Sunday, 17 May 1992

Philip's Safety Razor

Fiction ~ short story
Published in Pearson's Magazine, March 1919; collected in The Countess of Lowndes Square (1920) and in Desirable Residences (1991)
Approx. 4,800 words
(First read 17/05/1992) 

This is EFB at his catty¹ best.  The objects of his contumely on this occasion are Philip and Phoebe Partington, husband-and-wife authors of lurid newspaper serial stories à la Madame Corelli.  Mr P, newly bought a brand new safety razor by his lovely wife, "in order to save cotton wool and his life-blood," soon becomes obsessed with the thorny (well, sharp) problem of how to dispose of the used blades of said instrument.  Having first merely thrown it out of the window into a flowerbed, he ends up moving it round and round the house and neighbourhood to various locations, each one fraught with risk: the cat, wife, housemaid, dog, bathing children (etc.) might come across it by accident and cut themselves.  Finally, on a trip to a munitions factory, he hits on the perfect place for it: a bomb destined for the Western Front.
Jolly fun ~ the ending's a bit of a disappointment² but the rest makes up for it.  Read it online here.

¹ Both front paws, but claws sheathed.
² I imagine (no evidence for this) that Fred wrote this while the War was still going on, as a piece of propaganda lite, but that he missed the deadline.

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