Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

Some Do Not... - Ford Madox Ford, Max Saunders

I think this is my favourite scene so far:


Tietjens and Macmaster are playing golf with Sandbach. There is much mutual dislike between Sandbach and Tietjens:

"Sandbach hated Tietjens for being a Tietjens of Groby: Tietjens was enraged by the existence of Sandbach, who was the son of an ennobled mayor of Middlesbrough, seven miles or so from Groby. The feuds between the Cleveland landowners and the Cleveland plutocrats are very bitter."

Tietjens doesn't like golf - I like him more and more with each page! - but he plays along. I love how Ford describes the men's efforts on the golf course:

"Playing very slowly, for both were desultory and Sandbach very lame, they lost sight of the others behind some coastguard cottages and dunes before they had left the third tee. Because of his game leg Sandbach sliced a good deal. On this occasion he sliced right into the gardens of the cottages and went with his boy to look for his ball among potato-haulms, beyond a low wall. Tietjens patted his own ball lazily up the fairway and, dragging his bag behind him by the strap, he sauntered on.

Although Tietjens hated golf as he hated any occupation that was of a competitive nature, he could engross himself in the mathematics of trajectories when he accompanied Macmaster in one of his expeditions for practice. He accompanied Macmaster because he liked there to be one pursuit at which his friend undisputably excelled himself, for it was a bore always brow-beating the fellow."

Then the game is interrupted by a couple of Suffragettes, who are then chased by a group of men and the police across the golf course. 

"'I say...'

He continued to look at his ball.

'Sorry to spoil your shot,' the voice said. 'But...'

Tietjens dropped his club altogether and straightened his back. A fair young woman with a fixed scowl was looking at him intently. She had a short skirt and was panting a little.

'I say,' she said, 'go and see they don't hurt Gertie. I've lost her...'

She pointed back to the sandhills.

'There looked to be some beasts among them.'

She seemed a perfectly negligible girl except for the frown: her eyes blue, her hair no doubt fair under a white canvas hat. She had a striped cotton blouse, but her fawn tweed skirt was well hung.

Tietjens said: 'You've been demonstrating.'

She said: 'Of course we have, and of course you object on principle. But you won't let a girl be man-handled. Don't wait to tell me, I know it...'


Noises existed. Sandbach, from beyond the low garden wall fifty yards away, was yelping, just like a dog: 'Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!' and gesticulating. His little caddy, entangled in his golfbag, was trying to scramble over the wall. On top of a high sandhill stood the policeman: he waved his arms like a windmill and shouted. Beside him and behind, slowly rising, were the heads of the General, Macmaster and their two boys. Farther along, in completion, were appearing the figures of Mr Waterhouse, his two companions and their three boys. The Minister was waving his driver and shouting. They all shouted."

Tietjens does not like the men's behaviour towards the two women, so steps in by threatening to knock one of the men out if he so much as touches the women and  by accidentally throwing his golf bag in the policeman's way to ensure the two women can escape safely. 

'Seventeen to two! The usual male odds! You'll have to go round by Camber railway bridge, and we'll be in Folkestone by then. We've got bicycles!' She was half going when she checked and, searching out Tietjens to address, exclaimed: 'I'm sorry I said that. Because some of you didn't want to catch us. But some of you did. And you were seventeen to two.'

She addressed Mr Waterhouse: 'Why don't you give women the vote?' she said. 'You'll find it will interfere a good deal with your indispensable golf if you don't. Then what becomes of the nation's health?'

I really like how Ford effortlessly combines the slapstick of a Wooster story with the social conscience of a Forster novel, and the mockery of the ruling classes and general "good society" is absolutely brilliant - as Tietjens is the one and only character in this story who keeps being accused of lacking any morals.