Notes to Volume 5: 1960


4 January 1960


Political novel by Disraeli (1844).


Sybil, or The Two Nations: 1845 novel by Disraeli, expounding the plight of the working classes in England, published in the same year as Engels's The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Reynolds News


Reynolds's Weekly Newspaper was founded by the radical journalist George William MacArthur Reynolds in 1850. It soon became a successful Sunday newspaper, especially in the North of England, with a radical working class approach combined with sensationalism. After various ownerships and titles it ceased publication in 1967, by when it was called The Sunday Citizen.


6 January 1960

Great Expectations

Presumably the 1946 film directed by David Lean, with John Mills as Pip. No other film of the novel was released between 1946 and 1959.

Expresso Bongo

1959 film directed by Val Guest, written by Wolf Mankowitz, music by Robert Farnon, a satire of the popular music industry.

The Owl of Minerva

RH-D published an English translation (by Norman Denny) of Gustav Regler's autobiography in 1959. It ran to 375 pages.

all his novels

Trollope wrote forty-seven novels.

the Ancient of Days

A scriptural allusion to God; cf. Daniel 7:9.

the wolf month

The Saxon name for January was Wulf-monath (wolf month): 'people are wont always in that month to be in more danger of being devoured by wolves than in any other.' (Verstegan)

verb sap

Abbreviation of verbum sapienti sat est—a word is enough to a wise person.


9 January 1960

Christ Church gaudy

From Latin gaudium—joy: a college feast.

the huge hanging Epstein

The original plaster model of Epstein's last work, 'Christ in Majesty', was displayed in the north transept of St Paul's for the memorial service to the sculptor in November 1959, and remained there temporarily afterwards. It was 16½ feet high.


14 January 1960

walking delicately, like Agag

1 Samuel 15:32: 'And Agag came unto him delicately'.

can Spring etc

Shelley, 'Ode to the West Wind'.

Hamlet, Revenge … Stop Press

Published in 1937 and 1939 respectively.

A cow is a very good animal…

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1771 section). Correctly, 'in the field'.

Danny Kaye

Kaye's new film on current release was The Five Pennies.

'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings' etc

Matthew 21:16:

And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

'Fatherlike He tends and spares us!'

From the hymn, 'Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven' by H F Lyte (1793-1847).

Lady Angina Pectoris and Sir Rheumatoid Arthritis

'What a loss to the Stock Exchange is Sir Rheumatoid Arthritis, and is Lady Angina Pectoris to Mayfair.'  Walter de la Mare in The National and English Review, Volumes 146-147 (1956), p 164.

Evening Standard … Daily Express

Newspapers owned by Lord Beaverbrook, the former a London local evening paper, the latter a right-wing, middle-market national.


16 January 1960


Term coined by Ian Nairn in The Architectural Review in 1955:

There will be no real distinction between town and country. Both will consist of a limbo of shacks, bogus rusticities, wire and aerodromes, set in some fir-poled fields... Upon this new Britain the Review bestows a name in the hope that it will stick.

Lament for a Maker and The Journeying Boy

Published in 1938 and 1949 respectively.


21 January 1960

'John Peel'

Nineteenth century hunting song, with words by John Woodcock Graves; it begins:

D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?
D'ye ken John Peel at the break o' day?
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away.
With his hounds and his horn in the morning?

Naunton Prince

Humphrey Lyttelton later wrote:

…when the muscle-bound champion collapsed and died, my father was much affected. He cut out the photograph that appeared in the horse's obituary in the newspaper and framed it, keeping it on his study mantelpiece until the day he died.
(Introduction to GWL's Commonplace Book, published 2002.)

The Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge and Other Essays on Education (1959). A collection of twelve essays and addresses dating from 1930 to 1959. The rainbow bridge of the title comes from Norse mythology: it carried the deserving from earth to heaven.

the dead vast and middle of the winter

Hamlet 1:2: 'In the dead vast and middle of the night'.

Biscay Harbourages…

  • Biscay Harbours and Anchorages, Volume 1: Brest To Lorient Including Ile De Groix, and Volume 2, Lorient To La Rochelle by K Adlard Coles
  • Hors d'oeuvre and Cold Table—A Book of Tried and Trusted Recipes and Methods, by William Heptinstal; foreword by André Simon
  • A Concise Textbook for Midwives by D G Wilson Clyne
  • Asparagus by Alfred W Kidner
  • Your Poodle and Mine by Stanley Dangerfield
  • The Grocery volume remains incognito.

If I pick up a skein and find it packthread, I do not expect on going further to find it silk

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1769 section):

But when I take up the end of a web, and find it packthread, I do not expect, by looking further, to find embroidery.

Carlyle's perfect picture of C.

Carlyle, The Life of John Sterling (1851) Ch 8:

Coleridge sat on the brow of Highgate Hill, in those years, looking down on London and its smoke-tumult, like a sage escaped from the inanity of life's battle; attracting towards him the thoughts of innumerable brave souls still engaged there. His express contributions to poetry, philosophy, or any specific province of human literature or enlightenment, had been small and sadly intermittent; but he had, especially among young inquiring men, a higher than literary, a kind of prophetic or magician character. He was thought to hold, he alone in England, the key of German and other Transcendentalisms; knew the sublime secret of believing by 'the reason' what 'the understanding' had been obliged to fling out as incredible; and could still, after Hume and Voltaire had done their best and worst with him, profess himself an orthodox Christian, and say and print to the Church of England, with its singular old rubrics and surplices at Allhallowtide, Esto perpetua. A sublime man; who, alone in those dark days, had saved his crown of spiritual manhood; escaping from the black materialisms, and revolutionary deluges, with 'God, Freedom, Immortality' still his: a king of men. The practical intellects of the world did not much heed him, or carelessly reckoned him a metaphysical dreamer: but to the rising spirits of the young generation he had this dusky sublime character; and sat there as a kind of Magus, girt in mystery and enigma; his Dodona oak-grove (Mr Gilman's house at Highgate) whispering strange things, uncertain whether oracles or jargon.

Glorious islets too I have seen rise out of the haze…

'Glorious islets, too, I have seen rise out of the haze; but they were few, and soon swallowed in the general element again. Balmy sunny islets, islets of the blest and the intelligible.'


23 January 1960

The production wasn't frightfully good…

Directed by Michael Benthall; the cast included Alec McCowen as Algernon, Barbara Jefford as Gwendolen, Judi Dench as Cecily, and Miles Malleson as Canon Chasuble.


In Congreve's The Way of the World.

her Cleopatra

Edith Evans played Cleopatra in three productions between 1925 and (aetat 59) 1947. The Manchester Guardian (3 December 1946) and The Times (21 December) gave her performance excellent notices; The Observer inclined to RH-D's view.

I see Diana's baby is safely christened, with Roger at the font

John Samuel Hood, christened at Chelsea Old Church on 21 January. Roger Fulford was one of five godparents


28 January 1960

he quotes it in Trivia and adds 'By jove, that's a stunt!'

Not in Trivia (1917) but in All Trivia (1933), p 81

reason to lament what man has made of man?

Wordsworth, 'Lines Written in Early Spring':

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


30 January 1960

the film of Our Man in Havana

Carol Reed's film of Greene's novel, starring Alec Guinness, Noel Coward and Ralph Richardson.

A Moon for the Misbegotten

Directed by Clifford Williams, with Margaret Whiting and Michael Aldridge in the leading roles.

five guineas

The first edition (June 1962) was priced at four guineas, equivalent of more than £60 at current values. The 2000 revised and expanded edition was priced at £35.

water, water everywhere

Coleridge, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner':

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink


4 February 1960

The Turn of the Screw

Short story by Henry James in which malevolent ghosts prey (or are imagined to prey) on two children.


Habakkuk 1:5

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

capable de tout

Capable of anything


6 February 1960

bien entendu

Of course

The Egoist

Tragicomic novel by George Meredith (1879).


11 February 1960

Where, so to speak, was Bohun?

RH-D's footnote refers to Shaw's You Never Can Tell, Act IV, but I think a more likely source is Lord Chief Justice Crewe's observation on mutability (1625):

And yet Time hath his revolutions. There must be a period and an end of all temporal things, finis rerum, an end of names and dignities and whatsoever is terrene; and why not of De Vere? For where is Bohun; where is Mowbray; where is Mortimer; nay, which is more and most of all, where is Plantagenet? They are entombed in the urns and sepulchres of mortality.

Anatomy of a Murder

1959 courtroom drama, directed by Otto Preminger and written by Wendell Mayes. It starred James Stewart, George C Scott, Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara.

Queen newspaper

Magazine first published in 1862; merged with Harper's Bazaar in 1970.

Tranby Croft baccarat

Legal action (1891) in which the Prince of Wales was involved. The question was whether Sir William Gordon-Cumming had or had not cheated at baccarat.


14 February 1960

Foyle's Literary Lunch

Foyle's was, and is, a large bookshop in Charing Cross Road, London. In 1930 Christina Foyle (1911-1999) instituted a monthly lunch so that the book-buying public could mingle with writers. The lunches were held at the Dorchester and Grosvenor House hotels; as well as J B Priestley speakers included Kingsley Amis, Charles Chaplin, Charles de Gaulle, Philip Larkin, D H Lawrence, Harold Macmillan, Yehudi Menuhin, Haile Selassie, George Bernard Shaw, Edith Sitwell, Margaret Thatcher, Evelyn Waugh, and H G Wells.


18 February 1960

keeping your friendships in repair

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1755 section)

'If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.'

The first batch of your old letters

This is the first mention in the published correspondence of GWL's returning RH-D's earlier letters. No explanation is given.

time's hurrying footsteps

Title of a poem by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, published in the collection Over Hill, Over Dale (1956). I doubt if this was GWL's source, but I can find no other candidate.

the surly advance of decrepitude

Winston Churchill:

Painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time and the surly advance of decrepitude.

the enclitic δέ

In ancient Greek, τε ('and') and δέ ('but') could be tacked on to the end of other words, cfque in Latin.

Who was the scholar of Milton's day who was for some reason cut open after death, and his tummy was found to be half full of sand?

Lytton Strachey, New Republic, 26 December 1923, Vol. 37, Issue 473, p 115:

In the early years of the eighteenth century the life of learning was agitated, violent, and full of extremes. ... One sat, bent nearly double, surrounded by four circles of folios, living to edit Hesychius and confound Dr. Hody, and dying at the last with a stomach half full of sand.

whatever his paper was

In 1912 Bentley joined The Daily Telegraph, with which he remained for twenty-two years.

me judice

'I being judge'—in my opinion. (Ablative first person singular pronoun + ablative of iudex.)


20 February 1960

Don't come flying out of your chair like that, Mr Venus…

Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, Ch 7.


25 February 1960

dolce far niente

Sweet idleness.

a man is not on oath in an obituary

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1775 section)
In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath.

old Kaspar

Southey, The Battle of Blenheim

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun.

Meet we no angels, Pansie

Thomas Ashe:

Came, on a Sabbath noon, my sweet,
In white, to find her lover;
The grass grew proud beneath her feet,
The green elm-leaves above her:—
Meet we no angels, Pansie?

John Thomas … D H Lawrence

John Thomas is Mellors's name for his membrum virile in Lady Chatterley's Lover.


27 February 1960

Oh Chairman, my Chairman, The fearful task is done!

Walt Whitman, 'O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done'

Jack Simmons (or perhaps Simmonds)

Simmons is the correct form.


2 March 1960


Gushing enthusiasm

annotations of startling indecency (blasphemy)

'There were several books on a shelf; one lay beside the tea-things open, and Utterson was amazed to find it a copy of a pious work, for which Jekyll had several times expressed a great esteem, annotated, in his own hand, with startling blasphemies.'

Professor Moriarty

Sherlock Holmes's frequent adversary; despite Moriarty's best endeavours Holmes remains alive and finally Moriarty is killed.

M. Arnold's chil­blained mittened musing

From Edith Sitwell, Alexander Pope (1930) 'Aberdeen granite tomb … with his chilblained, mittened musings'.


5 March 1960

wear my rue with a difference

Hamlet, 4:5:

Ophelia: There's fennel for you, and columbines; there's rue for you; and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays. O! you must wear your rue with a difference.


10 March 1960

It was some ass of a saint who said that one of the chief pleasures of the saved would be watching the torments of the damned. But all the time?

Tertullian, De Spectaculis:

The greatest joy of Heaven is in watching the torments of the damned in Hell—a spectacle far more pleasing than any upon Earth.

(Tertullian (c. 160-225) was one of the 'fathers of the Church' but later joined the Montanists, a heretical sect, and so was never canonised)

the St Joan Epilogue

Set twenty five years after the events of the play; the characters appear to Charles VII in a dreamlike conversation.


12 March 1960



new life of Conrad by Jocelyn Baines

Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography (1960)


17 March 1960

It isn't the pathetic that moves us…

Cocteau, A Call to Order (tr. Myers, 1936):

It is not pathetic messages that make us shed our best tears, but the miracle of a word in the right place.

great Panjandrum with the little round button at top

'From a rigmarole composed by Samuel Foote (1720-1777)' noted RH-D. It is so singular that it is here quoted in full:

So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage-leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming down the street,
pops its head into the shop.
What! no soap?
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the Barber:
and there were present
the Picninnies,
and the Joblillies,
and the Garyulies,
and the great Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top;
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can,
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots
Composed in 1755 to test the memory of the actor Charles Macklin, who had claimed he could read any paragraph once through and then recite it verbatim.

The ring­leader, Casey, nicknamed 'Skin-the-goat'…

There are several problems with this paragraph:

  • The conspirator nicknamed 'Skin-the-goat' was called Fitzharris, and was not hanged. Those hanged for the murders were Joseph Bradey, Thomas Caffrey, Daniel Curley, Michael Fagan and Timothy Kelly.
  • There was no conspirator called Casey: James Carey was a leading member of the gang but turned Queen's evidence, went free, and was later murdered in revenge by a Fenian.
  • Sir George Otto Trevelyan's Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay was published in 1876, before the Phoenix Park murders were committed.

the new book on Kipling

Probably Rudyard Kipling by Rosemary Sutcliff.


19 March 1960

'whose dwelling is the light of setting suns'

Wordsworth, 'Tintern Abbey':

A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Oscar's grandson

Merlin Holland (1945–). In 2000 he was responsible for a new and expanded edition of RH-D's volume of Oscar Wilde's letters.

The Bishop of Oxford

Harry James Carpenter (1901-1993), Bishop of Oxford 1955-1970.

Two Way Stretch

Comedy directed by Robert Day. The cast included Peter Sellers, David Lodge, Bernard Cribbins, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Lionel Jeffries, Irene Handl and Liz Fraser.


23 March 1960

'fountain of sweet tears', or dancing with daffodils

Both Wordsworthian allusions: 'The Sparrow's Nest' and 'Daffodils'.

Dr Battie whose impersonation of Punch made an ill boy laugh so much…

John Doran, The History of Court Fools (1858):

But Battie could play the fool, even to better purpose by the sick bed, than the buffoon at his club. It is told of him that he had a young male patient whom obstinate quinsy threatened with almost instant suffocation. Battie had tried every remedy but his foolery, and at last he had recourse to that. Setting his wig wrong side before, twisting his face into a compound comic expression, and darting his head suddenly within the curtains, he cut such antics, poured forth such delicious folly, and was altogether so irresistible, that his patient, after gazing at him for a moment in stupefaction, burst into a fit of laughter which broke the imposthume, and rescued the sufferer from impending death.

Battle of the Sexes

Directed by Charles Crichton, based on James Thurber's story 'The Catbird Seat'. Starring Peter Sellers, Constance Cummings and Robert Morley.

Calcutta Cup

Rugby Union trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Six Nations Championship match between England and Scotland.


Eton bookseller


26 March 1960

I'm All Right, Jack

Comedy about industrial relations, directed by John Boulting, starring Ian Carmichael and Peter Sellers.

Commonwealth Fellowship

Scheme for international study and professional development, introduced in 1959.


30 March 1960

John Keats who … wrote that when a great mis­fortune came to a man he felt inclined to congratulate him…

Letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817:

The first thing that strikes me on hearing a misfortune having befallen another is this—'Well, it cannot be helped: he will have the pleasure of trying the resources of his spirit.'


2 April 1960

a frightful book about the Wolverhampton Wanderers football club.

All For the Wolves (1960), nominally by Stanley Cullis, manager of the club, 1948-68. Wolverhampton Wanderers won the 1960 F A Cup and were runners-up to Burnley in the 1959/60 League Championship.


6 April 1960

Croker took with his edition of Boswell

Macaulay's review of John Croker's new edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson appeared in September 1831 and begins:

This work has greatly disappointed us. Whatever faults we may have been prepared to find in it, we fully expected that it would be a valuable addition to English literature; that it would contain many curious facts, and many judicious remarks; that the style of the notes would be neat, clear, and precise; and that the typographical execution would be, as in new editions of classical works it ought to be, almost faultless. We are sorry to be obliged to say that the merits of Mr Croker's performance are on a par with those of a certain leg of mutton on which Dr Johnson dined, while travelling from London to Oxford, and which he, with characteristic energy, pronounced to be 'as bad as bad could be, ill fed, ill killed, ill kept, and ill dressed.' This edition is ill compiled, ill arranged, ill written, and ill printed.

Nothing in the work has astonished us so much as the ignorance or carelessness of Mr Croker with respect to facts and dates. Many of his blunders are such as we should be surprised to hear any well educated gentleman commit, even in conversation. The tomes absolutely swarm with misstatements into which the editor never would have fallen, if he had taken the slightest pains to investigate the truth of his assertions, or if he had even been well acquainted with the book on which he undertook to comment.

That Macaulay was not wholly unfair to Croker is illustrated by George Birkbeck Hill in his preface to his 1887 edition of Boswell:

I should be wanting in justice were I not to acknowledge that I owe much to the labours of Mr Croker. No one can know better than I do his great failings as an editor. His remarks and criticisms far too often deserve the contempt that Macaulay so liberally poured on them. Without being deeply versed in books, he was shallow in himself. Johnson's strong character was never known to him. Its breadth and length, and depth and height were far beyond his measure. With his writings even he shows few signs of being familiar. Boswell's genius, a genius which even to Lord Macaulay was foolishness, was altogether hidden from his dull eye. No one surely but a 'blockhead,' a 'barren rascal,' could with scissors and paste-pot have mangled the biography which of all others is the delight and the boast of the English-speaking world. He is careless in small matters, and his blunders are numerous…Yet he has added considerably to our knowledge of Johnson. He knew men who had intimately known both the hero and his biographer, and he gathered much that but for his care would have been lost for ever. He was diligent and successful in his search after Johnson's letters, of so many of which Boswell with all his persevering and pushing diligence had not been able to get a sight.

Gladstone on Ireland, and Dizzy on the Franchise

Neither Gladstone's measures in pursuance of his 'mission to pacify Ireland' nor Disraeli's reforms entitling far more men to vote than before were consistent with Carlyle's recorded views.

a diseased rosebud

Letter to Jack Carlyle, 24 July 1840.

a strange, lilting, lean old maid, not nearly such a bore as I expected

Letter to Jack Carlyle, 8 October 1846.

the portrait of an idiot who has taken glauber salts and lost his eyesight

Letter to his mother, 12 April 1851 (correctly '…that has taken…'). Glauber's salt—sodium sulphate—is a bitter tasting laxative.

delirious-looking mountebank…

Carlyle's opinion of G F Watts's portrait of him, now in the National Portrait Gallery: 'decidedly the most insufferable picture that has yet been made of me, a delirious looking mountebank full of violence, awkwardness, atrocity and stupidity.'

like a flayed horse

Letter to John Sterling, 4 August 1841.

with its stupid classic Acropolis and smashed pillars

Letter dated 12 October 1899.


Autobiographical novel by the painter John Bratby.


13 April 1960

Jan Crace … The Times … so far nothing has appeared

The obituary notice by GWL was published on 18 April, eleven days after the subject's death.


20 April 1960

waste their sweetness on the desert air

Thomas Gray, 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard' Stanza 14:

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

minced collops, fricassee of fowl, ham and tongue, haddocks, herrings, frothed milk, bread pudding, and syllabubs made with port wine.

Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, entry for 6 September 1773:

We had for supper a large dish of minced beef collops, a large dish of fricassee of fowl, I believe a dish called fried chicken or something like it, a dish of ham or tongue, some excellent haddocks, some herrings, a large bowl of rich milk frothed, as good a bread pudding as I ever tasted, full of raisins and lemon or orange peel, and sillabubs made with port wine and in sillabub glasses.


23 April 1960

wear their white for Eastertide


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.


30 April 1960

Passage to India

Dramatisation of E M Forster's novel by Santha Rama Rau, directed by Frank Hauser. Dr Aziz was played by Zia Mohyeddin.


4 May 1960

those dogs that after closely scrutinising the parts of shame…

Frederick the Great, XVI:

Thus, too, you will observe of dogs: two dogs, at meeting, run, first of all, to the shameful parts of the constitution; institute a strict examination, more or less satisfactory, in that department. That once settled, their interest in ulterior matters seems pretty much to die away, and they are ready to part again, as from a problem done.
Carlyle attributes the words to Diogenes.


Shelley's elegy on the death of Keats.

'Kubla Khan' as if it was Kennedy's gender-rules

Coleridge's poem as opposed to Benjamin Hall Kennedy's 'gender rhymes', mnemonics for students of Latin, e.g:

Substantives in do and go
Genus Femininum show.
But ligo, ordo, praedo, cardo,
Are Mascula; and Common margo.

the Cassius passage … 'controversy'

Julius Caesar 1:2:

The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy


7 May 1960

cold boiled veal

Macaulay on Croker:

See whether I do not dust that lying varlet's jacket for him in the next number of the Blue and Yellow [The Edinburgh Review]. I detest him more than cold boiled veal.

a musical version of The Importance        

Ernest In Love: music by Lee Pockriss, book and lyrics by Anne Croswell. Presented at the Gramercy Arts Theater, New York, 4 May 1960, and ran for 111 performances.


11 May 1960

whatever a sandboy may be

Sandboys were sellers of sand (for scouring etc). A writer in Appleton's Journal in 1872 remarked that the saying presumably arose because 'as sand-boys follow a very dry and dusty trade, they are traditionally believed to require a great deal of liquor to moisten their clay'.

Della Crusca or Dada

Schools of writing, the first of pretentious and rhetorically ornate poetry, the second of anarchic opposition to traditional culture.

the countless rumours about and against the poor young photographer

The rumours, not substantiated, were to the effect that the bridegroom's past life had not been uniformly heterosexual.

By those who look close to the ground dirt will be seen

Hesther Lynch Piozzi, Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson:

'By those who look close to the ground, dirt will be seen, sir,' was the lofty reply. 'I hope I see things from a greater distance.'


relief, consolation

King Mark found Tristan

In Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde.

the Oscar film in which J. Mason appears as Carson

The Trials of Oscar Wilde. See note for 5 June, below.


18 May 1960

the new life of Charles Kingsley.

R B Martin, The Dust of Combat: A Life of Charles Kingsley (1960)

Madam if I had thought so, I certainly should not have said so'.

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1781 section):

Miss Monckton … insisted that some of Sterne's writings were very pathetick. Johnson bluntly denied it. 'I am sure (said she,) they have affected me.' 'Why, (said Johnson, smiling, and rolling himself about,) that is, because, dearest, you're a dunce.' When she some time afterwards mentioned this to him, he said with equal truth and politeness; 'Madam, if I had thought so, I certainly should not have said it.'

Boswell … the mathematics lecturer

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1776 section):

I mentioned Mr Maclaurin's uneasiness on account of a degree of ridicule carelessly thrown on his deceased father, in Goldsmith's History of Animated Nature, in which that celebrated mathematician is represented as being subject to fits of yawning so violent as to render him incapable of proceeding in his lecture; a story altogether unfounded.

Goldsmith's version was:

Maclaurin was very subject to have his jaw dislocated; so that when he opened his mouth wider than ordinary, or when he yawned, he could not shut it again. In the midst of his harangues, therefore, if any of his pupils began to be tired of his lecture, he had only to gape or yawn, and the professor instantly caught the sympathetic affection; so that he thus continued to stand speechless, with his mouth wide open, till his servant, from the next room, was called in to set his jaw again.'

Tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse

Everything passes, everything breaks, everything wears out.


22 May 1960


A C Swinburne

'in the bill'

On the list of boys to be disciplined.

the American editor

Cecil Y Lang, whose six volume edition of Swinburne's letters appeared in 1959 and 1960.


25 May 1960

Pawn-power in Chess…

  • Pawn-power in Chess by Hans Kmoch (translated from Die Kunst der Bauernführung), 1959.
  • British Monetary Experiments 1650-1710 by J Keith Horsefield, Harvard University Press, 1960
  • Public Enterprise in Sweden, by Douglas D Verney, Liverpool University Press, 1959
  • Theoretical Elasticity by A E Green & W Zerna, Oxford University Press, 1954.

Despite GWL's scorn at least two of these (the first and last) were still in print in 2019.


30 May 1960

biblia abiblia

'Books that are not books'—not real books.


1 June 1960

Only yesterday three judges stigmatised the Daily Express and Daily Mail…

The Court of Appeal characterised both papers as 'vulgar and offensive' in their behaviour.


5 June 1960

'the real right thing'

Title of an 1899 short story by James.

Robert Morley Wilde film … the other film

The two films about Wilde that came out at the same time were:

  • Oscar Wilde (1960) based on a play by Leslie Stokes. Directed by Gregory Ratoff with Robert Morley as Wilde, Phyllis Calvert as Constance Wilde, Ralph Richardson as Sir Edward Carson, Edward Chapman as the Marquess of Queensberry and John Neville as Bosie.
  • The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) based on a play by John Furnell. Directed by Ken Hughes, with Peter Finch as Wilde, Yvonne Mitchell as Constance, James Mason as Carson, Lionel Jeffries as Queensberry and John Fraser as Bosie.

Saintsbury's advice in preferring Madeira to port or sherry

George Saintsbury, Notes on a Cellar Book: 'I know of no other wine of its class that can beat Madeira when at its best.'

shades of the prison-house

Wordsworth, 'Intimations of Immortality':

Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy.

G.K.C. (was it?) wrote 'If you want to keep your dislike of someone alive be careful not to meet him'

Possibly Chesterton's Robert Browning, Ch 5: 'We all have a dark feeling of resistance towards people we have never met'.


16 June 1960

his old thrawn fellow-countryman

Thomas Carlyle

idly melodious, as bird on bough

Carlyle, Reminiscences:

Leigh Hunt, who lived close by, and delighted to sit talking with us (free, cheery, idly melodious as bird on bough).


18 June 1960

I'm still on Jeffrey, with Jane to come

Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850), subject of one of the sections of Carlyle's Reminiscences.


22 June 1960

Rowley Bristowe

Correctly Bristow

Jeeves…no. 9 in hats

The Code of the Woosters, Ch 12

'You stand alone, Jeeves. What size hat do you take?'
'A number eight, sir'
'I should have thought larger. Eleven or twelve.'

the Bennett-Wells letters

Arnold Bennett and H G Wells: A Record of a Personal and a Literary Friendship, edited by Harris Wilson (1960)

that strikingly good play, revue, fantasy, pageant? of his somehow connected with Shrewsbury?

Paul Dehn's masque Call-Over was staged to mark the quatercentenary of Shrewsbury School in 1952.

a knot of little misses

Hesther Lynch Piozzi: Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson:

'One can scarcely help wishing, while one fondles a baby, that it may never live to become a man; for it is so probable that when he becomes a man, he should be sure to end in a scoundrel.' Girls were less displeasing to him; 'for as their temptations were fewer,' he said, 'their virtue in this life, and happiness in the next, were less improbable; and he loved,' he said, 'to see a knot of little misses dearly.'


26 June 1960

The Chocolate Soldier

1908 operetta based on Shaw's Arms and the Man; music by Oscar Straus; libretto by Rudolf Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson; English translation by Stanislaus Stange.

My Fair Lady

1956 musical based on Shaw's Pygmalion; book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner; music by Frederick Loewe.


29 June 1960


Companion of Honour. The Order of the Companions of Honour was founded by George V in 1917 to recognise outstanding achievements in the arts, science, politics, industry or religion. The order is limited to 65 members. It is less prestigious than the Order of Merit but is a more distinguished honour than that of Knight Bachelor.

Questioning is not the mode of conversation among gentlemen

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1776 section)

'no cakes or ale nor nothing pleasant'.

cf Sir Toby's Belch's, 'Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?' (Twelfth Night 2:3) but I cannot trace the variant quoted by GWL.

the Jepson story

The Laughing Fish

Corpus delictus

Correctly, corpus delicti ('body of crime')—the principle that before anyone can be convicted of committing a crime, it must be demonstrated that a crime has been committed.

Do coalmine disasters always hit you in the wind?

45 miners were killed in an explosion at Six Bells colliery near Abertillery in Wales on 28 June.


2 July 1960

in the shadow of the Atomic Pile

The nuclear power station now called Sellafield (previously Windscale and Calder Hall)


5 July 1960

The Ladies' Plate

The Ladies' Challenge Plate, rowing event at Henley Royal Regatta. Despite its name it is not for ladies, but for crews from academic institutions. In 1960, Eton College beat Jesus College, Cambridge in the final.


Edward VII was nicknamed 'Tum-Tum' because of his corpulence.

the anfractuosities of the human mind

Boswell, Life of Johnson, 1780 section:

Among the anfractuosities of the human mind, I know not if it may not be one, that there is a superstitious reluctance to sit for a picture.
('Anfractuosities' means 'intricacies' or 'convolutions')


9 July 1960

the new Michael Innes

The New Sonia Wayward (1960)

Tony Powell's latest

Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (1960)

the Peter Quennell book

The Sign of the Fish—a 'literary autobiography' discussing writers and their writings of the previous 30 years.

the Belgian Congo

Later known as Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zaire, and then again Democratic Republic of the Congo; scene of persistent civil strife and bloodshed since independence in 1960.


14 July 1960

'Ate by his side'

Gr. ἄτη: 'ruin, folly, delusion' personified as goddess of mischief and author of rash destructive deeds.


16 July 1960


By Terence Rattigan, directed by Glen Byam Shaw. It ran at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket from 12 May 1960 to 10 March 1962.


19 July 1960

The late Rev. P.A. Donaldson

Recte S A Donaldson—see biographies.

sow with the whole sack

According to Plutarch (De gloria Atheniensium), the poet Corinna advised the young Pindar to exercise restraint in his poems: 'One should sow with the hand, not with the whole sack.'

the John's people

St John's College, Cambridge, where Hulme read mathematics;

…the supposition that we still have the power of ingratiating ourselves with the fair sex.

Quoted in The European Magazine and London Review (January 1785) 'Johnsoniana'.


24 July 1960

Diana Campbell-Gray

Correctly, Campbell-Grey.

The Taming of the Shrew

Directed by John Barton. Peter O'Toole played Petruchio to Dame Peggy's Katharina.

the Warburg Institute

Part of the University of London, whose purpose is to further the study those elements of European thought, literature, art and institutions that derive from the ancient world.


27 July 1960

I remember Cardus was on the mat

Cardus ventured to point out to Scott that 'from whence' was used by respected writers including Fielding. Scott replied, 'Mr Fielding would not use it twice in my paper.' (Neville Cardus, Autobiography, Hamish Hamilton, 1984 (orig. Collins, 1947) pp 112-113.)

Then I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help

Psalm 121:1. ('From whence' occurs in 24 other places in the Authorised Version, and 38 times in Shakespeare.)


30 July 1960

one of the joint heads of the Treasury

The joint heads of H M Treasury in 1960 were Sir Norman Brook and Sir Frank Lee. RH-D earlier (24 February 1957) described the former as 'a very nice man'.


Referring to an Eton boy who has not been awarded 'colours' for sporting achievement


3 August 1960

The Yellow Book

Quarterly literary periodical of the 1890s associated with aestheticism and decadence.

William Hickey

The gossip column of The Daily Express was known as the William Hickey column.

quam celerrime

As quickly as possible.


10 August 1960

Yet another book…

Maude M Hawkins, A E Housman: Man behind a Mask (1958).

Moderates… Littlego

Moderations: the first public examination taken in certain faculties of the University of Oxford for the degree of BA.

Little-go: the popular name (later superseded at Oxford by 'smalls') for the first examination for the degree of BA, officially called 'Responsions' at Oxford and 'The Previous Examination' at Cambridge (discontinued in the 20th century).

It surely is not easy to be much wronger than that

A 1988 book about Housman said of Maude Hawkins, 'not only her general ignorance of the field but her almost supernatural inaccuracy stand in the way of success' (P G Naiditch, A E Housman at University College London p 28).

a sour leader in The Times

The leader began, 'The feeble failure of Oxford to resolve its notorious road problem would be merely ludicrous if it were not so serious', and talked of 'municipal myopia' and 'academic conspiratorial pedantry'.


13 August 1960

sale of Max's books etc

There were 383 items sold, at a total of £26,654. 'There were some remarkable prices paid,' reported The Times, 'not so much for books embellished in the author's own hand with examples of his own barbed stiletto wit, as for drafts and notes for uncompleted works or for the original drafts of those published.'

Merton … Max Room

Merton College, Oxford. Two rooms next to the college library are devoted to Beerbohm. Several of his cartoons of late 19th-century celebrities are on display.

was the splendid library of C.H. Wilkinson

The sale realised £33,737.

How many million words have we by now exchanged?

The published correspondence, edited and cut to an unknown degree by RH-D, amounts to a little under 350,000 words by this point.

Dorothy Tutin

Troilus and Cressida was directed by Peter Hall and John Barton. Denholm Elliott was Troilus, Max Adrian, Pandarus, Eric Porter, Ulysses, and Peter O'Toole, Thersites.


24 August 1960

'the nubbly bits'               

Galsworthy, The Silver Spoon, Chapter 8.

peace perfect peace, with loved ones far away

From the hymn 'Peace, Perfect Peace', words by the Rt Rev Edward Henry Bickersteth:

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.


29 August 1960

eine der belebtesten Londoner Vorortstationen

one of the busiest London suburban stations.


30-31 August 1960

Abraham and Dives

Luke Ch 19, in which the poor man, Lazarus, goes to Abraham's bosom in heaven and the rich man, Dives, goes to hell.

My attitude to the daily paper is almost Balfourian.

Balfour's view, apropos of Churchill's extensive collection of press cuttings, was that reading the newspapers was like 'rummaging through a rubbish heap on the problematical chance of finding a cigar.'   William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 (1984), p 375

a young English girl getting a bronze medal for swimming

At the Olympic Games in Rome, Miss A Lonsborough won a gold medal for the 220 metres breaststroke, and Miss E Ferris won bronze in the springboard diving.


Lit. re-fishing: the practice of balancing the results of heats to ensure the fairest result, so that, e.g., the runner-up of one heat who had performed better than the winner of another heat would go forward to the next stage.

C. K. Ogden

Inventor and propagator of Basic English, an auxiliary international language of 850 words intended to cover everything necessary for day-to-day purposes.

much the same as those of Sin when she first saw her offspring Death

Paradise Lost, Book 2:

At last this odious offspring whom thou seest
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transform'd: but he my inbred enemie
Forth issu'd, brandishing his fatal Dart
Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out Death;
Hell trembl'd at the hideous Name, and sigh'd
From all her Caves, and back resounded Death.

It cries to Heaven, as the butler said about what was in Dr Jekyll's room.

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), VIII: 'The Last Night':

'Changed? Well, yes, I think so,' said the butler. 'Have I been twenty years in this man's house, to be deceived about his voice? No, sir; master's made away with; he was made, away with eight days ago, when we heard him cry out upon the name of God; and who's in there instead of him, and why it stays there, is a thing that cries to Heaven, Mr Utterson!'

Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman.


5 September 1960

Fleet Street Kopje

Fleet Street was then the centre of national newspapers. Kopje—a South African term for a small hill—several such were redoubts in the Boer War.


The Hotel Cecil in the Strand in London, built in the 1890s and demolished in 1930. In its day, the largest hotel in Europe.


7 September 1960

no starting tear called for drying

Felicia Hemans, 'To resignation': 'Hush the sad murmur, dry the starting tear.'

the belly of a dead fish

Possibly August Strindberg, The Silver Lake: '…its white side like the belly of a dead fish.'

How right Thomas Hardy was…

Florence Hardy, Life of Thomas Hardy, II, 58:

To cry out in a passionate poem that (for instance) the Supreme Mover or Movers, the Prime Force or Forces, must be either limited in power, unknowing, or cruel—which is obvious enough, and has been for centuries—will cause them merely a shake of the head; but to put it in argumentative prose will make them sneer, or foam, and set all the literary contortionists jumping upon me, a harmless agnostic, as if I were a clamorous atheist, which in their crass illiteracy, they seem to think is the same thing.

Room at the Top

1957 novel by John Braine, adapted for the cinema in 1959. An early example of the 'kitchen-sink' genre.

Old Mortality

1816 novel by Sir Walter Scott set in the reign of James VII (James II of England).

'grane', 'cess', 'tow' and 'marts'

The OED has no relevant entry for 'grane', and defines the other three as 'a land tax', 'a rope' and 'beef cattle' respectively.


Lit. 'living space'—Nazi doctrine purporting to justify German occupation of other people's territory.

The new Ngaio Marsh

False Scent (1960). Roderick Alleyn does indeed blow in.


10 September 1960


Third Empire drama. The Times said of it that it combines 'an opening of pure comedy with a dénouement of the sombrest drama.' It was played at the St James's Theatre in 1870 and regularly revived during the rest of the century.


14 September 1960

Combination room

Name given in the University of Cambridge to the college parlour where the fellows meet after dinner, elsewhere called common-room.

the History of High Wycombe in two volumes—also an exciting looking volume called Solutions

The former is L J Ashford's The History of the Borough of High Wycombe from its Origins to 1880; The History of the Borough of High Wycombe from 1880 to the Present Day; Solutions remains unsolved.


cf Shelley's poem Ozymandias on the evanescence of human glory.


22 September 1960

finding my cheeks 'often bedewed with tears of thoughtful gratitude'

Southey, 'My days among the Dead are passed':

And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedewed
With tears of thoughtful gratitude

he never made another run practically

This is something of a myth, propagated by Foley. In fact Alletson in his very next innings (against Gloucestershire at Bristol) scored 80, 60 of which came from 17 strokes in the last half-hour of the day. Then, in 1913—against Sussex again—69 out of 98 from 23 strokes; against Derbyshire, 88 in 60 minutes; against Leicestershire 63 in 25 minutes; and in the Yorkshire match at Dewsbury he hit three consecutive balls from Wilfred Rhodes for six apiece.

Ruddigore and The Mountebanks

Pearson (p. 135) described the libretto for Ruddigore as one of Gilbert's best, but was not quite so enthusiastic about The Mountebanks, whose libretto he called as good as any but the best Savoy pieces (p. 171).


25 September 1960

'an insensate step'

In a letter to Hugh Walpole, Henry James so described his agreement to contribute an article to the Times Literary Supplement in 1914. Quoted by RH-D in chapter eight of his Hugh Walpole.


28 September 1960

'and you cannot think how much it changed her appearance for the worse'

Swift, A Tale of a Tub:

Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her appearance for the worse.

in Rasselas, no doubt—that the scientists had much better busy themselves in discovering a cure for asthma rather than in learning how to fly.

In Chapter 6 of Rasselas, the hero unsuccessfully attempts to fly, but no such conclusion as set out by GWL is mentioned.

Vachell's Eton v. Harrow

In Chapter 12 of The Hill by Horace Annesley Vachell. The book is a story of school life at Harrow.

Macdonell's famous match in England, their England.

A G Macdonell's England, Their England (1933), a humorous novel giving a Scot's view of the English, is remembered for its description of a village cricket match which verges on farce.

Like General Alexander

Alexander eventually relented and allowed his (ghosted) memoirs to be published in 1962.

Kingsley Amis's last novel

Take A Girl Like You (1960).

Golden Legend

Cantata by Sullivan with libretto by Joseph Bennett, based on the 1851 poem of the same name by Longfellow. During Sullivan's lifetime it was widely considered his greatest work of serious music; it was regularly programmed and a command performance was given for Queen Victoria. Overtaken by Elgar's oratorios, the work was neglected in the twentieth century.


1 October 1960

Lusus naturae

A sport or freak of nature.


5 October 1960

Do you remember your Clivus?

Clivus: Elementary Exercises in Latin Elegiac Verse, by A C Ainger, an Eton master. The book was published in 1878, with new editions issued until the sixth, in 1958.

Fowler's match

The Eton and Harrow match of 1910. The Harrow team were generally expected to win, and opened their second innings needing only 55 to win, but were bowled out for 45, Robert Fowler of Eton taking eight for 23.

The Quashiboo Rangers. Author totally forgotten

Herbert Sherring.


9 October 1960

we will stay you with flagons

Song of Solomon, 2:5: 'Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples.' This may not mean what it seems to mean: instead of the AV's 'flagons' other translations offer raisins, flowers, dainties and grape-cakes.


13 October 1960

Pug Ismay's and Horrocks's books

Memoirs of two WW2 generals, The Memoirs of Lord Ismay and A Full Life.

runs down Monty in favour of the Auk

WW2 generals, Bernard Montgomery and Claude Auchinleck.

I made no more of it than Dr Johnson did of playing the flageolet

Boswell, Life of Johnson (footnotes):

…he had once bought a flageolet, though he had never made out a tune. 'Had I learnt to fiddle,' he said, 'I should have done nothing else.'

'Sir, his intellect is disordered'

Boswell, Life of Johnson (1777 section):

I mentioned to him a friend of mine who was formerly gloomy from low spirits, and much distressed by the fear of death, but was now uniformly placid, and contemplated his dissolution without any perturbation. 'Sir,' (said Johnson,) 'this is only a disordered imagination taking a different turn.'


27 October 1960

Strachey didn't know about it

Arnold was one of the 'Eminent Victorians' in Strachey's 1918 book.

The uncle in Clough's 'Dipsychus' described them very well.

'a sort of hobbadi-hoy cherub, too big to be innocent, and too simple for anything else'.


29 October 1960

I talked to Bernard Levin in the Old Bailey

Levin included a chapter on the Lady Chatterley trial in his first book, The Pendulum Years (1970).


2 November 1960

I don't think the prosecutor was very forceful

The prosecuting counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, was not effectual, and was much mocked for asking the jury, 'Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?' Bernard Levin, in The Pendulum Years, slipped a cruelly appropriate and breath­takingly obscene cross-reference for Griffith-Jones into the index.

the same end which he had inflicted on the younger Despenser

Both were hanged, but Despenser was also drawn and quartered.

'spirit-searching, light-abandoned'

Martin Chuzzlewit, Ch. 34.


6 November 1960

tant mieux

So much the better.

The Playboy of the Western World

Dublin Theatre Festival production of J M Synge's play, transferred to the St Martin's Theatre in the West End of London. Siobhan McKenna led the cast, with Donal Donnelly as Christy Mahon.

round the ceinture 

Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture: circular line connecting Paris's railway termini, now disused.


16 November 1960

sub specie aeternitatis

Under the aspect of eternity, i.e. in its essential form.

The Pastoral Symphony

There are other Pastoral Symphonies, but this is assuredly Beethoven's (No 6).

Aunt Sybil … Jack Talbot

Sybil Lyttelton was a younger sister of GWL's father. Their sister Lavinia married into the Talbot family.

in the bill

On the list of boys to be disciplined.

segregationists of Louisiana

In the 1950s and early 60s there remained large areas in the USA where local white politicians and citizens were determined to keep black Americans as an underclass.

'sons of Belial flown with insolence and wine'

Paradise Lost, Book 1, 501/2.

The naked earth

GWL and C A Alington included Grenfell's poem 'Into Battle' in their Eton Poetry Book (1925).

With how sad steps

Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet 31: 'With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies !'

Fool said my Muse; look in thy heart and write

Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet 1: 'Fool, said my Muse to me, look in thy heart, and write.'


19 November 1960

Romeo and Juliet at the Old Vic

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, with John Stride as Romeo, Judi Dench as Juliet, Alec McCowen as Mercutio and Peggy Mount as the Nurse. The Times also disapproved of Alec McCowen's verse speaking—and, indeed, of Judi Dench's and John Stride's. The Gala performance was to mark the tenth anniversary of the Old Vic's reopening after it was badly bombed in WW2. The Queen Mother and the Duchess of Kent (Princess Marina) were present.

'…she's much younger than me.'

Only three years younger. Princess Paul was born in 1903 and Princess Marina in 1906.

'Mysterious Altercation'

A humorous piece about the difficulty of sending baggage by bus from Athens to Delphi.


26 November 1960

D. Somervell's funeral

Lord Somervell died on 18 November. The funeral was at Ewelme church, Oxfordshire.


30 November 1960


Fish restaurant in St James's Street, founded in 1935 as the London outpost of Prunier's in the rue Duphot, Paris. On Madame Prunier's retirement in 1977 it closed, and a Japanese restaurant was opened on the site.


3 December 1960

Mahler's Second Symphony on the radio

Until the 1960s, performances of Mahler's symphonies were rare and noteworthy events. This broadcast performance (by BBC forces conducted by Lorin Maazel) followed a performance at the Royal Festival Hall.

Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck

Conducted by John Pritchard, with Geraint Evans as Wozzeck and Marie Collier as Marie.


7 December 1960

Columbia University

American university, located in New York.


14 December 1960

that Bishop

John Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich, was a witness for the defence in the Lady Chatterley trial.


17 December 1960

what about that Test Match in Australia!

In what Sir Donald Bradman described as 'the greatest Test Match of all time', the first Test between Australia and the West Indies ended in a tie—the first in the history of Test cricket.


26 December 1960

'useful and acceptable' presents

A reference to Joyce Grenfell's celebrated sketch in which an earnest Women's Institute lecturer demonstrates how to make 'useful and acceptable gifts', including boutonnières made of beechnut husks.