Malvern 2 – Thesiger

I remember Ernest Thesiger removing the top of his bathing trunks and being reproved by the pool attendant until he had replaced part of it. “I hereby declare it is indecent to show more than one tit”. Thesiger publicly announced.

In Bridie’s play “The Sleeping clergyman” Ernest Thesiger and Robert Donat were the chief actors. Donat I never knew but Thesiger became a friend of our family and managed to get my brother, John, a small part in a West End play just before war started and life changed for us all. I remember Thesiger reciting a monologue into a disc recorder I owned which I often played until the disc was destroyed in our house fire in 1980. I remember most if the words but am not certain about the adjectives at the end of one of the stanzas.


A Calif so the bards report

Convened the beauties of his court

To choose a bride of empire brief

By the emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Ephemeral, emerald, handkerchief

They chose the harem’s pride and pearl;

She was a Persian dancing girl

And to’rds her fluttered like a leaf

The emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Vapoury, drapery, handkerchief

She caught the ‘kerchief as it fell

And danced and sang so wildly well

She held the Calif’s heart in thief

With the emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Whimsical, flimsicle handkerchief

But all too soon, unhappy maid,

The Calif’s passion cooled and strayed

She wept her salt and scalding grief

On the emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Magical, tragical, handkerchief.

The Calif by her weeping bored

Twisted the ‘kerchief to a cord

And round her neck he took a reef

In the emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Frightening, tightening handkerchief

So dancing girls and other such

Beware of loving Kings too much

Lest you – or they – should find relief

In the emerald green silk handkerchief

Handkerchief, handkerchief, handkerchief

Quadrangular, strangular handkerchief

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