When Memory with its scorn of ages,
Its predilection for the past,
Turns back about a billion pages
And lands us by the Cam at last;
Is it the thought of “Granta” (once our daughter),
The Freshers’ Match, the Second in our Mays
That makes our mouth, our very soul to water?
Ah no! Ah no! It is the Salmon Mayonnaise!
The work we did was rarely reckoned
Worthy a tutor’s kindly word—
(For when I said we got a Second
I really meant we got a Third)—
The games we played were often tinged with bitter,
Amidst the damns no faintest hint of praise
Greeted us when we missed the authentic “sitter”—
But thou wert always kind, O Salmon Mayonnaise!
Even our nights with “Granta,” even
The style that, week by blessed week,
Mixed Calverley and J.K. Stephen
With much that was (I hold) unique,
Even our parodies of the Rubaiyat
Were disappointing—yes, in certain ways:
What genius loves (I mean) the people shy at—
Yet no one ever shied at Salmon Mayonnaise!
Alas! no restaurant in London
Can make us feel that thrill again;
Though what they do or what leave undone
I often ask, and ask in vain.
Is it the sauce which puts the brand of Cam on
Each maddening dish? The egg? The yellow
The cucumber? The special breed of salmon?—
I only know we loved, we loved that Mayonnaise!
* * * * *
“Did Beauty,” some may ask severely,
“Visit him in no other guise?
It cannot be that salmon merely
Should bring the mist before his eyes!
What of the river there where Byron’s Pool lay,
The warm blue morning shimmering in the
Not this (I say) ... Yet something else ...
Ye gods! to think of that and Salmon Mayonnaise!
THE PROBLEM OF LIFE
The noise of the retreating sea came pleasantly to us from a distance. Celia was lying on her—I never know how to put this nicely—well, she was lying face downwards on a rock and gazing into a little pool which the tide had forgotten about and left behind. I sat beside her and annoyed a limpet. Three minutes ago I had taken it suddenly by surprise and with an Herculean effort moved it an eighteenth of a millimetre westwards. My silence since then was lulling it into a false security, and in another two minutes I hoped to get a move on it again.
“Do you know,” said Celia with a puzzled look on her face, “sometimes I think I’m quite an ordinary person after all.”
“You aren’t a little bit,” I said lazily; “you’re just like nobody else in the world.”
“Well, of course, you had to say that.”
“No, I hadn’t. Lots of husbands would merely have yawned.” I felt one coming and stopped it just in time. Waiting for limpets to go to sleep is drowsy work. “But why are you so morbid about yourself suddenly?”