Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ashley Sterne Mixed Grill February 1925

This is the final installment of Ashley Sterne's Mixed Grill that I found in the Malaya Tribune.  Other installments probably exist somewhere, but I would need to be an actual historian to find them, not a lazy internet dabbler. 

Mixed Grill  (Malaya Tribune, 9 February 1925)

By Ashley Sterne

Although many people wished me a Happy New Year right up to the last possible moment on Wednesday night, 1925 did not begin very happily for me, as the following schedule will show:—

12.30 a.m.  Retired for night.  Bad attack of nightmare.  Fell out of bed.

12.55  Knocked up by policeman, who said he found front door ajar.

1.10  Knocked up by belated reveller enquiring if he was right for Leighton Buzzard.

1.25  Telephone rang.  "Trunk call from Liverpool."  Waited ten minutes.  Sneezed 27 times.  Caught quinzy.  "Sorry you've been ter-roubled!"

1.45  Sank into uneasy slumber.  Nightmare resumed.  Fell out of bed.

1.55  Knocked up by another policeman, who said he found front door ajar.

2.10  Fire next door.  Arrival of fire brigade.  Nothing serious—only kitchen chimney.

3.5  Cat tournament in back garden.

4.5  Telephone rang.  Was I the police-station?  Burglars were buy at No. 14.  I said no; I added it served 'em right.

5.15  Dozed off.  Nightmare resumed with redoubled fury.  Fell out of bed.

5.35  Sweep arrived.  Made nasty noise for twenty minutes.

5.55  Fell into sound and dreamless sleep.

6.0  Telephone rang.  Aunt Eliza just arrived King's Cross from Scotland.  Would I go at once and meet her, as she had lost her purse?

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I don't know who it was said that in contemplating the sorrows of others we forget our own, but he was a liar, anyway.

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I regret to record that late on New Year's Eve several Scotsmen were detected in the vicinity of St. Paul's smelling faintly of liquor.

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A German chemist claims that radium can be extracted from ordinary house coal.  Judging by the price of my last ton my coalmonger has already found this out.

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Professor Wiggam, a Pittsburg scientist, advises all men contemplating marriage to choose women with high insteps, the possession of the same being indicative of all the virtues and graces.

This is all very well, buy how is one to tell that the high instep is not a forgery?  I am old enough to remember the time when, to be eligible, girls were required to be long and willowy, and some of the metamorphoses which took place among maidens of my own acquaintance were simply astounding.  In my innocence, I imagined that their mothers had subjects them to a course of intensive culture under glass, and it was not until I inadvertently kicked off my partner's shoe at a dance one night that I realised that she had added a cubit into her stature by means of some scaffolding, technically known as elevators, concealed in her footwear.

Other girls, I learnt subsequently, actually went so far as to employ stilts—a form of deception which was killed by the introduction of the bobbed skirt.  But it serves to demonstrate the length to which some girls are prepared to go to keep on the market, and if the modern maiden be going to take Professor Wiggam's words to heart—or rather to sole—I can foresee her shortly trickling around with a railway buffet Bath bun [a round sweet roll] concealed in the foot of her stocking.

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For the first time in my life I managed this Christmas to secure the sixpence out of the Christmas pudding.  But alas! there is a thorn in my cup of bliss, for, as a matter of fact, I swallowed the elusive coin.  On first realising that after forty years of strenuous endeavor I at last held in my mouth the coveted trophy.  I gave such a gasp of delight that I unfortunately inhaled the sixpence.  Learning the circumstances, my host most kindly placed his vacuum-cleaner at my disposal, but only with the result that the suction removed a gold crown from one of my upper bicuspids.  Later he very generously offered to defray the expense of an immediate surgical operation, if, since the conjuror he had engaged to entertain the children had not turned up.  I would consent, by way of affording the youngsters a little amusement, to be operated on in the billiard room.  Much as I dislike to disappoint the children, I decided, however, to keep my sixpence undisturbed.  It would be company for the lid of the cocoa-tin I swallowed when a baby.  It isn't every man who can brag that he chinks when he walks.

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(evoked by following the advice of a prominent physician,
who asserts that if we kept our windows open all the
winter we should be immune from influenza.)

For weeks I've been wheesing with bronchial catarrh,
And am feeling most dreadfully bad;
Afflicting me, too, is a cold which by far
Is the worst I have every yet had.
I've asthma, lumbago, vile pains in each lung,
My nose is inflamed, and my eyes;
My bones are all creaking; and furred is my tongue;
While my temperature's up to the skies.
I've got a sore throat, and a painful stiff neck,
And a regular beast of a cough;
I'm looking, they tell me, a positive wreck;
Yet at all such allusions I scoff:
For much solace I get, as I lay in my bed,
When this comforting thought I pursue:—

That though I'm so ill from my foot to my  head,
I can't—praise the pigs!—catch the 'flue.

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A gentleman farmer, named Tyrwhitt,
Went ratting one day with a fyrwhitt;
He ridded his ricks
Of two thousand six,
So they gave him the Order of Myrwhitt.

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An eminent scientific lecturer, delivering a Christmas holiday lecture to children at one of our Technical Institutes, showed how, with a suspended weight and a magic lantern, one can watch the world go round.  When they get a little older, the children will discover that the phenomenon can be more simply demonstrated by means of a tumbler, a corkscrew, and a bottle of Scotch.

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