Sparkling gems from the greatest-ever humourist

I guess, by this time and age, millions would have read this very prolific and popular writer and thousands (including me, in my own small way) would be praising him for awakening them to the possibilities of the English language…. the transferred epithets (his specialty), the outrageously hyberbolic (and mixed) similes, the impressive imagery and the imagination – all present in a style of humour that has not been surpassed till now.

You should have identified him by now… but even for those unfortunate ones who haven’t or are not able to, here is a selection of what and how he used to write…..

Here goes…..

 …fell into the washing machine and did as many revolutions per minute as a small African republic. 

Mr Waddington’s expression was now that of a cowboy who, leaping into bed, discovers too late that a frolicsome friend has placed a cactus between the sheets.

To attract attention in the dining-room of the Senior Conservative Club between the hours of one and two-thirty, you have to be a mutton chop, not an earl.

 “What a curse these social distinctions are. They ought to be abolished. I remember saying that to Karl Marx once, and he thought there might be an idea for a book in it.”

 He was white and shaken, like a dry martini. (Has happened to me, a few times)

It is much to say that there was a dead silence. There could never be that in any room in which Vladimir Brusiloff was eating cake. (I also knew someone like this)

“Here,” said Murgatroyd, “wake up. Sir Jasper’s calling you.”
“Calling me what?” asked Wilfred, coming to himself with a start.
“Calling you very loud,” growled the butler.

 …it was hard to believe that he could have been adequately fitted out by anyone less spacious in his methods than Omar the Tent Maker. (No comments)

 There was a howl of fury which caused the local policeman, who had just been about to turn into the street, to stop and tie his bootlace. (Again, something I have experienced myself, like this cop) 

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn’t.

Pongo uttered a curious hissing sound like the death-rattle of a soda-water siphon.

The drowsy stillness of the afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G. K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin. (Someone sought to use this for me)

The face was drawn, the eyes haggard, the general appearance that of one who has searched for the leak in life’s gaspipe with a lighted candle. (Again something I can well identify with)

Bingo uttered a stricken woofle like a bull-dog that has been refused cake.

 He uttered a sound much like a bull dog swallowing a pork chop whose dimensions it has underestimated.

Chimp Twist was looking like a monkey that had bitten into a bad nut, and Soapy Molloy like an American Senator who has received an anonymous telegram saying, ‘All is discovered. Fly at once’. (An unusually high opinion of American lawmakers)

 “I hate you, I hate you!” cried Madeline, a thing I didn’t know anyone ever said except in the second act of a musical comedy. (I have known many like Madeline)

It was one of those jolly, peaceful mornings that make a fellow wish he’d got a soul or something…

I have only two things to say to you, Lord Tilbury. One is that you have ruined a man’s life. The other is Pip-pip. (I happen to know several Lord Tilburys, and Lady Ts too)

The more I see of women, the more I think there ought to be a law. Something has got to be done about this sex, or the whole fabric of Society will collapse, and then what silly asses we shall all look. (Speaks for itself)

“Guk,” he said reservedly. A man has to answer snakes when they speak to him, but he is under no obligation to be sunny.

Come to think of it, what a queer thing Life is! So unlike anything else, don’t you know, if you see what I mean.

And two personal favourites…..

He was standing on his left leg. With a sudden change of policy, he now shifted and stood on his right.

His hand moved upwards, and I think his idea was to bare his head reverently. The project was, however, rendered null and void by the fact that he hadn’t a hat on.

To be continued….


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