In America they do not tell Englishmen the story of George Washington and his exceptional devotion to the truth. The reason for that is, I think, because they are too busy telling us yarns illustrative of their conviction that we are entirely devoid of any sense of humour, the favourite, of course, being the one about “we eat what we can and can what we can't.” But even if we are dense and slow‐witted and have no Washington story, we are not without our Washingtons. Myself, I have discovered one and in the most unexpected of situations—in the milk trade, in fact, It was not with a little hatchet he said he had done it, of course; it was with his little bucket. And having prefaced his statements, as did the illustrious original, with the ringing declaration “I cannot tell a lie,” he explained just how the water found its way into the milk. It was because, taking his little bucket and filling it with water, he went round all the milk pails and he swilled them out and then added all the rinsings to the churn containing the milk, all ready for distribution. It was not that he wanted to adulterate the milk; it was that he wanted to make sure that no single drop of milk given by the cows was lost. Not for a moment did it occur to him that the rinsings consisted mainly of water and that the bulk of the milk would be diluted to such an extent that in the churn containing 7½ gallons about a gallon was water. How there could be so much, my lacteal Washington could not understand, as for rinsing purposes he was convinced he used no more than a pint. No one in court or in the witness box could tell him, or his judges either for that matter, and so it finished up with him being called upon to pay a fine of £10 with costs £2 18s. And all because he used his little bucket as he ought not to have used it. I forget what G. Washington's father did to him for demolishing the cherry tree with his little hatchet. The next time I am in America, interrupting somebody's funny story about the uselessness of expecting an Englishman to see anything funny in a funny story, I must ask about this.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1947, MCB UP Limited