The Satisfaction of a Gentleman

(notes by Isabel Quigly)

Publication history

The story was first published in The London Magazine and McCall’s Magazine in September 1929, and subsequently collected in The Complete Stalky & Co. (1929)

The story

Stalky & Co. are at war with Dick Four and his friends. Skirmishes involving burning golf balls in study grates and congealed bacon fat on study windows, lead on to a full scale duel with saloon pistols in the Bunkers. At the climax Beetle is drilled from behind, falls into a bunker on top of an elderly golfer, swears at him, and flees.

Soon after, Stalky & Co. and Dick Four are summoned by the Head, given a loud and serious ticking off for ‘brewing up’ on the gas in their studies, and soundly beaten. They thought at first that the Head must have discovered about the duel, and are baffled by his apparent fury about brewing. It is only revealed some years later that the elderly golfer had been Colonel Curthwen, a member of the School Board, angry about the dangerous misuse of gas, infuriated by being sworn at by Beetle, and demanding that the culprits be punished severely.

The Head had been playing up to pacify him, while the colonel listened in the next room.