The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, August 1907
Our Slack Youth.
(With acknowledgements to the ‘Daily Telegraph.’ )
‘AM I slack?’ said a youth. ‘No such thing.
I can’t hit a bird on the wing:
I’m no good at cricket:
As for football, can’t stick it:
But I’m hot stuff at kiss-in-the-ring.’
A puzzled young fellow at school
Said ‘I used to be called Flanneled Fool;
So I started to work,
And they now say I shirk.
I’m inclined to describe it as cool.’
There is a young fellow at Eton,
Whose slackness has never been beaten.
When invited to run,
He says, ‘No, dear old son.
Such foolishness I am not sweet on.’
THE OLD BULL-DOG BREED.
Said a plucky young golfer, ‘D.V.
World’s Champion some day I shall be.
When I’m using my brassey,
Men whisper ‘That’s Massey!’
(His handicap’s still twenty-three).
THE CLERK’S EXCUSE.
Said a strapping young man in the City,
‘My play at golf used to be pretty,
And I’m active and strong:
But—I work all day long,
So I’m not good at games. More’s the pity!’
Said a youth, most disgracefully fat, ‘Enough!’
When told he did not bowl and bat enough:
‘I know that my neck’s a size;
Still, as for exercise,
Well, I wind up my watch. Isn’t that enough?’
Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.
A series of articles in the Daily Telegraph beginning in July 1907 had introduced the phrase “Our Slack Youth,” and the term became a cliché in the press for many months, including the “By the Way” column in the Globe.
Flanneled Fool: Kipling’s slur on cricketers; see the notes to “Muddied Oafs” for more.
D.V.: Deo volente, Latin for “God willing.”
—Notes by Neil Midkiff