Monday, 2 July 2012

Said Jerome K. Jerome to Ford Madox Ford


Said Jerome K. Jerome to Ford Madox Ford,

'There's something, old boy, that I've always abhorred:

When people address me and call me, 'Jerome',

Are they being standoffish, or too much at home?'

Said Ford, 'I agree; it's the same thing with me.'
-William Cole
'Mutual Problem', collected in The Oxford Book of  American Light Verse (1979).

I finally tracked down this squib, which regularly comes into my mind, but the last line seems a bit lame. The first four are better alone. 

Nowadays, alas, almost everyone is on first-name terms anyway, something I hate, but my American software which sends out mass emails makes me more guilty than most people.

Where did I first hear it? I am sure quoted by the great Robert Robinson on the unsurpassable Stop the Week on Radio 4 one early Saturday evening. It sounds quintessential Robinson.

In my quick search I have came across this line, which I like:

Is it any better in Heaven, my friend Ford,

Than you found it in Provence?
-William Carlos Williams
  TheWedge,'To Ford Madox Ford in Heaven'.

I must read The Good Soldier which everyone says is so good.