The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, May 1905


(Extracts from ‘Rude Opinions, Crudely Expressed,’ by Carrie Morelli.)


IT IS the almost universal passion of the clergy for the more risky type of anecdote that I deprecate. It is a fact well known to those who are behind the journalistic scenes that the Sportive Times relies entirely on London curates for its matter. Under the pseudonym of ‘Doss Chiderdoss’ one of our London archdeacons contributes a weekly poem.


A CLERGYMAN once complained of the small fees allowed him for the burial of paupers. ‘The game,’ he said, ‘is not worth the candle.’ If he wishes to bury a millionaire, he might start with Carnegie. (I never call him Mr.)


I HAVE been reading a finely-written essay on the ‘Social Blight,’ by a Miss Corelli. Carnegie—I never call him Mr.—is worse than a blight. He is, if I may so express myself, a blighter.


WE CALL the Roman Heliogabalus a voluptuary, but his orgies were less ostentatious than many social functions of to-day. You should come to one of my First and Third Thursdays!


I LIKE American women. So they are all right.


BUT AMERICAN men I can’t abear. They call her Gracious Majesty the Queen ‘Alex’—as a habit! It is only one degree better than speaking of me as ‘Carrie.’


THE MODERN looseness of conversation is terrible. A dear friend of mine—a duchess, but quite affable—spoke to me the other day of her ‘Little Mary.’ ‘My dear Julia,’ I replied—I always call her Julia—‘do, oh, do say “digestive apparatus” in future.’


I HAVE often been asked if I would like to see women in Parliament. I may say frankly that I should not imagine a member of the sex that is pre-eminent for grace and beauty taking part in the mad brawl of an Irish night! I would sooner see her playing hockey.


IT IS the fashionable thing nowadays for ladies of rank, before starting on a round of visits, to take twelve easy lessons in cheating at Bridge. Both Morse and Semaphore codes are taught. A dear friend of mine, a countess—I call her Mildred—has made a great success by leaping energetically in her seat when she wishes the declaration left to her.


‘BEAUTY,’ I have read, ‘goes to the wall in a motor.’ This, of course, only happens when the chauffeur is a poor steerer.


THE TRUE test of merit in a book is whether it sells. I sell. So does the author of the ‘Deadwood Dick’ series of penny novelettes.


THE UNSEEN rulers of human destiny are, on the whole, very kindly Fates. They are at liberty to make what use they please of this testimonial.


THEY SAY that Bacon wrote Shakespeare. Soon they will discover a cryptogram in the Waverley Novels to prove that George the Fourth wrote them. Where will this stop? There are people who believe that I am Hall Caine.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


This is a skit on Marie Corelli’s 1905 book Free Opinions Freely Expressed.
Doss Chiderdoss was the pen name of A. R. Marshall. An example of Doss Chiderdoss’s poems in the Sporting Times is online here, with fascinating examples of rhyming slang.
For more on Corelli, see this note. For Hall Caine, see this note. For “Little Mary,” see the notes to one of the Parrot poems.