Great Australian Authors #36 - Martin Boyd


Martin Boyd (1893 - 1972)

On a November evening in the middle of the nineteenth century, Mr William Vane, an undergraduate of Clare College, Cambridge, gave a wine party in his rooms. His guests as well as himself had that day ridden to hounds. There had been two kills and they were in high spirits.

A Mr Brayford, of Trinity, while singing a roundelay, let his cigar butt fall on to a spot on the carpet where Mr Vane yesterday had dropped and broken a bottle of scented hair pomade. No one noticed the burning cigar, but Mr Brayford was still sober enough to notice the smell of smouldering wool and smoking perfume.

"Gad!" he exclaimed. "What a stench!" A few minutes later he said" "Gad! I'm going to puke."

Vane had also noticed the smell. Brayford's last remark stimulated a dormant echolalia in his confused and heated brain.

"Gad! It's the Puseyite!" he cried. "The filthy man must be burning incense. Let us wash the filthy man!"

Shouting "No Popery!" -- which expressed in two words the extreme limit of their religious aspiration -- the party trooped down the stairs and burst open the door of the rooms below, which were kept by Aubrey Chapman, a scholarly, slightly asthmatic, mildly High Church undergraduate, who intended to take Holy Orders.

From Lucinda Brayford by Martin Boyd, 1952

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 14, 2006 8:30 AM.

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