Works in the Herald 1934

This was told to me by a fellow named John B. Blister, a fellow who is by way of being a sort of a friend of mine, and, so far as I know, his is reasonably truthful.

John B. Blister takes more than a passing interest in international cricket; so, during the recent Test match, on the opening day (or night, depending on whether you are on the roof or the basement of the earth) he naturally had his wireless set tuned to a ball-by-ball description of the match – which, by the way, Australia won. Did you hear about it?

Well, in John B. Blister’s modest suburban villa John B. Blister’s wireless room is the same room as Mrs John B. Blister’s bridge room; so you begin to see, don’t you? For, as you have intelligently surmised, Mrs Blister is something of a bridge addict, and her first name is Pansy, and pansies are for thoughts, although it doesn’t say what kind of thoughts. And, as you have further guessed with rare sagacity, Pansy had a purely feminine bridge party on the very same night as the opening night of the recent Test -– which, inter alia, was won by Australia.

Of course, you have already imagined the scene next morning.

Pansy had been having her thoughts overnight, and she now rendered them vocal in no hesitating manner.

“And for how many nights, may I ask,” she inquired frigidly, “is that abominable noise to continue?”

“Test matches in England,” replied John B. with cold dignity, “are limited to four days.”

“Then all I have to say,” began Pansy icily. But John had left for the city.

On the second evening (Saturday) there was another bridge four; and, next morning the same domestic scene occurred, but greatly intensified; so much so, indeed, that on the following day (Sunday), John, who happened to be having a spot of golf at the country house of a lawyer friend, asked his friend casually at the fifth hole if divorce proceedings were really as costly as people generally assumed. So, you see?

Mrs John B. had another bridge four that night -– oh, yes; it must be admitted the ladies did play on Sundays; but with a difference.

On week days they made their bids quite loudly and gossiped about their female acquaintances. But on Sundays they bid in whispers and gossiped about their husbands, who were all at golf.

Things were slightly different on Monday night. When the bridge finished, the lady guests gathered about the wireless set making bright remarks about wrong moments as they nibbled grotesque looking savories.

After another stiff day at the office on Tuesday, that left him literally a cot case, John B. decided that no matter how exciting the cricket promised to be, it was early to be for him.

After dinner that night, raising his leaden eyelids, John B. gazed sleepily at the strangely bare room.

“What? No bridge tonight?” he asked.

“Darling,” said Pansy, his wife, “I simply couldn’t tonight. The cricket was so exciting last night; and tonight it promises to be absolutely thrilling. So I thought we might listen quietly -– just you and I.”

John B. is a husband with experience. So, nodding his throbbing head on this strangely pliable stalk of a neck, he tuned in, selected his favorite lounge chair, closed his eyes and began to listen.

After hours and hours John B. became aware of the voice of Pansy.

“Wake up, John!” she was calling. “It’s all over.”

“All over?” gasped John B. “Who won?”

“Oh,” gushed Pansy, “it was absolutely thrilling! I have never been so excited! I mean to listen to all the other Tests.”

“But,” persisted John. “Who won?”

Pansy hesitated. “I don’t think the announcer mentioned it. England, I think.

“You think!” yelled John. “But you must know! Didn’t you -–“

“Don’t be absurd,” said Pansy. “I was too excited to notice. But I’m almost sure it was England -– or Australia. I’m certain it was one or the other.”

You are permitted to imagine the glance that John B. Blister shot at his Pansy as he staggered to bed.

He rang me this morning asking if he might listen in to the next Test on my set.

By the way, did I mention that in the match I have been talking about, Australia was victorious!

Herald, 14 June 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-06