Enquire Within (17). ‘Gentleman walks stealthily…’

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one helping the host change the burnt-out light bulbs in the chandelier using her trunk.

What’s that fusty old smell?
Oh, it’s just my copy of The Daily Express Enquire Within from 1934 – a thick volume of useful information and words of wisdom for nice well-off people living in Britain in the 1930s. Here is a picture of the title page – nice emblem isn’t it?

DSCN4009Shall we dive in dear reader and see if we can find one or two amusing entries? At the top of each page there is a proverb or piece of pithy advice, I will include this with each selection.

Page 270. (Look always on the sunny side.)
Collyria or Eye Washes.
Zinc and Lead. – Dissolve white vitriol and acetate of lead, of each seven grains, in four ounces of elderflower water; add one drachm of laudanum (tincture of opium), and the same quantity of spirit of camphor; then strain. Use as detergent wash.

Page 125. (A truth ascertained is a life pension gained.)
Laws of Croquet.
xxiii. Any player may set upright a peg or hoop except the one next in order; and that, however loose, awry, or slanting it may be, must not be altered except by the umpire.

Page 349. (Yet best! Oh! Best of all doth he who helps a fallen enemy.)
Addresses of Persons of Rank and Distinction.
Ambassadors. – Ambassadors have excellency prefixed to their other titles, and their accredited rank added.
Sup. – “To His Excellency The Right Honourable the Earl of Blank. K.P., G.C.M.G., His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States.” unless the office is held by a commoner…

Page 347. (Pleasure is precarious, but virtue is immortal.)
Hints on Conversation.
It is a common idea that the art of writing and the art of conversation are one; this is a great mistake. A man of genius may be a very dull talker.

Page 188. (Wines were first made in Britain in A.D. 276.)
The Tango.
First step. – Gentleman advances, lady retires. Gentleman walks stealthily, right-left-right-left (count four); right foot to fourth position behind (5); bring left back to an extended fourth position behind (6).
Lady commences on left foot, and retires as the gentleman advances; on beats four and six she rests on the toe only, and on beat 5 hops on left foot.

Page 433. (First be just, then you may be generous.)
To Stain Alabaster, Marble, and Stone.
iv. Green. – Dip blue-stained articles for a short time in nitrohydrochlorate of tin, and then in a hot decoction of fustic. Or boil in a solution of verdigris in vinegar until the desired colour is obtained; a glass or stone-ware utensil should be used.


About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, books, conversation, history, humour, information, instruction, learning, reading, surrealism, words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Enquire Within (17). ‘Gentleman walks stealthily…’

  1. Dana Doran says:

    There are times when I wish there really was an elephant in the room – to change the lightbulbs in a chandelier over a staircase that defies erection of a ladder. Was the lighting source meant to be temporary? Well, if a trained elephant won’t fit in the foyer, then the answer might be “yes.”

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh dear, perhaps someone should buy you a nice scaffolding tower for Christmas…
      In posh houses there is a handle on the wall nearby that can be rotated to move the chandelier up and down on a chain – I’ve seen them in films!…

  2. ktz2 says:

    hahaha the strict hoop laws of croquet

  3. The eyewash sounds a bit dubious. Does one apply it with a toothbrush to enhance the abrasive qualities, per chance? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s