Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hilaire Belloc would have been 135 yesterday. . .

. . .had he lived. Noted at several places on the web; the one I remember is Chesterton and Friends. Aside from books,essays, and articles on history, politics, economics, religion, biography, travel, and heaven knows what else, he also wrote "Cautionary Tales", of which this is one:

Rebecca, Who slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably.

A Trick that everyone abhors
In Little Girls is slamming Doors
A Wealthy Banker’s
Little Daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to the Furious Sport.

She would deliberately go
And Slam the door like
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild:
She was an aggravating child. . . .

It happened that a Marble Bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the door the little lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!

It laid her out! She looked like that.
* * * *
Her funeral Sermon (which was long
And followed by a Sacred Song)
Mentioned her Virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her Vices too,
And showed the Dreadful End of One
Who goes and slams the door for Fun.
* * * *
The children who were brought to hear
The awful Tale from far and near
Were much impressed,
and inly swore
They never more would slam the Door.

-As often they had done before.