Thursday, May 07, 2009

One from the archives

Now occasionally august magazines like the New Yorker and The Spectator will dig up material from several decades or centuries ago and republish it on their website. This is a pretty neat idea, so I think I'll do it too. Yes, despite the fact that this blog is only four and a bit years old, I present to you this advice page from the WillTypeForFood archives dated to 23 August, 1921. It was a guest post written by my then colleague, Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard. I hope you like it.
Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard's eminently sensible and admirably eminent travel advice for young ladies and gentlemen

Dear Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard,

Recently, while attending a ceremony held by Kong Mopuno of Rhodesia, I found myself surrounded on all four sides by stampeding elephants. What do you advise I do in future to avoid such a difficulty?

Sir Smurpalud

Dear Sir Smurpalud,

Your difficulty is easily avoided by not walking into a herd of stampeding elephants in the first place. Really, one cannot be too firm on this point. If you happen to see a herd of stampeding elephants, turn around and walk in the other direction. Make your feelings known on this matter from the outset. And most certainly, do not fraternise with other gentlemen, even if they happen to be royalty, if they are in the habit of holding ceremonies in the middle of herds of wild stampeding elephants. It is remarkably uncivil and impolitic of them.

FIG 1: A stampeding elephant: best avoided at all costs. Note the naked & fearsome savage bestride the elephant.

FIG 2: A photograph of elephants in a somewhat more placid mood.

Dear Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard,

One finds it increasingly difficult to travel nowadays in the manner to which one is accustomed - especially if one has never had much money in the first place. On my recent voyage to the continent, I was forced to mail myself to Marseilles in a bag not overly large. What do you advise that I do about this?

Ernesto Quillam

Dear EQ,

There are several methods for a gentleman to find the wherewhithal to travel in a comfortable manner. One is through criminal means and the others are through more respectable & conventional methods.

One such method is to be born rich. This is a relatively simple matter. In order to be born rich, you will need either a) a rich mother; b) a rich father; c) an even richer other parent, or d) a combination of the above. Find yourself some rich parents (perhaps through a well-drafted Advertisement in a quarterly journal or newspaper of some Influence), and arrange to be born to them some days after.

A third method is to stumble upon a great treasure, such as Alan Quartermain did in King Solomon's Mines. This way to riches can only be achieved after a great difficulty, personal hardship, and feats of personal endurance. It is therefore a relatively easy matter. I attach a picture showing how the finding of a treasure is to be done

FIG 3: The finding of a great treasure. If you have no pyjamas or turbans to wear for the occasion, consult with your local haberdasher.

Dear Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard,

My youngest son is voyaging by steamship to Cathay and The Furthest Ind. I am concerned: what if he is to abducted by Tatars upon the way? What can I do to allay my fears?

Yours, Q.D., or, 'A Concerned Mother'.

My Dear Lady,

Goodness Gracious! Yes, yours is very concerning news indeed. Tatars are a realistic threat on all sea voyages.

FIG 4: Tatars, a realistic theat on all sea voyages.

I cannot advise the not running into Tatars too highly. Other threats your son might expect include Berbers, Cathars, Mongols, Pirates, The Jerry, the Turkomen, and the Fearsome Hun.

FIG 5: The Fearsome Hun. Note the Grotesque & Abominable Facial Features.

I expect your son will run into them at a rate of one or two a week. O, I am afeard for his life! This means certain death! Is there not anything you can do to dissuade him from this Fateful and Perilous Journey?

& co. & co.,
Lord Grosvenor Mountbatten Goliard-Goliard.

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