An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder

Saturday, January 21, 2006  

A boy and his dog
Finishing at last, I would slip from the table and saunter towards the gate, where Roger sat gazing at me with a questioning air. Together we would peer through the wrought-iron gates into the olive-groves beyond. I would suggest to Roger that perhaps it wasn't worth going out today. He would wag his stump in hasty denial, and his nose would butt at my hand.

No, I would say, I really didn't think we ought to go out. It looked as though it was going to rain, and I would peer up into the clear, burnished sky with a worried expression. Roger, ears cocked, would peer into the sky too, and then look at me imploringly. Anyway, I would go on, if it didn't look like rain now it was almost certain to rain later, and so it would be much safer just to sit in the garden with a book.

Roger, in desperation, would place a large black paw on the gate, and then look at me, lifting one side of his upper lip, displaying his white teeth in a lop-sided, ingratiating grin, his stump working itself into a blur of excitement. This was his trump card, for he knew I could never resist his ridiculous grin.

So I would stop teasing him, fetch my match-boxes and my butterfly net, the garden gate would creak open and clang shut, and Roger would be off through the olive-groves swiftly as a cloud-shadow, his deep bark welcoming the new day.

Gerald Durrell My Family and Other Animals (1956)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 10:34 pm

Monday, January 16, 2006  

Child abuse is not a new discovery
"Oh God, Charles, more trouble!" she said, beating her hands to and fro in her hair.


"That hostel warden."

"What, old Christmas?" I said. "What's the matter with him?"

"The usual," she said.

"Oh, no! Little boys or little girls?"

"Little boys. Well, big boys - boys in the hostel. It's been going on for months."

"Oh, hell!" I felt sickened, as I always did, though none of us was unused to this sort of revelation. You never saw it coming, and in someone you knew quite well it was always revolting.

John Stroud The Shorn Lamb (1960)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 10:03 pm