The Gentlest Rebel
Post-Bag Inversions by E. V. Lucas, October 23, 1931
In the days of the Humanitarian League I came once or twice into touch with General Booth. He signed our memorial against corporal punishment; but he was very angry with me personally for my book on Richard Jefferies, in which I showed that Jefferies’s supposed deathbed conversion was all humbug. And on that point the General was not very candid.
By the way, why is it that the Salvationists have ceased to challenge with ‘Are you Saved?’ There is a good story about my brother-in-law, Herman Joynes, a nervous fellow, that when very suddenly thus accosted at some sea-side place, he fell into great confusion, and replied: ‘Oh no! thank you very much; but I’m only a visitor here.’
With regard to what Richard says about the thrill of new inventions, I am deficient in that feeling. What chiefly interests me in electricity is the relief it brings to horses. I think of what Thoreau said about the telegraph: that the first news to come across would be that the Princess Charlotte had the whooping-cough.
The only criticism of the book that I can offer is one which Bernard Shaw once gave me (the only thing he said) when I presented him with a handsome volume: that ‘anyone publishing a book without an index should be put to death. How, for example, am I to find the page, if I want to turn quickly to the story, about ‘prodding Marie’s rotundities’?’
The valiant old vegetarian and humanitarian had been reading a story of mine called The Barber’s Clock.