Worms – From the Idler


I have been bingeing on the great P. G. Wodehouse and would like to offer the following quote for the day from Carry On, Jeeves (1925). Bertie Wooster is describing the character of the supremely idle Rockmeteller Todd, an American pal, and I offer it as an inspiration to anyone who yearns to cast off the shackles of the nine to five:

‘[H]e had told me himself more than once that he never got up before twelve, and seldom earlier than one. Constitutionally the laziest young devil in America, he had hit on a walk in life which enabled him to go the limit in that direction. He was a poet. At least, he wrote poems when he did anything; but most of the time, as far as I can make out, he spent in a sort of trance. He told me once that he could sit on a fence, watching a worm and wondering what on earth it was up to for hours at a stretch.’

And if anyone is interested in finding out what the worms are up to, they could do worse than read Charles Darwin’s excellent study of 1881, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms with Observations on their Habits (Faber), the result of Darwin’s close study of the humble earthworm. TH



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