rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
[personal profile] nineweaving recently gave me John Julius Norwich's Christmas Crackers, which is a commonplace book filled with the quotations Norwich has, for many years, collected and typed out as Christmas cards and crackers (the store-bought ones don't say much interesting, usually). It's a very good commonplace book, distinguished by being funnier and more impressive than those usually get, and I am treating it as one should treat commonplace books, i.e. opening it occasionally at random, giggling, and putting it down again. In no circumstance do I intend to read it straight through, because then what would there be to boggle at when I pick it off the shelf and open it randomly in a few years or decades?

Anyway, as good commonplace books do, it collects bad poetry as well as good, and I opened it to something so thoroughly appalling that the selection has been stuck in my head for more than a week. I truly think this belongs in the annals of terrible verse with William Topaz McGonagall and Julia Ann Moore, for the comma splices if for nothing else (and there is else). I showed it to Ruth, and spent the next five minutes desperately wishing for a video camera; I really thought they were going to throw the book out of the window.

I warned you. I had to type this out with my own ten fingers.

The lack of line divisions is in the original.

From The Fragrant Minute for Every Day by Wilhelmina Stitch


On November 14th the wife of ______ gave to the world a dear little lady baby.- Birth Announcement.

'A Lady Baby came today.' What words are quite so nice to say? They make one smile, they make one pray for Lady Baby's happiness.'Today a Lady Baby came.' We have not heard her winsome name, we can address her all the same as Lady Baby-Come-To-Bless.

When Lady Baby came to earth, her home was filled with joy and mirth. There's not a jewel of half the worth of Lady Baby-to-Caress. We're glad that Lady Baby's here, for at this sunless time of year there's naught that brings such warmth and cheer as Lady Baby's daintiness.

Hush! Lady Baby's fast asleep, the friendly fire-flames dance and leap and angel's wings above her sweep as on her eyes a kiss they press. 'A Lady Baby!' Lovely phrase, it means she'll have such gentle ways, and grow to goodness all her days - may God this Lady Baby bless!

- Christmas Crackers, John Julius Norwich, p. 130

As a reward, and to help restore you to health and sanity after that, I shall leave you with the statement of the Rev. Sidney Smith found on p. 186 of the same collection:

"I must believe in the Apostolic Succession, there being no other way of accounting for the descent of the Bishop of Exeter from Judas Iscariot."

You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. There are comment count unavailable comments over there.

Date: 2017-02-27 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wilhelmina Stitch wasn't even her real name. She chose that clunker. (Her given name was Ruth Jacobs, later married names Cohen and Collie.) I must agree with Miss Lydgate: "Slipshod, showy, and catchpenny. I am really ashamed of her ... But I believe, poor thing, she [was] very hard up.”

Date: 2017-02-27 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh my, she said faintly.

John Julius Norwich: the gossip of Byzantine history, bless him. But that. That was a bridge too far.

Date: 2017-02-27 02:07 am (UTC)
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Hush! Lady Baby's fast asleep, the friendly fire-flames dance and leap and angel's wings above her sweep as on her eyes a kiss they press.


Date: 2017-02-27 03:06 am (UTC)
rosefox: A cartoon monster's head exploding as he tries to understand something that makes no sense. (head-explodey)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
My face did the thing Ruth's face did, I think.

Lady Baby

Date: 2017-02-27 03:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*sob* So true! So profound! So moving!

Date: 2017-02-27 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Having changed the nappies of both Lady Babies and Gentleman Babies, I can't really call to mind any extra daintiness in the poo overflow situations of the Lady ones.

Date: 2017-02-28 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A source of innocent merriment, of innocent merriment...

I've loved Christmas Crackers since forever. It and its continuations, More, Still More, and The Big Bang, are the best insomnia books ever. If you can't sleep, you might as well have hysterics.


Date: 2017-02-28 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Good gods. There's more of it.

I'll build my house of cotton-wool; 'twill take at least, three big bags full. I'll sprinkle it with dust o' stars, six pints from Vega, six from Mars; then in the night, my friends will see my house a-twinkling merrily!

I'll have no chairs, nor yet a bed, but mounds of thistle-down instead. My cup will be a horn-like shell that secret of the sea can tell. A shell of pink will be my plate; its flutings will foretell my fate. I'll eat the sweetness from the air and sip the wine from blossoms rare. I'll clothe myself in magic weaves of petals white, and bright green leaves.

My mother will be Queen of Snow; my father, King of Firelight Glow. At night with gnomes I'll gaily dance beneath the moon's aloof pale glance, and I will sweetly talk, at dawn, with many a friendly Leprechaun.

And sometimes, Memories will be—my guests for breakfast, luncheon, tea!


Date: 2017-03-05 12:50 pm (UTC)
lokifan: El from White Collar giggling (Giggly El)
From: [personal profile] lokifan
This post is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.


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