Sunday, January 10, 2010


Zut alors!

Another week, another headache for the Chunnel. It's amusing to recall that at one time, proposals for a Channel Tunnel were attacked by British nationalists as inviting certain destruction by a French invasion.

Check out this rabble-rousing novel from 1882 that I once came across:

Behold the horrors of the invasion!:

John Smith's first experience of an invader was not a pleasant one. Accustomed to live quietly in a little street just running off the Strand, and there to sell butter and bacon and eggs in sufficient quantity to maintain himself and small family, he had certainly never looked forward to a time when a French sergeant and four infantry privates would be billetted upon him, and would choose his upstairs parlour as their sleeping and living room.... he saw their filthy mess utensils on his light Brussels carpet, and his piano turned into a sort of cupboard for preserved soups, while a silk-covered couch that had been his pride was made into a bed for the sergeant, and some of his chimney ornaments were flung out of the window as being in the way... Screamed at by the sergeant because the domino-box, which he had produced to order, was a small one, and wholly beneath the dignity of a French soldier, and ordered to fetch wine instead of stout, and to put a good dinner on the table, he hastened to obey...

It is true he saw his plate and knives go to fill the haversacks of his invaders, and was obliged to let them take the contents of his till. But after all his was not a specially hard case; it must be confessed he deserved more. For John Smith had contributed as much as anybody, or more than some people, to the very state of things which he now deplored.

He it was who had seconded a resolution at Exeter Hall against a proposed large increase of the English navy.

He it was who had taken shares in the Anglo-French Channel Tunnel...

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