Thursday 29 March 2007


Some humour, however vintage, never really ages - for example: The Dairy of a Nobody and 1066 And All That...

And that was never more true than of a little book of "manners for the multitude" first published in 1907 and entitled NEVER - Never Complain, Never Explain, Never Do Anything Eccentric.

Written by Walter Emanuel, this amusing little pocket book has witty illustrations by the great cartoonist, illustrator and poster artist John ('Skegness is So Bracing') Hassall.

Among the pieces of useful etiquette are such indispensible pearls of wisdom as:

However dull a dinner-party may be, never produce a book from your pocket, prop it up against a candlestick, and begin reading it - even though this may lead to your never being asked to that house again.

If a fish-bone sticks in your throat at dinner, on no account make a fuss. Quietly ask for a cat. When she is brought to you, open your mouth as wide as possible, and let puss insert her head and body and she will soon fetch out the obstruction. Care should be taken to keep a firm hold of the hind legs, as the entire disappearance of the cat may lead to a fit of coughing and no gentleman draws attention to himself.

Be neighbourly. If a dead cat be discovered in your garden, throw it back over the wall. If you get a letter from the next-door people denying that the cat was theirs, write a polite note saying that they may keep it all the same.

Never wear motor-goggles when riding on a motor-bus. It is considerd pretentious.

Never draw attention to yourself. Especially if you are a pick-pocket.

If a lady drops her purse, not only pick it up, but return it to her.

And my personal favourite...

Do not omit to take a menu away with you. It may help the Coroner.

[Never is published in facsimile by Copper Beech Gift Books]


Scrooge said...

I'm glad this is not a serious publication or my life would be severely depleted of enjoyment by the end of the title page ! You mention the 'Skegness' fisherman illustration from the 'Skegness is So Bracing campaign'. A few years ago,I was in Bognor and found they had nicked that illustration and were using it in their tourist campaign with the same slogan merely substituting their own resort's name.I found this most curious as neither IS in my opinion unless it be that you would end up wearing bracing if you asked some of the chavs that are permanently located in those environs to step aside from cluttering up the route of your perambulation.

Unknown said...

Er... are you sure you meant the Dairy of a Nobody?!!! I think that title probably belongs to a minor character in The Archers...

Brian Sibley said...

Oh, Moo... :-(