Vanity Fair (UK), December 22, 1904

(Louis Pouzot, of Paris, annoyed by a neighbour’s practising on the trombone, attacked him with a knife recently.)

ALL ye whose brows, when German bands
   Strike up, grow moist and clammy,
Who rend your hair with restless hands
   When organs grind out “Sammy,”
Who moan when tuneless loafers try
   To emulate Caruso,
Drink in the narrative which I
   Will sing of Monsieur Pouzot.

This Pouzot, who was on the whole
   The best of men, or near it,
Had little music in his soul:
   He didn’t like to hear it;
He was, in fact, the sort of man
   Who’d rather to the stake walk
Than see a piece Wag-ner-i-an,
   Or listen to a cake-walk.

One eve he sipped his “petit verre”
   (For which the French are sticklers),
When suddenly a raucous blare
   Assaulted his auric’lars;
Now loud, until the plaster cracked,
   Now sinking to a mutter—
The sort of sounds, in point of fact,
   Which only trombones utter.

For minutes five he sat aghast,
   Too dazed for protestation:
And then it crossed his mind at last
   To try Retaliation.
He rose, he frowned, he ground his teeth,
   His breathing seemed to labour:
He drew his dagger from its sheath,
   And reasoned with his neighbour.

 *   *   *   *   *

My friends, whom music night and day
   Has goaded to distraction,
Read carefully this tale, I pray,
   And gird yourselves for action:
The time has come to cure by deeds
   The ills we all abuse so.
London, like Paris, sorely needs
   Her pioneering Pouzot.

P. G. Wodehouse.





“UNDER GREAT PROVOCATION. Louis Pouzot, a Paris workman, who had no soul for music, stabbed to death a fellow-lodger who persisted in practicing the trombone in his rooms.” (Evening Telegraph, December 16, 1904)


John Dawson