Three Quotations

(Sept 27th to October 8th)




1. … The three closed round the monkey, hanging on his every motion with an earnestness almost equal to ours. The great judge's head - seamed and vertical forehead, iron mouth, and pike-like under-jaw, all set on that thick neck rising out of the white flanneled collar - was thrown against the puckered green silk of the organ front as it might have been a cameo of Titus ... This is from "The Puzzler", in Actions and Reactions.

Three distinguished men, out for a summer walk, have happened on a splendid Monkey Puzzle tree. They are engaged - with the aid of an Italian organ-grinder - in finding out whether it will actually puzzle a monkey.


2. ...The train had lost patience at last, and was coming into the station directly beneath me to see what was the matter. Happy voices sang and heads were thrust out all along the compartments, but none answered their songs or greetings. She halted, and the people began to get out. Then they began to get in again, as their friends in the waiting-rooms advised… This is from "The Vortex" in A Diversity of Creatures.

Four boxes of bees have been spilt from a delivery boy's bicycle onto a crowded village street, and are swarming through Sumter Barton on a hot summer's day, with spectacular results.


3. ... I saw both Front Benches bend forward, some with their foreheads on their despatch boxes, the rest with their faces in their hands; and their moving shoulders jolted the house out of its last rag of decency. Only the Speaker remained unmoved. The entire press of Great Britain bore witness next day that he had not even bowed his head… This is from "The Village that Voted the Earth was Flat", in A Diversity of Creatures. In revenge for unjust treatment in court, an impresario, a newspaper editor, and an MP have done all possible to hold the village of Huckley and its MP Sir Thomas Ingell, up to ridicule. When Huckley is mentioned in the House of Commons, the MP's burst into the music-hall song about it which has swept the country. Everyone is hysterical with laughter except Sir Thomas Ingell, whose career is finished.