This is an illustrated version of “Idle Ideas in 1905.” The non-illustrated edition was previously uploaded to MobileRead in May 2012.
By the author of “Three Men in a Boat,” “Three Men on the Bummel,” “Diary of a Pilgrimage,” “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,” “Stage-Land,” “Paul Kelver,” etc.
Published 1904 / 1905.
Here is another collection of essays from that Idle Fellow. Jerome offers his opinions on music and literature, does a bit of traveling, and takes some wryly humorous looks at social and political issues of the day — many of the points discussed still ring true today, more than a century later.
Twenty of the twenty-one pieces in this collection first appeared in the 1904 collection “American Wives and Others” under different titles. (That edition included five additional pieces that later appeared in “The Angel and the Author — and Others”). The illustrations in this compilation are taken from “American Wives and Others.”
I lived once near the Hyde Park barracks, and saw much of the drill sergeant’s method. Generally speaking, he is a stout man with the walk of an egotistical pigeon. His voice is one of the most extraordinary things in nature: if you can distinguish it from the bark of a dog, you are clever. They tell me that the privates, after a little practice, can — which gives one a higher opinion of their intelligence than otherwise one might form. But myself I doubt even this statement. I was the owner of a fine retriever dog about the time of which I am speaking, and sometimes he and I would amuse ourselves by watching Mr. Sergeant exercising his squad. One morning he had been shouting out the usual “Whough, whough, whough!” for about ten minutes, and all had hitherto gone well. Suddenly, and evidently to his intense astonishment, the squad turned their backs upon him and commenced to walk towards the Serpentine.
“Halt!” yelled the sergeant, the instant his amazed indignation permitted him to speak, which fortunately happened in time to save the detachment from a watery grave.
The squad halted.
“Who the (thunder) and (blazes) and (other things) told you to do that?”
The squad looked bewildered, but said nothing, and were brought back to the place where they were before. A minute later precisely the same thing occurred again. I really thought the sergeant would burst. I was preparing to hasten to the barracks for medical aid. But the paroxysm passed. Calling upon the combined forces of heaven and hell to sustain him in his trouble, he requested his squad, as man to man, to inform him of the reason why to all appearance they were dispensing with his services and drilling themselves.
At this moment “Columbus” barked again, and the explanation came to him.
“Please go away, sir,” he requested me. “How can I exercise my men with that dog of yours interfering every five minutes?”
It was not only on that occasion. It happened at other times. The dog seemed to understand and take a pleasure in it. Sometimes meeting a soldier, walking with his sweetheart, Columbus, from behind my legs, would bark suddenly. Immediately the man would let go the girl and proceed, involuntarily, to perform military tricks.
The War Office authorities accused me of having trained the dog. I had not trained him: that was his natural voice. I suggested to the War Office authorities that instead of quarrelling with my dog for talking his own language, they should train their sergeants to use English.
They would not see it. Unpleasantness was in the air, and, living where I did at the time, I thought it best to part with Columbus. I could see what the War Office was driving at, and I did not desire that responsibility for the inefficiency of the British Army should be laid at my door.
73 illustrations, most are half-page, all are centered. Small drop-caps.