Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jack and Tollers discuss pipeweed

With some poetic licence

Tolkien returned to the College and Jack Lewis was waiting for him.

"He ran away or you killed him?"

"Look at my axe, it is clean."

"Ah you would have wiped it clean, as we did with bayonettes in the war."

"Shucks, true, but no, I did not kill him. If I had, the police would be taking me to gaol by now. I mean children can be killed off at the Infant Life Act, if they were in 'good faith', or pretend to have been so, but if I chop down this Friedman guy who cut the lobes from Rosemary's brain, I can get chopped myself for it."

"True, true ... but I think he spells his name Freeman, without a d."

"Oh? I etymologised again? If I had been introduced to myself I would probably have remembered my name as Tollkühn, with an ü!"

"Take some tobacco, it straightens out the brain and I got a fresh package of Three Nuns, if you care to exchange the Cavendish or Navy Cut ..."

"Ah, I have a surprise for you!"

"Oh? Another brand we have not tasted?"

"A Swedish version of the Pipeweed. Affectionately called Old Gilbert, or so they say, though not after our friend in Beaconsfield, may he rest in peace!" (makes sign of the cross) "Belloc sent me a tin, when his friend in Gothenburg - a brewers guild member like himself, alias Unionist, but actually works in a state owned distillery - offered him a few."

They went into the office, Tolkien doffed the helmet and on the table there was a tin*, metallic on top, wrapped with yellowish paper, with the black and white portrait of an officer in uniform and whiskers, and letters were close to handwritten. "Spare me your Swedish, please!" said Tolkien. "I will pronounce it:" and so he did.

gray-veh yil-butt hummil-tawnce blunning
It was written:
Greve Gilbert Hamiltons Blandning.

"Greve, like Graf, means count, if I read the crown over the lettering correct?"

"It does."

Tolkien solemnly opened the tin. C. S. Lewis was reminded of Three Nuns, but this one was just a bit stronger and less dry in taste. The door knocked.


In came the rector, and he said: "sorry to bother you, but there are some policemen here!"

"About the hunting with the axe, I suppose?"


"Why, we were just discussing the other day, and Jack said ... what was it again?"

"Sorry for our times, but with modern weaponry an Anglosaxon man in war gear would hardly be frightful, I said."

"And I added, as Chesterton had observed in some novel, that no, he would not frighten any IRA man exactly, but on the other hand people are so unarmed nowadays, it would not be hard to find someone to put to flight with it."

"Ah, ok, will see if the police take that."

"Do, meanwhile we have some smoking to do."

"Could you spare me a pipefill, please? It is unusual and not bad as a smell!"

"As long as it lasts. Modern bureaucrats will probably find some excuse to alter it ... especially since it seems to be the most popular tobacco of all Sweden."

The rector got his pipefill and went out to talk to the police. But let us now return to Susan.

*Picture link taken from a Swedish blog post: Handplockat: Tidens gång.