In Competition No. 2364 you were invited to supply the opening, set in a club, to the sort of 19th-century tale mocked by H.E. Bates: ‘Four of us were having a sundowner when Carruthers, apropos of nothing, remarked ...’. Bates also provided an appropriate ending: ‘It is not for us to judge. But I believe if ever there was a good man it was Roger Carpenter.’ I didn’t invite you to begin your story with Bates’s actual words, but if you did I had no objection. Where have all those clubmen’s names gone? Why doesn’t one run into a Carstairs, Carruthers, Ponsonby or Marjoribanks? Have they gone into hiding in Boodle’s? The prizewinners, printed below, get £25 each, and the Cobra Premium beer goes to J. Seery.
There were no three better men whose advice I could take and no more fitting place than before the fire of the Reprobates Club to take it. Ponsonby — g. and t. — the founder of the Anti-Anti-Macassar League; Johnstone — b. and s. — who had broken the unbreakable ‘Bitter grievances are sweetest’ code of the Madras thugs; D’Alen