The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, March 1907

Man and ‘Super-man.’

The ingenious enterprise of a certain paper in hiring men at 4s. a head to parade the streets as ratepayers crushed by the rates is not likely to be an isolated case. We cull the following advertisements from the daily papers of the day after to-morrow.

HAVE YOU A BIG HEAD? Do you look tired and brainy? Would a stranger, seeing you in the dusk with a light behind you, mistake you for an AUTHOR? If so, apply to the Secretary, Publishers’ Union. Think of it! There may be a place in Monday’s Great Anti-Times Book Club procession for you! And three-and-six (net)!! And a free meal!!! Roll up!

WOMEN WANTED for Great Palace Yard Demonstration. Views on Female Suffrage immaterial, but a thorough working knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu indispensable. Payment liberal for all accepted workers. Special Rates for Sandow Girls.

IS YOUR HAIR LONG? Look in the glass and see! Four hundred haggard and long-haired men are needed by Saturday week in the procession of Musicians thrown out of work by the influx of Infant Prodigies. Why should you not be one of these? You cannot play any musical instrument, you say? Never mind, so long as you can walk. Come on!

DOWN WITH THE LORDS! Down with the LORDS!! There are still two hundred places to be filled in Tuesday’s Grand March Past of Indignant Radical M.P.’s. You would not like to be mistaken for a Radical M.P.? Very well, then, you will miss the half-crown and the free snack at Lockhart’s. Others will rush in where you fear to tread. Two hundred seedy men wanted!

GIGANTIC PROTEST! It is felt by those who suffer from them that it is time some stand was made against the attacks of novelists and preachers on the SMART SET. A mammoth procession has consequently been organized by Algie, Claude, Bobbie, and Freddie. It will start in Rotten Row, lounge through the Park to the Marble Arch, crawl along Oxford Street and down Bond Street, and saunter to Hyde Park Corner, where there will be speeches, skirt-dances, and soda-squirtings. So many of the real Smart Set are busy with bridge and motoring that substitutes are URGENTLY REQUIRED. No special qualifications needed except clean-shavenness and the ability to wear clothes well. All props provided by the impresarios. Payment, ten shillings an hour. Workers may also, at the end of the day, dash themselves up against a drop of something at Freddie’s expense. Apply early.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work as “Man & Superman.” Perhaps the hyphenated form of the word better expresses the joke; rather than Nietzsche’s Übermensch as exemplified in the Shaw play of this title, I believe the reference here is to “super” men in the theatrical sense: supernumeraries, i.e. “extra” actors without speaking lines, such as “spear carriers” or others used to fill the stage in crowd scenes.

—Neil Midkiff