Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Plough in Frank Swinnerton's, 'Coquette'

'It was Saturday night—a winter night in which the wind hummed through every draughty crevice between the windows and under the doors and down the chimneys. 

Outside, in the Hornsey Road, horse-omnibuses rattled by and the shops that were still open at eleven o'clock glistened with light. Up the road, at the butcher's just below the Plough public-house, a small crowd lingered, turning over scraps of meat, while the butcher himself, chanting "Lovely, lovely, lovely!" in a kind of ecstasy, plunged again into a fresh piece of meat the attractive legend, "Oh, mother, look! Three ha'pence a pound!" 

Just over the way, at the Supply Stores, they had begun to roll down the heavy shutter, hiding the bright windows, and leaving only a narrow doorway, through which light streamed and made rainbow colours on the pavement outside. The noise of the street was a racketting roar, hardly lower now than it had been all the evening.'

Opening paragraph of the novel written in 1921,  but set in 1912, by Frank Swinnerton, who liked gin & vermouth and the King's College Chapel Choir. 


  1. I imagine he liked a Martini rather than just gin and vermouth as separate items, although that would be a good James-Bond-like affectation. And I note he didn't request any olives.

  2. @msw, he's an interesting figure - one of those who seem to have been forgotten very fast after their death. 'Coquette' probably isn't one of his best, and it's really not bad.