imaginary englishman love

imaginary englishman

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  • "This was a different animal entirely. I did not like this son. He wore an AIF badge and an Old Geelong Grammarian's tie. At the time I did not know what the tie represented, but hte camel-hair coat, the military moustache, the way in which cane and gloves were held, all indicated that I was in the presence of an Imaginary Englishman....

    "How could he make an Australian plane with Imaginary Englishmen? You would think Cocky Abbot a reasonable fellow until you met the son, and then you saw what was wrong with him. It was what happened in this country. The minute they began to make a quid they started to turn into Englishmen. Cocky Abbot was probably descended from some old cockney lag, who had arrived here talking flash language, a pickpocket, a bread-stealer, and now, a hundred years later his descendants were dressing like his gaolers and torturers, disowning the language, softening their vowels, greasing their way into the plummy speech of the men who had ordered their ancestors lashed until the flesh had been dragged in bleeding strips from their naked backs.

    "The old man was rough as bags but he was proud because he had sired an Englishman."

    —Peter Carey, Illywhacker, 125–126

    April 16, 2009