Sunday 10 June 2012

How many Peelers away?

This change of residence caused me to lose my way when trying to walk back on the first night of my stay there. Not knowing which way to turn I appealed to a policeman for help. Without a word he signed me to follow him. At the end of the street, he handed me over to another policeman with the two words "Bond Street". This one escorted me the length of his beat, and there another one took charge of me, and so on, till I had counted twelve. None of them spoke a single word to me, and the lose one simply pointed to the door. It is a novel way of reaching one's destination! You just inform your friends that you are eight or ten peelers away, they calculate the time needed, and so can dispense with maps. I had noticed during my walk that policemen were busy testing the doors of houses, which I thought an excellent precaution. Evidently the inviolability of an Englishman's home is not respected by burglars.

Francis Wey, A Frenchman Sees the English in the Fifties, 1935

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