A blue-blooded hippopotamus

Lest we congratulate ourselves too early that the violent hysteria which has seized the Press and public is subsiding, and that Reason is climbing back to her perch, we are rudely shaken by that daily masterpiece of culture and refinement, the “Daily Express,” into a due regard for the stern realities of a coronation. The “Daily Express” is not a paper to be read every day. Nature has wisely ordained otherwise. I refer to that well-known fact of psychology by which it is incumbent that the more intense pleasures should be tasted relatively infrequently. A regular reader of the sheet referred to is a deplorable spectacle, and as much to be pitied as a victim of the opium habit.

The usual brilliancy of the “Daily Express’s” dazzling pages reached its blinding zenith a few days ago, when it informed the mere work-a day world that the King—God bless him !—was, in the opinion of the Boy Scouts, a hippopotamus. This, of course, will be greeted by the less intelligent (that is if the first paroxysm of shocked patriotism leaves him mentally whole) with what is known to “Daily Express” readers as a howl of derision, followed by an expression of unbelief in our good faith. Any criticism on these lines is silenced by referring those so afflicted to the “Daily Express ” of Saturday, June 10.

To save you any trouble in the matter I will quote the first part of the column in full :


“Thirty thousand Boy Scouts will greet the King at Windsor on July 4, and the form of their greeting will be far from conventional. The long lines of a military parade will be lacking, for Lieut.-General Baden Powell will marshal the Scouts after the manner of Zulu and Basuto impis.
“Every Scout will give the call of his patrol bird or animal—the wolf, bull, rattlesnake, hyena, peewit, cuckoo, and scores of others. Then there will be a dead silence, and a moment later the Scouts will sing the weird Zulu chant :—
‘Een gonyâma, yonyâma.
Yah bô ! Yah bô !

which, being interpreted means :— ‘He is a lion—a lion ! Yes ! he is better than that ; he is a hippopotamus!’ ”

So that you will perceive that the Boy Scouts are not so mad as they look, not by a jugful. Yah bo ! Yah bo ! The Editor’s salary to three yonyâmas that not one Englishman in a thousand knew the true inwardness of Yah bo until June 10. I hope, further, that any takers will journey to ancient and castellated Windsor on July 4, and take a gramaphone record of 30,000 wolves, bears, bulls, rattlesnakes, hyenas, cuckoos, peewits, etc., in full song, and present it to an Institution for Broken-down Clergymen, to be used as a sedative, or to give them a kindly foretaste of the bliss to come. Let him save a record blank until after the “dead silence.” Dead silence sounds ominous and almost prophetic, doesn’t it ? Thirty thousand sparrow-legged Boy Scouts yell Yah bo ! to the King of England, Emperor of India, etc., provides a spectacle which is at once inspiring, illuminating and of happy augury. This is a joy that Caesar never tasted. Neither Alexander nor Pompey could command it. Thirty thousand penny broomsticks athwart the blue of heaven, and then : “Yah bo ! Invooboo ! ”

Ah ! God is good ! Centuries, ages, aeons of evolution, and then to come to “Yah bo!” Enough ! Our duty is plain and clear as a pitchfork. Our youth shall be instructed in the whole art and mystery of gonyâma, coupled with Yah bo. After which—we shall see what we shall see.


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