Quotes Laughter

November 20th to 26th


Framlynghame Admiral village is a good two miles from the station, and I waked the holy calm of the evening every step of that way with shouts and yells, casting myself down in the flank of the good green hedge when I was too weak to stand. There was an inn,—a blessed inn with a thatched roof, and peonies in the garden,—and I ordered myself an upper chamber in which the Foresters held their courts, for the laughter was not all out of me.


This is from “My Sunday at Home“, collected in The Day’s Work (1896)

Thbe narrator has been on a train, and has accidentally disembarked  at a small station in the countryside. Through a misunderstanding a fellow passenger, a doctor, has administered a  powerful emetic to a gigantic navvy, a powerful man, who is violently sick.

The navvy, still feeling terrible, then  falls asleep, gripping the doctor by the coat with an iron grasp. To escape he  cius himself out of his exoensive overcoat.

When the navvy  awakes he goes beserk,and wrecks the station waiting-room. The narrator, weak with laughter, heads to the local pub to recover.

“Heavens!” said Jimmy, brushing himself down. “Who’s that real man with the real head?” and we hurried after them, for they were running unsteadily, squeaking like rabbits as they ran. We overtook them in a little nut wood half a mile up the road, where they had turned aside, and were rolling. So we rolled with them, and ceased not till we had arrived at the extremity of exhaustion.


This is from “The Puzzler”, cpllected in Actions and Reactions (1909).

The narrator drives across Sussex with his friend Penfentenyou, a colonial statesman, to track down a distinguished judge. Lord Lundie, at his weekend retreat. Penfentenyou needs to consult him on an important issue of policy. They happen on the judge, with two friends, scrutinising a fine ‘Monkey Puzzle’ tree, and speculating on whether it would actually puzzle a monkey.

An Italian organ-grinder appears on the scene, and the three entice his monkey to try to climb the tree, but unfortunately it breaks into an empty house through the window. They rescue the monkey, but are caught – like naughty schoolboys – by the lady of the house, who is just moving in, and is furious. Penfentenyou, seeing that this is an emergency, saves the day by persuading her that the three have rescued her children from a dangerous beast.

The narrator and Penfentenyou, weak with laughter, introduce themselves to the delinquent three, and retire to the judge’s house. Soon Lord Lundie is pressing Penfentenyou’s case in the corridors of power, with great

Dressing was a slow process, because M‘Turk was obliged to dance when he heard that the musk basket was broken, and, moreover, Beetle retailed all King’s language with emendations and purple insets.

‘Shockin’!’ said Stalky, collapsing in a helpless welter of half-hitched trousers. ‘So dam’ bad, too, for innocent boys like us! …


This is from “Slaves of the Lamp (Part I) collected in Stalky & Co.” (1899).

Stalky, Turkey and Beetle feel oppressed and humiliated by their old enemy Mr King, the brilliant, sneering classics master, and decide to take revenge. They deliberately get themselves thrown out of their study, which is immediately above that of King. Stalky secretly stays behind, and when a local carrier comes by in the dark, rather drunk, Stalky fires stinging buckshot at him from a catapult.

He curses and swears, King raises the window to upbraid him, and the drunken carrier hurles jagged flints at him, wrecking his study.  Beetle, raking the study key down to King, had witnessed the whole affair. Here the three are rejoicing in a cunningly orchestrated victory.

In India some years later, Stalky, now an officer in the Indian Army,  uses a similar manoeuver to set two hostile enemy  tribes againmst each other, as told in Slaves of the Lamp (Part II)