Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Appeal for Sweaters and Golf Coats

From The Times, 6th January, 1915. 


Sir, -- Will you let me say, in answer to many kind inquiries, that I am still busy collecting, dyeing, and transmitting sweaters and golf coats to troops abroad.

It so happens that when you are kind enough to let me ask for sweaters there is generally some one section of the public whose goodness is much in my mind.  This week my obsession is the country parson.  I have long lost count of the number of sweaters sent me from this kindly source, treasured relics of rowing feats of long ago, disinterred from their lavendered graves, and dispatched with more or less appropriate tags from the Odes or Aeneid affixed.  Nor does the good vicar’s charity stop at home.  Squire and neighbours apparently welcome this kindly raider, with the result that a splendid parcel, carefully packed, comes in the nick of time for some very cold lorrymen, or very wet mine-sweepers.

For the moment the things are going in about equal quantities to the brave men abroad and at home.  I continue to slide about in wet camps and promise dazed adjutants legendary numbers of mythical sweaters; but these, through the kindness of your readers, always materialise the day after to-morrow, and all goes well.  But is it not paradoxical that these sloughs of good temper should be grateful to you and me – who still have morning tea, and The Times, warmed, at breakfast?

I decline to number the sweaters accurately, for fear of biblical consequences, but your readers will like to know that the 10,000 on which I had set my heart is very nearly reached.  Further, owing to the munificent sending of articles other than sweaters, I can still keep my rash promises of “a small weekly supplement” made when saying good-bye.  There are some other unexpected receipts; five poems (most gratifying, but my publishers and my modesty combine to keep them in MS.); one rabbit (tinned and sent to the front – the rest of him is now super-mitts); one offer of marriage (Madam – Reply censored).

Well, may I have many more sweaters and golf coats before, my occupation gone, I join the United Grandfathers?

Yours faithfully,
8, King’s Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C., Jan. 5.

[This is the latest in John Penoyre's campaign of entertaining appeals for old sweaters to be dyed khaki.   An earlier appeal is here

I always though the the idea of a manservant ironing the newspaper before breakfast was a Jeeves-and-Wooster fantasy, but maybe not.]

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