De Birmees – Britse schrijver Saki (pseudoniem van Hector Hugh Munro, een naam gekozen uit de Rubaiyat van Omar Khayyam) werd geboren op 18 december 1870 in Akyab, Birma. Zie ook alle tags voor Saki op dit blog.
Uit: The toys of peace
“What does he do?” asked Eric wearily.
“He sees to things connected with his Department,” said Harvey. “This box with a slit in it is a ballot-box. Votes are put into it at election times.”
“What is put into it at other times?” asked Bertie.
“Nothing. And here are some tools of industry, a wheelbarrow and a hoe, and I think these are meant for hop-poles. This is a model beehive, and that is a ventilator, for ventilating sewers. This seems to be another municipal dust-bin — no, it is a model of a school of art and public library. This little lead figure is Mrs. Hemans, a poetess, and this is Rowland Hill, who introduced the system of penny postage. This is Sir John Herschel, the eminent astrologer.”
“Are we to play with these civilian figures?” asked Eric.
“Of course,” said Harvey, “these are toys; they are meant to be played with.”
It was rather a poser. “You might make two of them contest a seat in Parliament,” said Harvey, “and have an election –”
“With rotten eggs, and free fights, and ever so many broken heads!” exclaimed Eric.
“And noses all bleeding and everybody drunk as can be,” echoed Bertie, who had carefully studied one of Hogarth’s pictures.
“Nothing of the kind,” said Harvey, “nothing in the least like that. Votes will be put in the ballot-box, and the Mayor will count them — and he will say which has received the most votes, and then the two candidates will thank him for presiding, and each will say that the contest has been conducted throughout in the pleasantest and most straightforward fashion, and they part with expressions of mutual esteem. There’s a jolly game for you boys to play. I never had such toys when I was young.”
“I don’t think we’ll play with them just now,” said Eric, with an entire absence of the enthusiasm that his uncle had shown; “I think perhaps we ought to do a little of our holiday task. It’s history this time; we’ve got to learn up something about the Bourbon period in France.”
Saki (18 december 1870 – 14 november 1916)