Friday, 27 April 2012

The Melton Breakfast by Sir Francis Grant

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"The Melton Breakfast by Sir Francis Grant, R.A." which my father had as a jigsaw and which I did many times. It breaths the spirit of Surtees and virile, hierarchical mid-Victorian England. More importantly, it has wonderful red jackets. Red is my favourite colour.




Surtees is no good, by the way, unless you hunt which I do not, and I have no idea why I read so many of his books. If only I been focused instead of a promiscuous reader.. 

 Mr Jorrocks openly debauches housekeepers in a way you do not expect in a Victorian novel, but sporting novelists and their readers evidently preserved a little of the old eighteenth-century licence. 


By the way, I have no interest in horses (beautiful and noble beasts but animals do not interest me) but the one writer who writes well of this world is Arthur Morrison, in his detective stories about Martin Hewitt. Just as Trollope and Balzac are the only fiction writers who can make business interesting, Arthur Morrison is the only one who makes the turf come alive. I have not yet read his famous book A Child of the Jago. I shall. It is about a boy growing up in Hoxton, the infamous slum in the East End where my grandfather grew up. He danced as a boy in music halls at the intervals for pennies, a contemporary of Charlie Chaplin, fought at the Somme and lived long enough for me to remember him.

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