Daily Chronicle, February 7, 1903

1 (It is stated that the best way of preserving the digestion is to laugh frequently and heartily during a meal.)

“Laugh,” say the faddists, “when you feed,
 That is the hygienic system.
The merits of the scheme? What need
 To state in long, compendious list ’em?
Why, it’s the only way,” they cry,
 “To cure dyspepsia, make you hearty.”
Last night I slept and dreamed that I
 Was giving such a dinner party.

Before me sat the Upper Ten.
 They had not scorned my invitation.
Women of title, titled men,
 True pillars of the British nation.
And round us footmen, undismayed,
 Frisked like young lambs, nor cared a penny.
And e’en my butler, once so staid
 Rollicked—oh, horror!—worse than any.

His eyes were bright: I marked them roll.
 His ways were unrestrained and merry.
I ne’er heard anything so droll,
 So mirthful as his “Hock or sherry?”
Anon he cracked the jovial pun,
 Or bade me guess the latest riddle,
Or prodded, all by way of fun,
 With jocund thumb my waistcoat’s middle.

The footmen, too, did all they could,
 To emulate his gleesome capers.
Now on their powdered heads they stood,
 Now quoted from the comic papers.
Anon our aching sides they split
 With laughter at their clever sallies,
And, when we tired of verbal wit,
 Inaugurated lively rallies.

And so with quip and prank and jest,
 Unceasingly with laughter shaking,
Through this strange dinner we progressed,
 Until I ended it by waking.
But even now I do not feel
 That I have solved the burning question,
Whether or no this type of meal
 Is beneficial to digestion.

P. G. W. 




“A hearty laugh is the mind’s merry physician; furthermore, it aids digestion, shakes up the system, and is as good a tonic to the man or woman as the poker is to the fire.” (Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, January 10, 1903)

John Dawson