The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, March 1906


I USED to think I’d like to be
A person of position,
A scion, say, of Royalty,
Or some such high condition.
But now I hold the mortal whose
Ambition takes this shape errs.
I’ll tell you why I’ve changed my views—
I read the morning papers.

As I complacently reflect,
I’ve very seldom seen a
Dense, interested crowd collect
When I’m with Angelina.
And, if it does, it is not we
Who entertain the gapers:
Some accident they’ve thronged to see—
(Next day it’s in the papers).

But when a royal couple woo,
It can’t be done in private:
For thousands rally round to view
If they can but contrive it.
With cameras behind the trees
Reporters cut their capers.
He gives her hand a tender squeeze—
Next day it’s in the papers.

Oh, wretched is the monarch’s lot:
How he must long to end it!
And mine, although it’s humble, ’s got
Some points to recommend it.
And so I hold that he who tries
These royal folk to ape errs,
Unless some plan he can devise
To dodge the lynx-eyed papers.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


The betrothal of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, age nineteen, and Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (familiarly “Princess Ena,” age eighteen), a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and niece of King Edward VII, was in the headlines at the time. The two had met in 1905 when the young King of Spain was staying at Buckingham Palace during a state visit to the UK. They would marry on May 31, 1906.