Friday, 17 April 2009

he was such bally bad form that no one could help likeing him

This is how Tory Blaize begins.

Sir William Blaize was incapable of making a joke in good taste. He was witty about the quick and the dead, the halt, the maimed and the blind. He was even known to speak flippantly of his father-in-law, the honourable Mr Justice Tallboy, a grave, grizzled, courteous man who lived up on Campden Hill in a huge, hideous, comfortable house furnished by his late wife out of Liberty in what was then considered excellent taste.

Upon each of the five occasions when his only daughter, Armorel, was about to produce, hopefully, an heir, she came to her father's house on Campden Hill, and there it was that each of her five daughters first saw the light of day. Joyce, Guinevere, the twins Janet and Elizabeth, and--the last straw--Victoria, who arrived on a foggy November afternoon just as William Blaize was helping himself to a stiff whiskey and soda amid the gleaming, chocolate-brown mahogany in the dining room.

William pops to his club, the Celibates':
'By the way,' said William, looking up from his brandy and soda and glancing anxiously around the room: 'have any of you got red hair?'

Yes. Charlie Sheepshanks had a flaming mop. He emerged from his corner, grinning expectantly.

'Sorry, Charlie old man, I'm afraid I shall have to shoot you,' observed William, 'my new daughter has a scarlet poll, and there's never been a red Blaize yet.'

A newcomer, stepping into all the laughter and noise, blinked and asked what was the matter.

'Blaize has made another joke in bad taste, that's all,' growled Percy Puddifoot, nursing his gouty toe.

'Upon my word,' ejaculated William, 'that's a nice way to refer to my fifth daughter.'

His air of injured innocence set everyone laughing again. WIlliam Blaize was very popular at the Club. As Percy Puddifoot always declared, he was such bally bad form that no one could help likeing him, what?

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