Wednesday, April 15, 2015

C.S. Lewis’s Wit

From Michael Ward's "C.S. Lewis’s Wit":
...Lewis liked to relate the story of a hapless Bishop of Exeter who was giving prizes at an all-girls’ school. ‘They did a performance,’ said Lewis, ‘of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Bishop stood up afterwards and announced, quite innocently, that it was the first time in his life he’d seen a female Bottom.’ ....

Over dinner one night at Magdalen College one of the courses was haggis, the national dish of Scotland, which consists mainly of the blood and intestines of sheep. Seated next to Lewis was a visiting Portuguese dignitary who, while eating his haggis, remarked that he felt like a ‘gastronomic Columbus’. ‘Surely you mean a vascular da Gama,’ said Lewis. ....

When he was about nine years old he came downstairs, sat in an armchair, pressed the tips of his fingers together and announced to the world at large, ‘I have a prejudice against the French.’ His father spun round, snorted and said, ‘Why on earth do you have a prejudice against the French?’ ‘If I knew that, it would not be a prejudice,’ said Lewis. ....

Lewis’s holiday of choice was always a walking-tour with friends. At the end of one such tour, unshaven, muddy, smelly and looking distinctly like a vagrant, he boarded a train for his journey back home. A prim-looking, well-dressed passenger opposite him in the carriage leant forward and said, ‘Excuse me: do you have a First Class Ticket?’ ‘Yes, thank you,’ said Lewis, ‘but I need it for myself.’ ....