Saturday, 19 July 2008

'My dear - the noise, the people....'

The useful quotation given above seems to be popping up all over at the moment.

It can be applied, with an air of weary, slightly arch dismissiveness, to a variety of situations.

One thinks, of course, of the hoo-ha-maximus currently going on in the Church of England.

But what is its source?

Resarch indicates that it originated with the actor Ernest Thesiger, a man of such epicene languidness, that he made Noel Coward look like Clark Gable. (Steady with the eye-liner, Ernest...)

Nevertheless, Thesiger fought bravely during the Great War.

Not surprisingly, in later years he was reluctant to recall his wartime experiences.

When asked about his memories of the Battle of the Somme, he sighed briefly and murmured: 'Oh, my dear: the noise, the people...!'

And, finally, Rory is available.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Thesiger was not the first to use this phrase. In 1952, a lone Australian at the Dragon School in Oxford, I read dozens of bound volumes of C19th "Punch" magazine. Somewhere around the 1880's or 90's
I remember a du Maurier drawing of a languid cavalry officer, recently returned from Waterloo, leaning on the chimney piece at his club. A fellow member asked him about the battle. "My dear, the noise and the people!" was the reply. I have always hoped to find it again, to be photocopied and framed.