By Daniel Counihan
JORKENS BORROWS ANOTHER WI-HSKEY, by Lord Dunsany (Michael Joseph, 12s. 6d.).
TORKENS is one of the great tale." tellers.
He ranks with Scheherazade, who has nothing on him when it comes to contrived suspense; with Kai Lung. in their common knowledge that "there is a time to speak in hyperbole and a time to frame words to the limit of a narrow edge"; with Mr. Mulliner, whose acquaintance is neither wider nor more numerous and curious than his; and with-well, one must not, of course, forget Baron Munchausen.
This new collection of Jorkens's experiences is varied enough to let him display all his many qualities, and most of it is the true vintage. But there are a few stories in which his old touch has faltered, and curiously they are those which set him most clearly in our own times. Could it be something to do with the quality of the borrowed whiskey these days?
Whatever it may be, though one is glad to be reassured that Jorkens survived the war and that there arc still men-with expense accounts, no doubt-who can afford to lend him an occasional tot, it has to be admitted that he does not blossom in the Welfare State.
Take, for instance, the very first story, which is merely an elaborate apparatus for stating the dreary possibility that when guns or what-haveyou are developed to fire right round the Globe, they may be able, from a single position, to bombard an enemy from two directions at once. Not a characteristic Jorkens conception, as the experienced reader will agree at once. But let me reassure students that they may safely ignore this lapse and press on fearlessly; for much splendid stuff lies beyond, notably a delicious little comic macabre about cricket called "The Devil Among the Willows." As ever, the club's Doubting Thomas, Terbut, hovers alertly behind the story-teller's shoulder, waiting to mutter "Bonzoline" over the ivory horn of every Jorkens un:corn, but still, as devotees will rejoice to find. never quite catching him out.