November Books 5) The Man Who Was Thursday

5) The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesterton

What about Martin Tupper now?

Difficult to be really sure about this one. The plot is relatively straightforward; Gabriel Syme, poet and detective, infiltrates the Central Committee of Anarchists under the pseudonym of “Thursday”.

No one would regret anything in the nature of an interference by the Archdeacon more than I. I trust it will not come to that. But, for the last time, where are your goloshes? The thing is too bad, especially after what uncle said.

But all is not as it seems on the Central Committee and a series of chase scenes, through the streets of London and rural France, ensue, accompnied by dramatic unmaskings.

Fly at once. The truth about your trouser-stretchers is known. — A FRIEND.

Towards the end the chase continues by elephant and by balloon. (Incidentally the latter is liberated from Earl’s Court which apparently in 1907 boasted a ferris wheel along the lines of the London Eye.)

The word, I fancy, should be ‘pink’.

But the plot is interspersed with odd reflections on wealth, power, religion, politics, human characters, and so on; of course it’s not much good as a text on anarchism, any more than Jules Verne or Arthur Conan Doyle is on Mormonism.

When the herring runs a mile,/ Let the Secretary smile;/ When the herring tries to fly,/ Let the Secretary die./ Rustic Proverb.

And the ending just gets truly bizarre. While we know right from the start who Thursday is, the central mystery of the book is the man who was Sunday; and while the author hints at the answer, we are really left to make our own interpretation.

Your beauty has not left me indifferent. — From LITTLE SNOWDROP.

Incidentally I think the “Martin Tupper” referred to must be the obscure nineteenth-century poet rather than the central character of that wacky sit-com “Dream On” – which surely got a little inspiration from this book.

One thought on “November Books 5) The Man Who Was Thursday

  1. Yes, same for me; Planck’s constant is a box on both Blackberry and Android. Which I guess demonstrates the relative market strength of physicists vis-a-vis Serbs and Maltese…

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