An Ode to The Russell

The Saga of Dud the Son of Blowhard

Lo! In my travels I came unto Tivi, of ye land of En, where is also ye School of Blun. And there was a great stir in Tivi because that those of Blun were about to vie one with ye other in running; and ye race was named of them ye Russell.

And so when it was about ye ninth hour, I went up from Tivi and came unto ye School of Blun. And behold there were many youths clad in airy garments; these I followed and came unto a green field.

And behold in ye field was an exceeding great multitude; and there were those having ye appearance of elders and scribes. And one of these elders did call out for every boy his name, and it did strike upon my notice that as each took up his place, his knees smote one against ye other, and he shook as with an ague.

And when they were arranged, each even in his place, behold one of ye elders took unto himself a weapon of strange formation, and he did it even behind his cloak. And in but a little while another of ye elders said unto those that were stricken with ye palsy “Get ready,” and behold they got ready.

And ye strange weapon did emit much smoke, and withal a dreadful noise; and lo! Those smitten of ye palsy leapt forward as if struck from behind. And they fled away over ye countryside.

And as they fled, those of their companions who by reason of their weakness were unable to compete, smiled evilly, and when those fleeing did come unto ye river which is called Low, and did leap therein with doleful wail; behold! Ye non-competitors did laugh loudly and did smite one another in ye waistcoat, even beneath ye third button and did say, “Verily it is a pleasant sight to see these our companions plunge into ye frosted water, and ourselves to be immune.”

And when time had passed, even thirty minutes, ye spectators and elders betook them unto ye roadway. And behold ye elders mounted up, even unto a four-wheeled chariot. Then it came to pass that those that did run began to return, albeit greatly wearied.

Then was there great joy among ye men of Tivi, even among them that had backed a winner. And behold they smote each his neighbour on ye back, and said one to another: “'Ave one with me.” And it came to pass that they went unto a house, yea verily, unto a house that is called public, and did 'ave one, each even with ye other.

The Blundellian
April 1923 (p. 185)