Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New Gilbert is Here

The new Gilbert Magazine arrived, and it's a good one: heavy on Joseph Pearce, Schumacher, economics. They're favorite topics of mine, so I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

The best part, however, might be Sean Dailey's first trifle: Golfer Bobby Jones was a Catholic convert and Chesterton fan. He probably read GKC's Fr. Brown story "The Queer Feet," which features a club where the men wear green jackets. Bobby belonged to Augusta National. You probably see the connection, but if not, check out the Golf Digest story, Why Green? Excerpt:

Jones read and often consulted Giovanni Papini's The Life of Christ. Papini had converted to Catholicism, as Jones would do later in life. Authors Charles Price and Mark Frost have claimed that Jones' reading of Papini helped him decide to convert. English writer G.K. Chesterton, widely read during Augusta National's formative years in the 1930s, was another convert. Abbass believes Jones would have read his stories that featured the amateur sleuth Father Brown. Therein, according to Abbass, lies the reason the Masters jacket is green.

In Chesterton's story "The Queer Feet," published in 1911, a thief makes it into an exclusive London dining club that met in the very private Vernon Hotel. Chesterton wrote that the hotel prospered "not by attracting people, but actually by turning people away," and noted, "It was a small hotel, and a very inconvenient one. But its inconveniences were considered as walls protecting a particular class."

Members of a club called The Twelve True Fishermen met there one evening, in their usual dress of black pants and jackets. They brought their "celebrated set of fish knives and forks, which were, as it were, the insignia of the society, each in the form of a fish, and each loaded at the hilt with one large pearl." The waiters, of whom there were always 15, also wore black pants and jackets. However, one waiter was deathly ill, and could not attend. Father Brown had been summoned to minister to him. A thief, aware of the waiter's absence, wore the identical uniform and got into the hotel. The waiters thought he was a Fisherman, while the members assumed he was a new waiter.

The thief removed the dinnerware from the kitchen after the meal. He was nearly out of the hotel when Father Brown heard unexpected footsteps. He captured the thief.

Chesterton wrote that the club "decreed that henceforth the members would wear green evening coats instead of black to distinguish them from the waiters. One never knows what mistakes may arise when one so looks like a waiter. Or a waiter like a gentleman."

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