I dressed, content with myself 
and the world. Was it a mean thing to have traversed 
all France from the Val du Piou-Piou over the 
broad plains of the Bobais and the Pimpaigne, to 

193 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
have forded deep rivers and scaled high mountains, 
until here I was at last at the head of the YoUe Valley 
and with my face set towards the Sarche estuary 
and the He d'O ? 

I ate an enormous breakfast, settled my bill, 
strapped my knapsack to my back, and emerged 
through the cool porch into the steep street already 
hot from the steady smiting of the morning sun. It 
had been empty at night ; it was little more populous 
in the full blaze of day. A group of idle, sunburnt 
women stood placidly gossiping in a doorway ; three 
scraggy fowls scratched the ground and pecked 
after the manner of their kind ; a mongrel puppy, 
very concentrated on his work, nosed about in a 
small but evil-smelling heap of rubbish outside the 
old church that had been built by a pious twelfth- 
century crusader home from the wars around the 
Sepulchre of Christ. 

Out of the higher gate, a low arch in the crumb- 
ling and lizard-haunted wall, a magnificent prospect 
met my eyes. The slope had been very abrupt, and 
by mounting a little rock at the side of the road I 
could look right down over the village and along the 
valley to the plains from which I had come. There 
in the foreground was the church tower. Beyond it 
was the declivity up which the, road climbed. And 
then, with the Yolle a silver ribbon in the nearer 
distance, miles beyond miles of wooded pastures, 
mottled with grazing flocks and stretching away 
into the bluish haze of the southern provinces. There 
was no one on the road. The world was very quiet. 

Somewhere out of sight a shepherd whistled a 
fragment from some long-forgotten song. 

194 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

II 

THE CENTENARY-ESTIMATORY 

It is a hundred years to-day since Estcourt Peaky- 
blinder, one of the most puzzling and at the same 
time most fascinating figures in nineteenth-century 
literary history, was born, and almost fifty since he 
died. During that period what storms have raged 
around his personality and his work, what lava- 
streams of savage denunciation, what glittering 
floods of unrestrained panegyric have been provoked 
by them ! Old men still living remember the fierce 
controversy that broke out when he published " The 
Tragedy of Ghenghis Khan." England was rent in 
twain by it, and for months it was scarcely safe for 
a known friend of Peakyblinder's to show himself 
in the street. Another tumult, hardly less violent, 
burst forth in the early eighties when Mrs. Pipkin 
Pooke published her collection of letters. Those 
letters, which threw a blaze of light upon the hither- 
to obscure question of the poet's relations with 
Sophonisba Sock, his first love, with the famous 
Mrs. Perkinson, and with the infamous Aurelia 
Mumpson, were for a whole year the subject of a 
Uterary war of unprecedented ferocity, with Blair 
of The Weekly Periodical on one side and the 
doughty Limpetter and the brilliant staff he had 
gathered around him on The Sempiternal Review 
on the other. The echoes of that battle have not yet 
died down. It is possible that they will never entirely 
die down. But we have got perhaps far enough away 
from the pristine heats of the fray to survey the 

195 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

subject calmly and dispassionately. As Professor 
Algernon Jones so penetratingly says in his recent 
informative study, " We do not at this time of day 
think with Blair that Peakyblinder was a monster, 
nor, on the other hand, can we entirely counten- 
ance the view of Limpetter that he was a saint. 
Would it not be truer to say that he was just an 
ordinary man, not all bad and not all good, common 
clay illuminated with something of the divine fire, 
wilful yet lovable (perhaps for the very reason that 
he was wilful), son of our ancient mother earth, 
erring, assoiled with dross, yet ' traiUng clouds of 
glory ' from that ineffable beyond which was his 
spirit's home ? " And after all, what do the details 
of such a man's daily life matter to us ? Were it not 
savouring of ingratitude if we should prolong wordy 
warfare over the dead deeds of one who has left us 
so much that is priceless and immortal ? 

For regarding the permanent value of the bulk 
of his work there can now be no dispute. The con- 
sensus of modern opinion is at one with Peaky- 
blinder's contemporaries in condemning as dull 
and lacking in the true flame of inspiration 
" Herodotus at Halicarnassus," the " Hebdomadal 
Hemistiches," and the majority of the sonnets of 
the middle period. Most of these works were written 
(though in some c ises only in rough draft) during 
the poet's two visits to Dongola, when, as is well 
known, a strange lassitude oppressed him, and he 
usually had to use physical force to compel himself 
to take up the pen. For a diff"erent reason we could 
most of us do A\ithout certain of the lyrics and some 
passages in " The Tragedy of Ghenghis Khan." The 
196 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

outcry against this latter play at the timeot its publi- 
cation was certainly an exaggerated one. In some 
of the verses to which most exception was taken at 
the time the modem eye finds it hard indeed to 
detect the causes of offence. What reader to-day, 
for instance, can understand how our mid- Victorian 
predecessors found flagrant indecency in such lines 
as : 

" The moon 
Unveils her argent bosom to the sky " ; 

or religious heterodoxy in Sigismund's despairing 
cry : 

" Yea, natheless, but I will 
Tear down the towering heavens from their seat." 

But in many instances the accusations were all 
too true. No one can read such things as the second 
and fourth stanzas (one forbears from quoting them) 
of " Pan to Aphrodite," or the middle section of 
" Campaspe," or (disgusting in a different way) the 
terrible " Threnody of Tumours " without ex- 
periencing a blush of shame that such loathsome 
excrescences should have blotched the matchless 
fame of a Peakyblinder. He might well have left 
such work to lesser men. 

Yet think of the treasures, serene and undefiled, 
that we have to set over against all this ! Peaky- 
blinder possessed in supreme, in unparalleled, 
measure two great gifts. No other English poet — 
saving always Shakespeare — has had his power of 
rending, as it were, the veil from the human soul at 
its moments of greatest intensity. He considered 

197 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

(as the old Latin tag one used to learn at school had 
it) nothing alien to him that was human ; but the 
great, gripping crises of the emotions and the spirit 
were his own peculiar province. Scene after scene 
from the crucial acts of his dramas has already 
passed into the region where it is above and beyond 
criticism. Such scenes as that in which Mercia, 
maddened with blood, nails the dead Cicero's tongue 
to the rostrum which but a few years before had 
rung witli his glowing perorations, are already classics. 
" Red tongue, talk through thy blood," she says. 
Even at the hundredth time of repeating, the terse, 
blazingly savage and significant words never fail to 
produce their thrill. The same gift is illustrated 
again and again in the lyrics. Little scarlet cameos 
they are, each one impregnated with some essential 
aspect of the tortured human soul. Quotations were 
superfluous. Why quote what all must be familiar 
with ? 

And the second great gift with which the gods at 
his birth endowed Estcourt Peakyblinder was the 
gift of music. Mr. T.Le Page Jiggins, in his " Remin- 
iscensesof a Busy Life," states (and the statement has 
gained wide currency) that Gollock, the novelist, 
who at one time was among Peakyblinder's most 
intimate associates, told him on more than one 
occasion that the poet was entirely unsusceptible to 
vocal and instrumental music. He repeats, more- 
over, an anecdote (which in my opinion is of at least 
doubtful authenticity) to the effect that Henry Bell, 
the critic, and Theophilus Boo, the Dutch Liberal 
statesman (at that time on a visit to this country, of 
which his mother was a native, though born of 
198 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 
Dutch parents), once took Peakyblinder to a People's 
Concert at the Crystal Palace (then newly opened), 
and that at the close of the evening the author of 
"Genghis Khan" quite innocently asked the astonish- 
ed Boo whether an oboe was the same thing as an 
organ. This is scarcely credible ; but it seems 
established beyond possibility of denial that Peaky- 
blinder had not what is commonly called an " ear 
for music." Nevertheless, paradoxical though the 
assertion may seem, he was perhaps the most illus- 
trious musician that England has ever produced. 
He was master of the whole range of harmony and 
melody. He knew how to sweep men off their feet 
with a resistless paean of gladness pouring along 
with great clashes and crashes of cunningly orches- 
trated sound. Now he throbs forth some rolling 
funeral march, thunderous with the footsteps of the 
timeless dead ; now he sighs some sad and intang- 
ible melody in a minor key ; and anon he is making 
us move our feet to the lilt of some merry dance 
tune that Rameau or Strauss might have written. 
Truly he was one of the greatest musicians that ever 
lived. But his materials were not sharps and flats 
but consonants and vowels, not triplets and tied 
minims but anapaests and spondees. It is well that 
on this his hundredth anniversary England should 
lay a chaplet of laurel on his grave. 



199 



COLLECTED PARODIES 



III 

THE SOUL-OF-A-FOREIGN-CAPITAL 
SPECIES 

Bangkok is the city of a dream. She dreams her 
timeless dream at the gate of the desert. The cen- 
turies have rolled over her, the legions of conqueror 
after conqueror have trampled her underfoot, but 
the old city remains as she was, clad in the shadowy 
and iridescent hues of the twilight and the dawn, 
wearing her old inscrutable smile. Her tall towers 
have been hurled to the ground, her streets have 
run with blood, fire has blackened and scarred her ; 
but always she has risen again from her ashes, un- 
changed, yet the same. Her body has been ravished 
and defiled, but her soul, after two thousand years, 
is still yirginal and unspotted. Veiled in the im- 
penetrable yet impalpable wrappings of her sphinx- 
like mystery, lonely, mournful, all-wise, all-sorrow- 
ful, she rises a spiritual thing between the ilUmitable 
sands and that sacred, softly flowing river the source 
of which no man knows, a city apart, a being not of 
time but of eternity. 

One reaches Bangkok by Penoccident line from 
Marseilles. The overland route is difficult, danger- 
ous, infested with brigands, and expensive, and 
takes forty-two days longer to traverse than that by 
sea. For practical purposes, therefore, it is out of 
the question. The boats, though small, are comfort- 
able and fast. Twenty-three days after eating your 

200 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

breakfast in Paris you enter the estuary of the Ho- 
Hum, and six hours more, steaming with the tide, 
finds the vessel slowly heaving to at the great stone 
quay under the shadow of the principal mosque. 
The scene as one disembarks is one of incredible 
confusion. Bells clang, cannon boom, a horde of 
dusky porters rush about with one's luggage, shout- 
ing in a babel of discordant tongues, excited vendors 
of shawls, sweetmeats, metalwork, and the thousand 
and one other trifles that appeal to the heart of the 
traveller, scurry hither and thither, gesticulating 
wildly and chattering like an army of monkeys. 
Here and there is a woman veiled from head to foot, 
gazing at one with great black eyes through the 
holes in the tarboosh that the Sufi religion ordains 
for every woman when she is outside the kraal of 
her lord and master ; and at the back of the crowd 
stand, pensive and gloomy, a group of beetle- 
browed priests with flowing beards and quaint tri- 
angular caps (not unlike a species of elongated 
dahabiyeh) upon their heads. We have left the West 
behind us. Here in this fantastic town, with its 
minarets and its cupolas, its narrow streets of blank 
white walls, its rice bazaars and its extraordinary 
blaze of bright colours, we have crossed the threshold 
into another world. We have left behind us the 
world of hurry and bustle, of tramcars and electric 
light, of post offices and public-houses, of sewers 
and suffragettes, and entered a realm where nothing 
has altered since the birth of time, and where every 
fairy tale comes true. 

Needless to say, the hotel accommodation is not 
of the best. The principal establishments — the 

201 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Hotel de Londres and the Hotel Asquith — face one 
another across the principal square. Neither of 
them can boast more than twenty bedrooms, and 
at the former, where my wife and I stayed, there 
was not even a bath to be procured save in the large 
tank in the courtyard that did duty as a recreation 
ground for the pack elephants that came across the 
desert from Abyssinia with the numerous caravans. 
The proprietor, a stoutish, yellow gentleman with 
the euphonious name of Chook, knew a little 
English. In early life he had (so he told me) been a 
member of a troupe of jugglers that had toured 
through Europe, including the British Isles. He 
knew Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Stow-in-the- 
Wold, and, of course, London. But as the vocabu- 
lary which he had acquired was mostly of a de- 
nunciatory and imprecatory character it was not 
of very much assistance. Happily my wife be- 
thought her of a visit to the British Consul. He, 
poor man, was delighted to see us, as no British 
tourists had visited the city — (" infernal hole," 
he called it) — since the beginning of the last rainy 
season. After giving me a glass of really excellent 
whisky, he proceeded with the utmost despatch 
to send for an interpreter. In five minutes the 
man arrived. Like the rest of his nationality, he 
turned out to be a most arrant swindler. We kneW; 
though the knowledge was of little avail to us, 
as we were helpless in his hands, that he cheated 
us most outrageously whenever he made a 
purchase on our behalf. But that is the price the 
traveller in strange places of the earth must always 
expect to pay for the satisfaction of his curiosity ; 

202 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

and after all, we might have gone farther and fared 
much worse, for Abdul Gomez, though he himself 
defrauded us right and left, would never allow any- 
one else to do so. Once at least he proved a very 
present help in time of trouble. My wife, when 
speeding along in a rickshaw, had accidentally 
thrown a banana skin in the face of a wooden deity 
that happened at that moment to be passing along 
the street with a procession of ragged devotees. It 
seemed for a few anxious moments as though we 
were going to be the central figures of an ugly street 
row. Things had already taken an awkward turn, and 
the leader of the mob was ominously sharpening his 
wicked-looking curved yashmak when Abdul arrived 
upon the scene, and, by explaining briefly that we were 
English, speedily cleared up the misunderstanding. 
Wonderful though this dream city of the East is 
at all times, it is perhaps at the annual festival that 
it is most alluring, most challenging, most marvellous 
of all. The festival is held in honour of the goddess 
Quog (properly speaking, the goddess of toads, 
though it may be doubted whether one modern 
Bangkokian in a thousand knows of the lady's asso- 
ciation with those unattractive animals), and for a 
whole week the population, men, women, and child- 
ren, give themselves up to a delirious riot of worship 
and amusement. All the houses are gaily draped 
with silk hangings — green, yellow, red, blue, orange, 
indigo and violet. Flags stream merrily from every 
flagpole ; triumphal arches guard the entrance to 
every street, even in the humblest quarters ; danc- 
ing, singing and praying go on incessantly from 
morning till sundown, and the purveyors of fruit 
203 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

and cooling drinks drive a roaring trade. As evening 
falls a thousand heavy and intoxicating odours rise 
from streets and river. The songs subside, the noise 
of the dancing feet is gradually stilled, the Present 
fades away, the Past comes out, spreading great 
wings, and broods over the great city. Night and the 
eternities have reasserted their sway. The heat and 
excitement of the joyous day have, dying, left be- 
hind them a subtle essence that gives the key to 
much that one had not understood in the character 
and religion of this strange people. The flames on 
the roofs of the goddess' temple sink and die away ; 
the smoke floats off and is dispelled ; nothing breaks 
the stillness save the wail of some river bird and the 
weak cry of a new-born babe. Here, under the alien 
stars of this alien sky, the great processes of life are 
going on and will not be denied. 

That was ten years ago. Probably if 1 went back 
to Bangkok to-day I should find the railway there 
and taxi-cabs awaiting arrivals at the station, and 
lifts in all the houses, and French bookshops and 
cookshops in the great square. The clamorous West 
will invade the place^ — may have invaded it already ; 
iron and electricity and steam and " education " 
will shatter the fair illusions that have survived 
countless centuries of storm and stress. Yet even 
now, I fancy, to the man of seeing eye and under- 
standing heart the old, dreamy Bangkok, all-wise, 
all-sorrowful, swathed in her garments of starshine 
and the declining sun's last ineluctable breath, will 
reveal herself as of old — a symbol, a spirit, a re- 
minder of things too deep for tears, a monument 
more perennial than brass. 
204 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

IV 

THE PRETTY FABLE 

The sun beat down pitilessly. The illimitable 
sands stretched out tawny and blindingly hot to the 
horizon. The blue sky trembled and burned with a 
fierceness that seemed as if it could never be dimmed. 

The Man toiled on beneath his load. How long 
had he been walking thus over these parched wastes? 
Centuries, thousands of years, perhaps ... he 
had lost all count of time. He could not remember 
the days when he had been free. It seemed to him 
as though from the dawn of the world he had been 
treading the sands, scorched by the rays of that 
torrid sun and mocked by the intense blue of that 
yawning gulf over his head. His back bent beneath 
his burden and great gouts of sweat gathered on his 
brow and rolled down his furrowed cheek. 

No, there was no hope. For thousands of years 
he had been alone. Every century at sunset a Shape 
had passed him. One had passed him yesterday. He 
had held out pleading hands to it, but his reward 
had been gibes of scorn. And every Shape as it 
swept past him had added to his load ! 

One came and put an Island on his back, and 
one a Sea. One had burdened him with a Yoke of 
Oxen, and one with a Great Cheese. There had 
come a gaunt Shape, more horrible than the others, 
and he had brought in his hand for addition to the 
man's burden a Great Ship with sides of iron and a 
heart of iron ; and another, whose teeth were made of 
205 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

diamonds and his nose of a single pearl, had flung 
on the bowed shoulders the Corpse of a Butterfly. 

He was very weary. 

Mile after mile he walked on, looking neither to 
the right hand nor to the left. His eyes were leaden 
in their hue, like the eyes of sick cattle. His brow, 
lined and scored with the furrows of ages, streamed 
with Great Gouts of Sweat. Over his bare shoulders 
fell a few grey and mud-stained locks, ragged and 
pathetic, but still unkempt. His chest and feet were 
bare, also his poor feet, that were bruised and bleed- 
ing with the long journey ; and round his loins was 
a wisp of cloth. 

But Resolution was in his heart. 

It chanced that, toiling on over the hot sands, he 
espied a Rock by the wayside. He was very weary. 
With an effort — for he had become so accustomed 
to walking in a straight line that he could scarcely 
compel his feet to turn aside from the direct track 
— he turned aside and sought its shelter. For it was 
very hot. 

He lay down. 

And as he lay down, with his burden still cling- 
ing to his shoulders, it happened that he fell into a 
sleep. He was very weary, and his sleep was pro- 
found. And as he lay in a profound sleep it happened 
that he fell into a dream. 

He dreamt that he was in a great forest, a forest 
that had never been penetrated by the light of the 
sun. Giant writhing creepers stretched from tree 
to tree. The trees were ancient and their trunks 
massive. How lofty they were he could not tell, for 
the darkness was such and the density of their foliage 
206 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

such that he could not see their tops. In his 
dream he saw himself lying, bound hand and foot, 
at the base of one of the largest trees in the forest. 
How long he had been there he did not know. It 
might have been centuries, it might have been thou- 
sands of years. As his eyes became more accust- 
omed to the strange light he noticed that he was not 
alone. There, right in front of him, at the base of 
the next tree, gleamed two eyes, as red as live coals, 
in a form vague but horrible. 

The eyes looked at him. They fascinated him. 
He could not take his eyes off them. They seemed 
to bum and bore their way into the deepest recesses 
and caverns of his soul. And they seemed to speak 
to him. 

At first, for all his straining, the Man could not 
penetrate the meaning of the words. They came 
floating to him, vague and unintelligible as words 
in a dream, which indeed they were. " Oh," he 
thought, " that I could understand ! " But he could 
not understand. And his dream shivered and ended. 

And again he dreamt. This time he lay in a reedy 
marsh by the brink of a great lake. The reeds were 
around and about him, but through their waving 
tops he could perceive patches of a twilight sky, 
cloudy, yet clean and star-sprinkled between the 
interstices of the clouds. The wind sighed and the 
reeds rustled, and instinctively he made a move- 
ment with his hands. To his surprise, though he 
knew not why he should be astonished at it, he found 
that his hands were free. He felt over his body, his 
poor, wasted body, and he knew that it was his own. 
But when he felt his feet they were firmly bound, 
207 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

and he could not release them. And suddenly he 
knew that he was not alone. There, right in front 
of him, were two eyes. They were bright, but they 
did not burn ; they glowed, but with the radiance 
not of a furnace, but of a large and lustrous moon. 
And as he looked he knew that the eyes were speak- 
ing to him. 

At first he could not hear the words aright. They 
were strange and foreign, like words in a dream, 
which, indeed, they were. But as, leaning forward 
with his ears straining and all his strength con- 
centrated on the task, he listened and listened to the 
syllables which were repeated again and again like 
the syllables in some magic incantation, he heard, at 
first indistinctly, then more plainly, the words that 
the eyes were speaking. 

" You are afraid," they said. 

And again his dream was shattered, and again he 
dreamed. He lay in an open meadow under a sky 
of dawn. Not a cloud marred the placid surface of 
the heavens, and though the light of morning had 
half flooded the sky, a few hrge stars still gleamed 
in the inefi"able vault. He felt happy, he knew not 
why ; but when he felt his body he knew. His hands 
and his feet also were free ; his strength had returned 
to him ; his thews and sinews were robust and 
braced as in a youth that he had long forgotten ; he 
sighed contentedly and stretched himself, his breast 
gently heaving v/ith some mysterious sense as of 
freedom new- won and a world new-conquered. 
And as he lay and stretched himself he knew that he 
was not alone. 

There, standing on the grass right in front of him, 
208 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

stood a Being in form and feature like a man but 
more glorious. His long garment without seam fell 
in a gracious curve from his neck to his feet. His 
brow was calm and his lips curved in a faint and 
beatific smile. But his eyes were wonderful, and 
shone Hke the fading stars. And as the man looked 
at him it seemed as though the eyes spoke. 

And he knew what they said at once, without 
doubt or hesitation. This was their message : " You 
are not afraid." 

And the Man rose and stretched his arms towards 
the rim of the golden sun now appearing over the 
edge of the world. He cried aloud in the strength 
of his joy and his new- won freedom. And as he 
cried there blew a little wind ; and as the wind 
blew there came from the far away a little voice, a 
still small voice no bigger than a man's hand. 

And the voice whispered : " You have con- 
quered." 

And the Man fell down, and the Woman danced 
on his Chest. 



209 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

VI 
THE TURKEY CARPET 

(or " SEE HOW MANY AUTHORS / CAN MENTION ! ") 

" Life was built for them, not on the hope of a 
Hereafter, but on the proud self-consciousness of 
noble souls." Thus J. R. Green of the Anglo-Saxons. 
The gifted historian of the English people sum- 
marises in this one brief sentence the whole spiritual 
and mental outlook of a people. It is an outlook very 
distinct and clear-cut, but an outlook from which 
we of the twentieth century have moved far indeed. 
It is difficult perhaps to define the distinction with 
any degree of exactitude. One remembers the philo- 
sopher in " Rasselas." " Deviation from nature is 
deviation from happiness," said he. " Let me only 
know what it is to live according to nature," ob- 
served the much-impressed Rasselas. " To live 
according to nature," rephed the philosopher, " is 
to act always with due regard to the fitness arising 
from the relations and qualities arising from causes 
and effects : to concur with the great and unchange- 
able scheme of universal felicity ; to co-operate 
with the general disposition and tendency of the 
present system of things." A kind of disquisition 
no more illuminating was that of Voltaire's pro- 
fessor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmologigology. 
" It is demonstrable," said he, *' that things cannot 
be otherwise than they are ; for all being created 
for an end, all is necessarily for the best end. 
Observe that the nose has been formed to bear 

210 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

spectacles — thus we have spectacles." We should be 
wary, therefore, of attempting to draw hard and 
fast lines where no such lines may exist. 

Nevertheless, it requires no very great penetra- 
tion to discover that wherever the difference may 
lie there is certainly a difference, a difference so 
large, one may almost say, that it ceases to be a 
difference in degree and becomes one of kind, be- 
tween a view of life such as that attributed to the 
Anglo-Saxons by Green (and even that of the Greeks 
as so acutely expounded by Mr. Lowes Dickinson 
in his excellent little manual), and that of the average 
Englishman, or for that matter P>enchman, of our 
own day. " Nothing but the infinite pity," said the 
author of "John Inglesant," " is sufficient for the in- 
finite pathos of human life." There perhaps we have 
the clue to the new factor which has intervened and 
worked a complete transformation in man's ways of 
looking at himself and at the universe. The same 
note may be found struck again and again over the 
whole vast range of modern literature. We find it in 
Shorthouse, we find it in Maeterlinck, we find it in 
Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, we find it 
in Tennyson, we find it in a writer so far apart from 
them all as Emile Zola. 

It is true that here and there there is a revulsion, 
a throwback to the earlier type. Through the cosmic 
sea of sympathy that has flooded, as it were, the 
surface of the globe, the primeval fires beneath 
fling up now and then some reeking volcano of iron- 
heartedness and cynicism. This same Zola had a 
strong vein of it. One remembers that terrible sneer 
in " Dr. Pascal " ; " Suffering humanity cannot live 
211 



COLLECIED PARODIES 

without some lie or other to console it." Gissing 
too, a man in many respects poles apart from the 
great French realist, has that singularly sardonic 
remark in * ' Henry Rycroft " : " We needs must laugh 
a little in the presence of suffering." Yet in his case 
it is rather perhaps that it is the very excess of his 
pity that makes him pitiless ; for the phrase has an 
appendix, " else how should we live our lives ? " 
In Matthew Arnold it is frequently possible without 
an undue exercise of fancy to detect the cynicism 
that is born of softness, the cruelty that is the obverse 
of the medal of love. " Few understood his langU3 
age ; none understood his aims." Thus G. H. 
Lewes of Goethe ; and how often, indeed, do the 
greatest amongst us speak to us in an alien tongue 
that we do not comprehend ? There is often a 
barrier, impalpable, yet none the less real, between 
the genius and the mass of men among whom he 
moves. " If," says Rousseau in his " Confessions," 
" I strive to speak to the people I meet, I certainly 
say some stupid thing to them ; if I remain silent 
I am a misanthrope, an unsociable animal, a bear." 
Too true, alas !, it is that the man who wishes to 
attract the gaze of the " general " cannot do it by 
speaking frankly and freely the truth that is in him. 
It has been the same from the dawn of the world. 
" It is a kind of policy in these days," writes old 
Burton of the *' An^my," " to prefix a phantastical 
title to a book which is to be sold : for as larks come 
down to a day-net, many vain readers will tarry and 
stand gazing, like silly passengers, at an antick picture 
in a painter's shop, that will not look on a judicious 
piece." There are those in all times who possess a 

212 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 
fatally potent gift for thus compelling the public 
gaze. As Seneca so forcibly put it, " there are some 
who by the strangeness of their conceits will make 
him loiter by the way that was going to fetch a 
midwife for his daughter now ready to lie in." Sim- 
pHcity and directness of utterance have always been 
recognised as a supreme merit by the few who can 
judge of these things. " Grandis, et ut ita dicam, 
pudica oratio non est maculosa, nee turgida, sed 
naturali pulchritudine exsurgit." Thus Petronius : 
but he was too much man of the world to let his 
practice accord with his principles. 

In truth, the old materialism, whether of the 
more erect and admirable type or of the wallowing 
and grovelling type, is dead. We call ourselves 
materialists now, just as we call ourselves by many 
other strange names, but materialism no longer 
walks the globe. " The Animus," said Sterne, 
" taking up her residence, and sitting dabbling Hke 
a tadpole, all day long, both summer and winter, 
in a puddle, or in a liquid of any kind, how thick or 
thin soever, he would say, shocked his imagination." 
The phraseology may be paralleled from Swin- 
burne's amusing but perhaps rather too irreverent 
parody of Tennyson : " The soul squats down in 
the body like a tinker drunk in a ditch." After all, 
though, we ought not perhaps to carp at the free- 
dom of Mr. Swinburne's jesting. Was it not Eras- 
mus, himself the prince of jesters, yet a very serious 
man withal, who declared in his *' Encomium Moriae " 
that " wits have always been allowed this privilege, 
that they might be smart upon any transactions of 
life, if so that their liberty did not extend unto 
213 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

railing." Though he himself qualifies his judgment 
somewhat by his implied rebuke to Juvenal for 
" raking in the sink of vices to procure a laughter." 
Certainly, if we cannot go the whole way with those 
who would elevate jesting to the highest place at 
the feast of life, we can, nevertheless, appreciate 
the force of the gentle Elia's rebuke to Coleridge. 
" I think, Charles," remarked the poet (referring 
to the pulpit experiences of his earlier life), " that 
you never heard me preach." " My dear boy," 
replied Lamb, " I never heard you do anything 
else ! " But genius is like the wind. It bloweth 
where it Hsteth. Carlyle was uttering nothing more 
than a much-needed warning when in " Sartor 
Resartus " he asked, " Would criticism erect not 
only finger-posts and turnpikes, but spiked gates 
and impassable barriers, for the mind of man ? " 

It may even be doubted whether at bottom all 
criticism is not entirely useless and purposeless. 
The critical spirit of Walt Whitman criticised criti- 
cism itself. " Showing the best and dividing it from 
the worst," runs that memorable passage in the 
" Song of Myself," " age vexes age ; knowing the 
perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they 
discuss I am silent, and go bathe, and admire my- 
self." And even were all criticisms unquestionably 
just and impeccably acute, could they instruct any 
save the already instructed .'' " The power of in- 
struction," observes Gibbon, " is seldom of much 
efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where 
it is already superfluous." Machiavelli was even 
more sweeping. " The world," says he in his placid 
way, " consists only of the vulgar." 

214 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

PART FOUR 

MODELS FOR PRACTICAL JOURNALISTS 

I 

THE MODEL LEADING ARTICLE 

The Report of the Royal Commission on Gramo- 
phones which, as will be seen in another column, 
was issued last night, is bulky and complicated even 
when compared with previous documents of this 
character. It is scarcely necessary for us, we pre- 
sume, to recall to the minds of our readers the 
circumstances which led to the Commission's ap- 
pointment. To most of us they are only too pain- 
fully familiar. Suffice it to say that the ever-grow- 
ing volume of public indignation on the subject of 
reference had by 1902 reached such a pitch that the 
Government of the day was compelled to yield to 
the pressure of opinion and appoint a Commission 
with the object of discovering what exactly was the 
present position of the law as bearing upon gramo- 
phones, and what changes, if any, were desirable. 
The Commissioners, who met for the first time on 
9th March, 1904, were a very strong and repre- 
sentative body of men, amongst them being Lord 
Fitzgibbet, Lord Crimp, Viscount Bourton-on-the- 
Water (one of the greatest Speakers the House of 
Commons ever had), Mr. Aiidrew Hogmanay of 
the Mechanical Music Noise Abatement Society, 
Sir Heinrich Spitzbergen, M.P., Sir Giuseppe 
Piccolomini, M.P., Mr. Ivan Levinski, M.P., Lord 
215 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Julias Van Ostade, Mrs. Toop, Mr. Isaac L. 
Cholmondeley, the famous entrepreneur, Madame 
Coloratura, and Mr. Adolphus Jugg, of the Home 
Office, who acted as secretary. The first six years 
out of the nine over which their sittings extended 
were devoted to the collection of a vast body of 
evidence from hundreds of witnesses of every shade 
of opinion ; and the last two years have been spent 
on the preparation of the Report. Nothing could 
well have been more thorough than this investi- 
gation. What is the outcome of it all } What is it 
that the Commission suggests should be done to 
diminish what is admittedly one of the most irri- 
tating of the many nuisances that harass the respect- 
able citizen in modern England } 

The suggestions of the Commissioners — who 
are unanimous save as respects certain minor points 
in connection with which Mrs. Toop has expressed 
her dissent from her colleagues — may be divided 
into two parts : the general or positive proposals, 
and the particular or negative proposals. With re- 
gard to the former it will be as well to say here and 
now that most people will find it impossible to give 
them their unqualified approval. Doubtless there 
are some sections in this half of the Report in which 
the reasoning of the Commissioners is irrefragable 
and their conclusions unchallengeable. But at the 
most we can only say that this portion of the Report 
is, like the curate's egg, good in parts. It was in- 
evitable that any Royal Commission which should 
take it upon itself to cross the Rubicon which 
divides the idealistic (and as we think, sound) con- 
ception of social dynamics from the purely material 
216 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

conception would provoke at once general and bitter 
indignation. It is painful to have to say this ; but it 
is no use blinking facts, and we think that the vast 
majority of the people of this country will refuse to 
blink them with no uncertain voice. The develop- 
ment of events, the process of cosmic change, has 
brought us to a stage where it is inevitable that we 
should make a choice. Nations cannot remain for 
ever like the proverbial donkey between the two 
equidistant bundles of hay ; they cannot serve two 
masters ; either they must love the one and hate 
the other or they must forsake the one and seek 
after the other. Much of the Labour unrest which 
has been of late so disquieting a feature to all stu- 
ents of social essences is directly, or at any rate 
indirectly, traceable to the prevailing confusion in 
the public mind in regard to this all-important 
matter. Our politicians, let us frankly admit, have 
given us a poor guidance in this respect. They have 
been in this connection but blind leaders of the 
blind. But it is high time that somebody should 
speak out. 

Such are the recommendations of the Royal Com- 
mission. It is with genuine regret that we find our- 
selves unable to accord them our unqualified ap- 
proval. That, for reasons which we have already 
adequately explained, is impossible. We need 
scarcely explain that we do not mean to convey that 
we put the whole of their recommendations in- 
stantly and completely out of court. On the con- 
trary, we have little doubt but that Governments 
of the future will find the Report a rich storehouse 
from which to draw suggestions for legislation which, 
217 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

without making too sudden a break in the slow and 
orderly evolution of English institutions, will by an 
adjustment here and a modification there cause the 
whole machine to work more smoothly. That, how- 
ever, is a matter with which the future will have to 
deal. It remains for us only to again express our 
sense of deep gratitude to the public-spirited men 
and women who by devoting so long a period to the 
study of one of the most grave and pressing prob- 
lems that confront us to-day have set an example 
which every citizen would do well to follow. 



^i8 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

II 

THE MODEL MUSICAL CRITICISM 

Last night at the Cacophonic Hall, Herr Zoppy 
Zqzqzqzqwich gave his last recital of the present 
season to an audience which filled all parts of the 
building. Herr Zqzqzqzqwich is not one of those, 
alas, too-plentiful virtuosi whose chief mission in 
life it is apparently to tickle the ears of the ground- 
lings with displays of meretricious brilliancy of 
technique. He° is an artist to the finger-tips, and, 
what is perhaps rarer still, a scholar. It was, there- 
fore, in anticipation of a rich musical treat that the 
whole of music-loving London wended its way last 
night to the famous hall in Clamour Street, and it 
was by no means disappointed. The principal item 
in the great violinist's programme was Potbouille's 
delightful but exacting Concerto, the only example 
in that form that the famous Gallic leader of the 
Turbinistic school has yet produced, although rumour 
has it that he will shortly present us with another. 
The introductory Allegretto was played with in- 
comparable spirit, the deftness of the player's 
brushwork when he came to the last rapid bars of 
the recurrent second theme taking the audience by 
storm. The same qualities were displayed in the 
Scherzo and the Finale ; but it was naturally in the 
Andante that Herr Zqzqzqzqwich was at his greatest. 
Both his ton and his couleur were superb ; never 
has that marvellously poignant fragment, which in 
its sorrowful yet serene wisdom seems to plumb 
the very depths of the human soul, been played 
219 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

with more convincing sanity and passion. The run 
of glissandic thirteenths towards the end of the 
movement — a thing that might well have taxed the 
resources of a Paganini — was negotiated with con- 
summate ease and purity, and the sudden magic 
check in the triplicated barberinis at the close liter- 
ally sent an almost terrible shudder over the whole 
of the vast audience. Needless to say, the player 
received a great ovation at the close. 

Of Herr Zqzqzqzqwich's other numbers the'most 
important were the familiar but ever-fresh Con- 
certo of Beethoven and a Rhapsodic Chinoise by 
Muck, which had not previously been heard in this 
country. It is a work which it is not easy to grasp at 
first hearing, but there are some memorable passages 
in the daring young German's familiar idiom. The 
remaining items were Tartini's " Trille du Diable," 
Bach's rather saccharine " Air," and a pretty but 
scarcely profound " Danse des Ivrognes " by Gus- 
tave Coquetaille. The orchestral parts were sus- 
tained by the Bayswater Symphony Orchestra under 
Mr. James Jamieson, which also gave a stirring 
rendition of that gifted young English composer, 
Mr. Dunham Downe's " Third ' Soho ' Suite." 



220 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

III 

THE MODEL COLUMN OF PERSONAL CHAT 

One of the prettiest weddings of the year will be 
that of Lord Arthur Grandison and Miss Arabella 
Van Eyck Caffer, which will be celebrated at Holy 
Trinity, Pont Street, in the second week of next 
month. Holy Trinity is rapidly becoming one of the 
most popular churches for fashionable weddings, 
and there are good judges who believe that it has a 
future in store for it which will eclipse even the 
glories of St. George's, Hanover Square, in its 
prime. Lord Arthur, who was born in 1813, is a 
younger brother of the late Marquess of Stoke, of 
whom it used to be said that he had a family on 
which the sun never set, he and the Marchioness 
(who was " daughter of the celebrated " Billy " 
Dawson, of Skibbereen) having had no less than 
twenty-two children, most of whom, for one reason 
or another, went abroad to live. Lord Arthur was 
educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and, entering the 
Army, attained the rank of Major in the Royal Horse 
Guards (Blues) ; since his retirement in 1848 he 
has spent his time mostly between London and 
Glenvommit, his beautiful and picturesque place 
in Clackmannanshire. He is quite one of the most 
popular of the younger men about town. 



The bride-to-be, who first met her prospective 
husband at a house party of the Countess of Bibby's 
in April last, was born just fifteen years ago in New- 
port, Long Island, where her late father, " Bunco" 
221 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Caffer, of New York, built himself one of the finest 
marble palaces in the Eastern States. A pretty 
blonde, with fascinating blue eyes and a wealth of 
beautiful fair hair. Miss CaflFer married as her first 
husband Mr. Bellville P. Boyler, of Philadelphia, 
since when she has resumed her maiden name. 
Three bishops are to help tie the nuptial knot ; there 
are to be eighteen bridesmaids and two pages, 
amongst the former being the Ladies Faith, Charity, 
and Hope Grandison (nieces of the bridegroom). 
Lady Ursula Stookenham, the Hon. Peggy Rhein- 
ault (only daughter of Lord Capelcourt), Miss Lois 
Urquhart (youngest daughter of Urquhart of Ercil- 
doune and Mrs. Urquhart), and three pretty cousins 
of the bride — the Misses Poppy Spoof, Maisie 
Van Eyck, and Clytemnestra Honk. The pages will 
be the Master of Mactavish and little Master Barth- 
olomew Jobbe, son of the ParUamentary Secretary 
to the Labour Board. 



The bride will be given away "by her father, and 
Lord Arthur's best man will be the Earl of Torquay, 
who fought at his side when he went through the 
Pondoland campaign as personal A.D.C. to Prince 
Augustus of Harz-Goldenberg. Presents are pour- 
ing in on the happy couple from the friends of both 
families, amongst those who have sent valuable and 
costly gifts being H.R.H. the Crown. Prince of 
Servia, Princess Franz Karl of Hoppe-Blichten- 
stein, and Count Polonyi, the eminent Hungarian 
statesman, whose brother not long ago married Miss 
Caffer 's sister. The wedding dress is being made 

222 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

by Aglavaine, of 1864 Bond Street. It is of white 
Thibetan silk with a train of Coromandel suede 
trimmed with seed-pearls and a veil of Coan ninon. 
The bride's bouquet will be of arum lilies, which 
are becoming very popular for weddings just now, 
and the bridesmaids will carry tall sprays of pink 
excruciabilia supplied by Tibson's. The honeymoon 
will be spent at Boby Castle, Skye, which has been 
lent to the happy pair by the bridegroom's brother- 
in-law, the Duke of Fulham. 



The monthly meet of the Rickshaw Club will be 
held (weather permitting) on Wednesday, the 23rd. 
Southwark Park is, as usual, the venue, and it is 
hoped that there will be a large turn-out, especially 
as the meet is the last of the present season. Amongst 
those who are sure to be there are Sir Guy Vaux, 
Lord MacgilHcuddy, Viscount de Rosenheim, Mrs. 
Abinger-Hammer, Rear-Admiral Sir Capulet John- 
stone, and Mr. " Pat " O'Connell, without whom 
nowadays no gathering of the kind is complete. 



Several people have lately been seen dining at 
the Hotel Cordiale. Amongst those to be noticed 
there in the present week have been Lord Hind- 
stairs, Mr. Ike Poppenheim, Sir Anthony Rowley, 
and the Marquess of Boxehill, whose little parties 
at the Cordiale are quite an institution. 



Congratulations to Lord Bucklershard, who 
attained his majority last Thursday. Lord Bucklers- 
hard comes of a fighting stock. His maternal grand- 
father was the celebrated Sir Pyke Peyton, whose 
223 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

gallant defence of Monte Video in the earlier years 
of the last century earned him the commendation 
of the Iron Duke. His father died in one of our 
" little wars " on the North- West Frontier, and 
eight of his uncles have attained the rank of general 
or admiral. The young peer is expected to take a 
prominent part in the organisation of the Terri- 
torials in his own county. He is well blessed with 
this world's goods and has five historic country 
seats as well as a magnificent town house in Bellasis 
Square. 



No less than three big dances are fixed for the 
24th and many people are almost in despair about 
it, especially in view of the difficulty of getting 
young men nowadays. The dances include Lady 
Straphanger's, Lady Alicia Chope's, and the great 
ball at Ditcham House, which will have almost a 
semi-ofiicial character and which it is expected that 
royalty will honour with its presence. 



It is officially announced that no more tickets can 
be issued for the Royal Parade at the Brentford 
Cattle Show. Since it became known that the King 
and Queen would both be present at this most de- 
lightful of annual functions, the Lord Chamberlain's 
department has been literally inundated with appli- 
cations for tickets. Even as it is, the task of allocating 
them will be no easy matter. Whatever may be said 
of other State officials, nobody can deny that the 
Lord Chamberlain's staff^ certainly earn their salaries. 
224 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

IV 
THE MODEL PUZZLE CORNER 

RIDDLES 

What is the difference between a schoolmaster 
ind an engine-driver ? 

When is a door not a door ? 

What famous general never had an eye, never 
had a tooth, never had a leg, never had a mouth, and 
never had an arm, and never lost a battle ? 

What kind of poultry live upon Tanagra statu- 
ettes ? 

Why should a musician consider himself the in- 
ferior of a butcher ? 

What distinguished scriptural character frequently 
complained of neuralgia ? 

Where was Moses when the light went out ? 

ACROSTIC 

My first is in fork but not in spoon, 
My second's in sun but not in moon. 
My third is in planet but not in star, 
My fourth is in raffle but not in bazaar, 
My fifth is in donkey but not in ape. 
My sixth is in form but not in shape, 
My seventh's in bush not but in tree, 
My whole is something you never will be. 

BURIED RIVERS 

The hippopotamus is a noble beast and is much 
misunderstood. 
I saw your Aunt Mary with a mess-jacket on. 
225 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Please immerse your hands in this refreshing 
water 

No spectacle could be more depressing than a 
limp opossum. 

He began gesticulating immediately he perceived 
me. 

You had better take precisely the third turn to the 
right. 

Oh no, said the sparrow, that will never do. 

I am getting rather tired of the salmon that Uncle 
James will insist on sending. 

SQUARE WORD 

1 . A river in Ecuador. 

2. A certain thing you very often walk over. 

3. A Jewish composer. 

4. A leading daily paper. 

5. A vegetable substance much used in cotton 
mills. 

6. One of the wives of Henry the Eighth. 

7. A celebrated poet recently dead. 

8. A tax. 

The answers to last week's puzzles have been 
unavoidably held over owing to the enormous mass 
of attempts at solution sent in. The editor hopes to 
be able to publish them next week with the full list 
of awards in connection with our- great competition. 
In itjsponse to inquiries from " Stork " (Birching- 
ton-on-Sea) and other readers, the editor must once 
more make it clear that his decision is final. 



226 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 



THE MODEL POLITICAL NOTES 

I understand that a whole series of changes in the 
Cabinet are imminent. At least three ministers will 
in all probability give up their portfolios, and there 
will be an almost general reshuffle of the other posts. 
The official announcement may be expected at any 
moment. But the Government may think it more 
politic to postpone the changes until the beginning 
or even the end of next Session. It is certain that 
before long one of the law officers of the Crown will 
be promoted to a high judicial position, which, of 
course, will necessitate his retirement from the 
Parliamentary arena. 

There is widespread dissatisfaction amongst 
Ministerialists with regard to the course taken by 
the Government with regard to the Dogs' Diseases 
(Ireland) Bill. The measure passed through all its 
stages in the Commons quite early in the Session, 
but the lords after giving it a second reading have 
hung it up, as it appears, indefinitely. The Radical 
" forwards " are making it uncomfortably clear that 
in their opinion the Government should send their 
lordships a clear intimation that the situation is 
such as to, unless something is done with the Bill 
immediately, eventuate in literally swamping the 
Upper House with new creations. 



A Bill estabUshing a maximum working day for 
lighthouse keepers was introduced on Tuesday by 

227 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
Major Black, Unionist member for Mid-Rutland. 
The Bill, which has the support of members of all 
parties, will, if passed, come into operation on the 
first of January next year. Its backers include Lord 
Lundy, Lord William Rockingham, Colonel Mohun, 
Sir Zebedee Haythornethwaite, Sir Thomas Higg- 
ins, Mr. Arthur Pouch, Mr. Sam Winkle, Mr. J. 
Dummit, and Mr. Michael O'Raffertv. 



It is expected that Mr. Norman Mavromichealis, 
the victor of Bootham-on-Tees, will take the oath 
and his $eat to-morrow. The Unionists will give 
him a great reception. 

Captain Beverley-Lunn has obtained a return 
which throws a glaring light upon the proceedings 
of the last few years. It appears that since the present 
Government came into office the total number of 
new officials created has amounted to the colossal 
total of 5,837,927, with salaries amounting in the 
aggJ'egate to ^^29,576,847,365 per annum. Nothing 
could show more clearly the insidious way in which 
the Government is attempting to saddle the country 
with an army of bureaucrats of whom it will be 
almost impossible to get rid once they have been 
called into existence. Captain Beverley-Lunn has 
put down a motion on the subject for an early date : 
" That this House expresses its strong disapproval 
of the legislative and administrative action of the 
present Government whereby the country is being 
saddled with a new and dangerous bureaucracy 
which is dangerous to the national \velfare, ruinous 
228 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

to the taxpayer, and entirely out of consonance with 
all the best traditions of the national life." 

Yesterday a meeting was held in Committee 
Room No. 99 of members interested in Paraguay. 
About twenty members of all parties were present, 
and it was decided that a deputation should wait 
upon the Prime Minister upon the subject. The 
matter may also be raised on the Foreign Office vote 
the week after next. 

It is announced that the veteran Mr. Benjamin 
Martin, who has for so many years proved himself 
such an excellent chairman of committees, will not 
seek re-election at the next General Election. Had 
Mr. Martin come into the House six years earlier 
than he did he would have succeeded the late Sir 
Robert Miggleby as father of the House. It is felt 
that the occasion of Mr. Martin's retirement ought 
not to be allowed to pass by without some suitable 
commemoration, and a small committee has been 
formed, with Mr. Herbert Rogers as secretary, to 
organise a subscription for a presentation. 



229 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

VI 
THE MODEL ART CRITICISM 

At the Haliburton Galleries, Wendover Street, 
Messrs. Didler have just opened an important show 
of oil paintings by modern Montenegrin masters. 
Not since 1902, the year of the memorable exhibi- 
tion at the Guildhall, have we had an opportunity 
of seeing in London so representative a collection 
of works, both of the Cettinje and of the Dulcigno 
schools. Practically every man of note is represented 
by his most representative works, and the hundred 
odd pictures as a body will certainly convince the 
sceptic — if there have been any such — of the 
genuineness and magnitude of the Trans-Adriatic 
Renaissance. 

Naturally one turns first to the work of M. Vlilpo 
Scouacho, happily still alive though no longer act- 
ive, the man who above all others must be regarded 
as the leader and in some respects the creator of the 
Neo-Montenegrin movement. No less than eighteen 
pictures from his brush hang here — with one or 
two exceptions all painted in his prime. Undoubt- 
edly the clou is " Pol Opsik, Antivari " (No. 13). 
Storm lours over the little port, a forlorn handful of 
white houses huddled between the vastness of the 
sea and the vastness of the mountains. Trees and 
waters, rocks and walls, shudder with prescience of 
the coming tempest ; never has such an inconceiv- 
able lavishness of idea been so united with an in- 
credible economy of means. A landscape almost 

230 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

equally great is " On the Skutari Road " (No. 87). 
The soft rays of the sunken sun gild the top of a 
solitary hill where foot of man has never trodden. 
The picture in its combined ruggedness and tender- 
ness seems to typify the strangely blended Monte- 
negrin character, but one doubts the advisability 
of the dab of Chinese white in the middle fore- 
ground. It is a picture, to return to again and again. 
There is an indefinable charm in all the sea pictures, 
in none more than in " L'Aube Consolatrice " (No. 
49). Long even ripples sparkling in the full blaze 
of the noonday sun evenly flowing into a little beach 
where a grey corse lies motionless amid the wet 
weeds. In essence it is religious — though not in the 
slightest degree didactic, for didacticism in art is the 
abomination of desolation — in its revelation of the 
littleness of man and the immensity of the eternal 
verities. Of the other examples, " In a Sock- Sus- 
pender Factory, Monastir," is perhaps the most 
striking, both from the point of view of the historian 
of artistic development, and from that of the purely 
aesthetic connoisseur. The blaze of yellows and pinks 
and greens, the treatment of light and shade almost 
staggers and blinds one in its audacity ; but yet 
how true it all is, how free from the slightest taint 
of triviality and commonplace ; Scouacho's niche 
in the temple of the immortals is assured. 

Scouacho's chief lieutenant, Porko Biska, died 
perhaps before he had reached the full maturity of 
his powers, but the memorable qualities in his rich, 
splendid, almost obstreperous art are unmistakable. 
Such paintings as that of a wood in autumn (76), 
and that of the opening of the Montenegrin 
231 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

Parliament (54) roar with the wild yet intellectual 
orchestration of a Strauss ; the force of paint could no 
farther go. A kindred spirit is abundantly evident 
in the work of his confrere and brother-in-law, 
Stunto Jokoso, who, as somebody once humorously 
said, sees red everywhere. More classical is the spirit 
of Fonio Lubar, a master of flowing and graceful 
line and colour. A man of whom little has previously 
been heard in this country is Tono Likkowich, 
whose symphonic landscapes, notably Nos. 22 and 
49, wear a smile as mysterious and as reticent as 
that of Monna Lisa herself. Distinctly worthy of 
attention, too, is the work of Joski Protose, who is 
strongly under the influence of modern German 
realism, but brings to his work much that is dis- 
tinctly his own. Of his genre pictures, " A Dead 
Louse " (37), for sheer ruthlessness and virility of 
treatment could scarcely be excelled. 

In another room Messrs. Didler are exhibiting a 
number of water-colours of the Swedish Tyrol by 
Mr. J. Macdonald Barron. They are well worth a 
visit. 



232 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

VII 

THE MODEL COLUMN FOR HOUSEWIVES 

TWO USEFUL RECIPES 

No. I. — Take a saucepan and fill with water to 
the depth of two or three inches. Put it on stove and 
allow it to remain there until water is well on the 
boil. Take an egg (or two if one be deemed insuffi- 
cient) and without breaking the shell place it in 
saucepan so that it is just covered by water. Con- 
tinue to keep water on boil for three and a half or, 
if a somewhat denser consistency of substance be 
desired, four minutes. Time may be gauged with 
watch, clock, or sand-glass specially prepared for 
purpose (Messrs. Spatchcock and Wilson, of High 
Holborn, make excellent articles of the sort), but 
comparative exactitude should, if possible, be 
secured. At end of specified time saucepan should 
be briskly removed, large spoon (or fork if no spoon 
handy) inserted into water and egg extracted. The 
egg immediately after emergence from water will 
be seen to be wet. This, however, need cause no 
alarm, as water will speedily evaporate, leaving nice, 
clean, smooth, dry surface. Place egg in small cup 
of suitable shape ; serve hot and consume with salt 
and pepper to taste. 

No. 2. — A Cheap, Easy Dish for a Large Family. 
Take two pounds of best Astrakhan caviare and 
fourteen ounces of superfine pate-de-foie-gras, and 
mix until a uniform paste has been secured. Take 
also the gizzards of eight ptarmigan and two pounds 

233 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

of fresh lemon pips and grind as small as possible. 
Boil the first mixture in butter for about twenty 
minutes and then add the second, stirring softly 
over a slow fire. When the desired softness has been 
obtained, drain off the water and stand aside for the 
steam to come off. Transfer to double saucepan and 
add the yolks of twelve eggs and a quarter to half a 
pound of guava jelly ; stir and boil slowly for an 
hour and half. Add half-a-pint of water ; allow the 
mixture to stand for two hours and then strain 
through a clean cloth. The solid remaining in the 
cloth may be thrown away ; the liquid that comes 
through will, if allowed to stand for two hours, form 
a jelly. Place the jelly on a dish and serve with a 
garniture of bread-crumbs. If the utmost possible 
economy is necessary the bread-crumbs may be 
omitted. 

HOW^ TO OPEN A DOOR 

A number of young housewives have lately in- 
formed me that they have considerable difficulty in 
opening doors. I cannot quite understand this, as 
the process is really quite a simple one. Take the 
handle of the door in the right hand (or the left, as 
the case may be) and turn slowly and without the 
application of unnecessary force, so that the upper 
portion of the handle moves from right to left (or 
from left to right, as the case may be), and the lower 
portion from left to right (or, as the case may be, 
from right to left). If this is done properly (unless 
the door is out of order, in which case the services 
of a locksmith should be requisitioned) the catch 
will be found to slip. A slight push (in some cases a 

234 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

pull is required, as some doors open out of a room 
in a different way from that in which they open into 
a room) must then be given and the door will then 
be found to yield in the manner aimed at. It may be 
taken as a general rule — though, like most rules, it 
will admit of exceptions — that a door should be shut 
after the opener has passed through it. Open doors 
frequently admit draughts, and experienced doctors 
will tell you that there is nothing like a draught for 
assisting the contraction of a cold. I have seen doors, 
however, which open in a different way from those 
above described. Each kind, of course, as is always 
the case in life, must be treated according to its 
particular nature, but the instructions I have given 
above will be found to be of fairly general appli- 
cation. 

WHAT SORT OF SHOES SHOULD BABY WEAR ? 

Mothers frequently have much worry and search- 
ing of hearts with respect to their babies' footwear. 
Babies are tender creatures and cannot in every way 
be treated just as we would treat grown-up persons, 
whose bodies and brains are alike more fully devel- 
oped. To take an extreme example, nobody, for 
instance, would dream of putting a baby into 
Wellington boots. Their little feet are neither so 
large nor so hardened as those of their elders ; and 
the same thing indeed may be said of their hands. 
Madame Pupa, of Z6 Palmyra Buildings, Chancery 
Lane, has some admirable assortments of babies 
shoes, comfortable and hygienic in every way, 
which she is always glad to sell to readers who 
mention The Daily Wheezer. 

235 



COLLECTED PARODIES 

VIII 
THE MODEL CUPID'S CORNER 

{The Editress is always glad to give advice to those 
of her fair readers who have love or complexion 

troubles.) 

• ' 

Martha (Greenwich). — No, I do not think it 
would be feasible or, if feasible, profitable for you 
to bring three Breach of Promise actions at the same 
time against three different men, even under the 
circumstances you mention. Juries are always apt 
to look at these matters from the male point of view ; 
and, after all, you have been a little fickle in your 
affections, haven't you .'' 

RosiE B. (Newcastle-on-Tyne). — Yes, your 
position does seem to be a rather cruel one. You 
say that you are quite certain he loves you ; and yet 
somehow I feel that if he really loves you as much 
as he says he does, he ought to be willing to give up 
the garlic. Try what a little quiet persuasion will do, 
dear ; endeavour to make him see matters more 
from your point of view. God has given us women 
a great gift in the power of our tongues. If you find 
him still obdurate, let me hear from you again. 

Lily of the Valley (Seven Dials). — Your com- 
plaint sounds like eczema. It is very hard to get rid 
of it The best cream for it that I know is prepared 
by Madame Scheherazade, of Bond Street, whose 
advertisement will be found in another column. 
Coon (Portarlington) — You are a very foolish 
236 



THE ASPIRANT'S MANUAL 

girl, Coon, and I am very much ashamed of you. I 
should have thought that at this time of day every- 
body would have known that tight-lacing is one of 
the very worst things from the point of view of 
physical well-being. The girl who, as you say you 
have done, brings her waist down to seven inches, 
is committing a crime against society. But there, I 
suppose I am very old-fashioned. 

Distracted Teacher (Exeter). — Yes, he has be- 
haved very, very badly indeed, and I must say that 
in your position I should find it very, very hard to 
forgive a man who had behaved in such a manner. 
I do not think you did wisely in refraining from 
reproaching him when you found out that he was 
meeting your friend and you on alternate Saturday 
afternoons and taking her to stalls at the theatre 
when he only took you to a beggarly cinematograph 
show. In my opinion you should have gone straight 
to his mother and told her outright what you thought 
of her son. Depend on it, my dear, a man who will 
" carry on " like this is not worth thinking about. I 
am sure he would never make a good husband. 

Poppy (Stornoway). — I think you have acted 
hastily. Poppy. To attempt to attach a man by lead- 
ing strings is the worst mistake a woman can make. 
You say that he cut you in the street when he was 
w^alking out with another young lady. Well, what if 
he did } He may have had very good reason ; and 
in any case you ought to have afforded him an oppor- 
tunity of giving an explanation before sending him 
a letter of the sort that you enclose. If only young 
people would be more tolerant of each other's little 
ways, the world would be a much happier place 

237 



COLLECTED PARODIES 
than it is. I think, Poppy, that you will learn that 
when you are a year or two older. 

Mabel (Bettws-y-Coed). — No ; most emphati- 
cally no ! 

Juniper (London). — Asafoetida is an excellent 
thing for it and also very pleasant to take. 



238 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY 

Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 




«tf^' 



m L9-50m-7,'54 (5990)444 



rrrrr? TTRRARY 



^ 



AA 000 381 727 7 



3 1 



58 00331 7897 



-^:''Wm 



■:i'