Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Right, sorry, busy. First up, there's a Tall Tales next Thursday, the 29th, and John Finnemore will be helping Marie and me road-test the first episode of Warhorses of Letters (Series 2), among other excellent things. Details here, and if you want to come, please tell us in advance or nothing can be guaranteed - email talltalesnight at gmail.

Second up, what do you know about Mauritius? I know more than I used to, certainly. Mark Twain went there. He's really good. He cobbled together a long quote from an English citizen, whose pithy, Twain-esque phrasing makes it seem as if there has been some editing involved. He's talking about this former governor.*

Pope Hennessey was an Irishman, a Catholic, a Home Ruler, M.P., a hater of England and the English, a very troublesome person and a serious incumbrance at Westminster; so it was decided to send him out to govern unhealthy countries, in hope that something would happen to him. But nothing did.The first experiment was not merely a failure, it was more than a failure. He  proved to be more of a disease himself than any he was sent to encounter.  The next experiment was here.  The dark scheme failed again.  It was an off-season and there was nothing but measles here at the time.  Pope Hennessey's health was not affected.  He worked with the French and for the French and against the English, and he made the English very tired and the French very happy, and lived to have the joy of seeing the flag he served publicly hissed.  His memory is held in worshipful reverence and affection by the French.

* He was reputed to be the model for Trollope's eponymous Phineas Finn.

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