Thursday, January 28, 2010



Who played with a Dangerous Toy, and
suffered a Catastrophe of considerable

When George's Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame,
And being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out! The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below-
Which happened to be Savile Row.

When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf-
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear.

The moral is that little boys
Should not be given dangerous toys.

~Hilaire Belloc


Soozcat said...

Aw, Hilaire Belloc! I have an illustrated copy of "Matilda, Who Told Lies for Fun and was Burned to Death." There seems to be a lot of cross-pollination between his work and Edward Gorey's.

simon said...

yep.... you are right!

Andrew Finnie said...

What a grande glow in this piece. The look on George's face is exquisite, as if he knows what is going to happen! I like how the eye goes from balloon to face to candle .. and thence to the poem.

LDahl said...

Soozcat and Simon:
I wasn't familiar with Hilaire Belloc. My friend Jean sent me the poem and it struck an ornery cord with me, but like I said, wasn't familiar with the author. Since then I've read some more of his poems(?). I'm a fan of Gorey's work, I feel he had more of a sense of mystery in his writing and illustrations. There seems to be a back story in his tales. He wasn't promoting a moral,in fact it seemed he didn't have any more of a clue about what was going on or what was going to happen than his reader does. Just the facts ma'am. So I feel more drawn to and in sympathy with Gorey's characters than Hilaire Belloc's.
I did rather like this George though, it seemed there was more to the story than just an unfortunate accident.

LDahl said...

Hi Andrew...thanks! I felt the illo was a bit of a Fail. I've got a new computer and operating system and I've upgraded my major paint program, and was trying to get my Wacom tablet to work with both. Can't say I was thrilled with the results, but left it, as not all we attempt is sheer awesomeness. Sometimes it's just for the best to move right along and not look back... :))) I appreciate you saw some good in it and didn't hit me over the head with a stick for that which was substandard.
Mostly I'm playing around, attempting to think more creatively without working too hard.

Guyana-Gyal said...

George is not innocent, he's a little boy, not that I think little boys are bad...but just so, naturally, without even trying, they can take an innocent toy and make it dangerous. That's why I like this picture, he almost looks innocent but look at that grin. And the eyes.

I have two older brothers who teased the daylights out of me when we were little, hahaha.

LDahl said...

As you say, boys will be boys... they just like their moment of fun, fun usually being what they should not do, it is like the call of the wild to them. Don't turn a blind eye on the girls either... they are sneaky!!! :)))