Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man
No apology for writing this book. An imperative duty under present conditions. Description of my parents and their personal appearances. Description of Mon Repos, Angela Gardens. Long anxiety prior to my birth. Intense joy when at last this takes place. My father's decision as to my Xtian name. Early selection of my first godfather.
Trials of my infancy. Varieties of indigestion. I suffer from a local erythema. Instance of my father's unselfishness. Difficulty in providing a second godfather. Unexpected solution of the problem. The ceremony of my baptism. A narrow escape. Was it culpable carelessness? My father transfers his worship to St James-the-Lesser-Still, Peckham Rye.
My parents' studies in the upbringing of children. A successful instance of non-vaccination. Further example of my father's consideration for others. My mother's ill-health. My parents engage a charwoman. Her appearance and character. Physical characteristics of her son. Deplorable social result of the war. Continued presumption of charwoman's son. I rebuff him. Affection for grey rabbit. Charwoman's son's cannon and the use made of it by him. Scenes of violence and intervention of my father. Intervention of charwoman. A lethargic vicar. Was he also immoral? My father transfers his worship to St James-the-Least-of-All.
Further years of boyhood and additional crosses. Progress in study and music. I excel at the game of Nuts in May. I am to go to Hopkinson House School. But Providence again intervenes. I become a victim of the ring-worm. Devastating effect of an ointment. Mr Balfour Whey and his sons. A brutal County Court Judge. But my father obtains damages.
First experiences at Hopkinson House School. It is amongst the masters that I hope to find spiritual companionship. I do not do so. Apology of Mr Muglington. I am struck by a football. Subsequent apology of Mr Beerthorpe. Degraded habits of my fellow-scholars. A fearful discovery and its sequel. Amazing ineptitude of Mr Lorton. Concerted assault upon my person. I am rescued by my father, who procures a public apology.
Reasons for remaining at Hopkinson House School. I pass from boyhood to early young manhood. Expeditions both urban and rural in the company of my dear father. An excellent and little-known diversion. Youthful adventures by sea and land. But what is to be my career leaving school? Various alternatives prayerfully considered. A vision is vouchsafed to us by Providence. A commercial Xtian. My first razor.
A further vision is vouchsafed to us by Providence. Mr Chrysostom Lorton and the sources of his wealth. The debt owed to me by Mr Septimus Lorton. Interview with Mr and Mrs Septimus Lorton. Mr Septimus Lorton's disgraceful attitude. My father is compelled to be frank with him. What I discovered in Greenwich Park.
Second interview with Mr Septimus Lorton. But now the tables are turned. A pitiful exhibition. My father demands guarantees. He will write a letter to Mrs Chrysostom Lorton. My father's ordeal. When it was dark.
Effect upon my father of his disclosure. My Xtian confidence in journeying to Enfield. Paternoster Towers and its mistress. Unfortunate detachment of my posterior trouser-buttons. Triumphant success of my interview. A kindly parlourmaid and her male friend. I secure a position under Mr Chrysostom Lorton. Melancholy death of Silas Whey.
Precautionary measures on entering commercial life. I join the N.S.L. and the S.P.S.D.T. A crying need in the conduct of prayer-meetings. I join the A.D.S.U. Personal appearance of Ezekiel Stool. Personal appearance of his five sisters. Predicament of Ezekiel Stool on the fifth of November. A timely instance of presence of mind. I am invited to a meal at the Stools' residence. A foreshadowing of sinister events.
Design for my grandfather's tomb. Death and interment of Mrs Emily Smith and the aunt that had stood with my mother's mother at the bottom of the stairs. Effect upon my father's health. Alexander Carkeek and his sons. Arrival home from the Stools. First tidings of the new lectern. My father's interview with the vicar. Curious instance of transposition of consonants. My father rehearses his denunciation. Arrival of Simeon Whey. My father repeats his denunciation.
Breakfast finds us calm but grave. My mother is allowed to accompany us to church. My father's clothing and general demeanour. Remark of Simeon Whey on my father's hat. First impression of the new lectern. Unmistakable evidences of guilt. The vicar's feeble apologia. A devilish device and its disastrous results. I race with Corkran for half-a-crown. My poor father is three times dropped.
Description of the injuries sustained by my father. A supremely difficult medical problem. Legal assistance of Mr Balfour Whey. Infamous decisions and public comments. A quiet church and obliging clergy. Surprising character-growth of Ezekiel. A distasteful proposition generously put forward. Disgusting behaviour of a show-room manager.
Person and character of Mr Archibald Maidstone. Irreverent attitude towards the firm's publications. Would-be laxity of two constables. Their tardy performance of an obvious duty. Deplorable condition of my Sunday trousers. Their effect on Miss Botterill and Mr Chrysostom Lorton. The arrival and influence of the Reverend Eugene Cake. Mr Maidstone is dismissed and I succeed him. Complete discomfiture of his three elder children.
Happy years. A typical day. Simeon Whey is at last ordained. His first sermon at St Sepulchre's, Balham. Intensive campaign of the A.D.S.U. I meet Miss Moonbeam and call her Mary. Affecting appeal not to leave her in darkness. I promise not to do so. A face to lean on. Will I come again? Adventure on the stage of the Empresses Theatre.
Disappointing attitude of Ezekiel. Suggested nuptials of Miss Moonbeam. An occasion for tact and postponement. I am obliged to write a letter. Ezekiel accompanies me to the Empresses Theatre. We are a little taken aback by the numbers to be rescued. An apparently delightful beverage. I address Miss Moonbeam's friends on the subject of temperance. Ezekiel addresses them on the evils of the drama. We arrange a meeting. Description of meeting.
Profound depression subsequent to port-poisoning. An iniquitous plot and its consequences. Insubordination of Miss Botterill. I retire from thefirm of Mr Chrysostom Lorton. A crushing rejoinder and its repetition. Second journey to Enfield. Transformation of Mrs Chrysostom's boudoir. Unexpected repentance of Mrs Chrysostom. Unfortunate results of this for myself. Fruitless termination of interview.
Physical reaction following my interview with Mrs Chrysostom. Reception of a wreath from the Maidstones. Moving excerpt from Simeon's diary. I decide to marry one of Ezekiel's sisters. Interview with Ezekiel and his deplorable language. Tact is selected to become my bride. Tragic return to Mon Repos. I fall unconscious, parallel to my father.
Commencement of my life's afternoon. My father's eight sisters-in-law return to Wales. Astounding attitude of my mother. Physical effect thereof on myself. I move to Stoke Newington. Further parochial activities. Simeon Whey obtains a living. I move to Hornsey and become a Churchwarden. Complete decline of Ezekiel Stool. Birth of my son. A happy augury.
First published in the UK in May 1924, and published later that year by Houghton Mifflin in the US, the book was written under the pseudonym of the title. The real author was Sir Henry Bashford (1880-1961), a well-respected doctor.
The illustrations were by ``Robin'', real name Marjorie Blood, who often drew for Punch.
Text preparation and markup by Stewart C. Russell.