Dulltown, UK: Today’s Raymond Chandler quotation is from his 1949 novel The Little Sister (By the way, inside the cover of my rather old and scruffy hardback copy of the book there is a little green book-shaped sticker which says: Foyles – Catalogue Free – Books Bought – Charing Cross Rd, London WC2. The first page is also rubber-stamped in blue-black ink, it says: Officers’ Mess. R. A. F. Swinderby.):
She swung around and marched to the door and put her hand on the knob and then she swung round again and marched back and suddenly began to cry. I reacted to that just the way a stuffed fish reacts to cut bait. She got out her little handkerchief and tickled the corners of her eyes.
‘And now I suppose you’ll call the p-police,’ she said with a catch in her voice.
Oh dear, I think I need advice, I need sensible up-to-date information on things; where can one turn for reliable information on, well, on everything concerning life today? Of course, the internet…
But, back in 1934 people didn’t have such things; where could they turn when they needed vital information? Well, perhaps they had a handy well-thumbed copy of that deep mine of knowledge and wisdom the Daily Express Enquire Within – I wonder if the Daily Express back then was the same ghastly right-wing rag that it is today? I expect it was even worse back then, it probably had plenty of articles featuring that nice young Adolph H. who was doing so very well in Germany. (As I was typing this I was mouthing the words as they appeared on the screen [a silly thing to do I know] and I noticed that ‘right-wing rag’ is rather difficult to say.)
There are several useful items per page in this book, and also at the head of each page there is a line of wisdom or a proverb to keep us going as we thumb through – I will include one of these with each of today’s selections.
Page 451. (Wilful waste make woeful want.)
To Stuff Birds, Animals &c. – Large animals should be carefully skinned, with horns skull, tail, hoofs, &c., entire. Then rub the inside of the skin with thoroughly with a mixture of one pound of burnt alum with one-quarter pound of saltpetre, and hang up to dry. Large birds may be treated in the same way…
Page 181. (Some female spiders produce 2,000 eggs.)
Terms Used in Whist.
iv. Loose card, a card of no value, and the most proper to throw away.
vi. Quarte, four successive cards in suit.
vii. Quarte Major, a sequence of ace, king, queen, and knave.
x. Ruffing, trumping a plain suit.
xiv. Tenace is the combination in the same hand of the best and third best cards that are still in of any suit.
Page 13. (The half is more than the whole.)
Pigeons are very indifferent food when they are kept too long. Suppleness of the feet shows them to be young; the flesh is flaccid when they are getting bad from keeping. Tame pigeons are larger than wild pigeons but not so large as the wood-pigeon.
Page 497. (He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.)
Hints to Typists. –
Various typewriting machines are on the market, each, naturally, claiming to be the best of its kind. In purchasing one, therefore, the wisest plan is to make inquiries beforehand of friends who use them, and ascertain what has been their experience, and why they believe theirs to be superior to those other makers.
Page 272, (Take care of pence, pounds will take care of themselves.)
Anodyne and Discutient.- Take two teaspoonfuls of scraped white soap, half a teaspoonful of henbane, and dissolve them by a gentle heat in six ounces of olive oil. Use for bruises and sprains but not glandular enlargements, which should never be rubbed.