Monday, August 07, 2017


Danse Macabre

John Buchan (1875-1940), The Complete Richard Hannay Stories (Ware: Wordsworth, 2010), p. 649 (from chapter 8 of the novel The Three Hostages; describing a nightclub):
We paid five shillings apiece for a liqueur, found a table and took notice of the show. It seemed to me a wholly rotten and funereal business. A band, looking like monkeys in uniform, pounded out some kind of barbarous jingle, and sad-faced marionettes moved to it. There was no gaiety or devil in that dancing, only a kind of bored perfection. Thin young men with rabbit heads and hair brushed straight back from their brows, who I suppose were professional dancing partners, held close to their breasts women of every shape and age, but all alike in having dead eyes and masks for faces, and the macabre procession moved like automata to the bands' rhythm. I dare say it was all very wonderful, but I was not built by Providence to appreciate it.
Image of the paragraph:

Note the error—bands' for band's. The error is not Buchan's, because Buchan did not write the paragraph as printed. What is printed is a bowdlerization of the original, done silently in the name of political correctness and cultural sensitivity. The "Complete and Unabridged" claim on the back cover of the book is misleading. Here the censor did his job imperfectly and introduced an error in the course of his meddling. God only knows what other liberties were taken with Buchan's text.

Related post: Pollution of the Airwaves.


<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?