19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 49

Report of the Competition

Life's Little Miseries

WE feel our readers are perhaps grateful for the pleasurable pain we have inflicted by affording them, an opportunity for the contemplation of life's little miseries. At any rate, we have received a very large number of entries for this competition.

The first little misery which caught our eyes was that of " an unsuitable husband." Unfortunately we cannot give the prize to the writer of this frank expression of 'one of life's little miseries out of deference to the husband ! Our decision might also be questioned, as an unsuitable husband might perhaps be described more accurately as one of the greater miseries. However, this is no doubt a matter of individual taste. Other little miseries which do not, in our opinion, exactly qualify for the prize are such trifling inconveniences as " bad health," " a lack of wisdom " or " the want of money."

The most obvious and universally experienced little miseries seem to be such things as banging doors, squeaking pencils, creaking shoes, rattling windows, barking dogs (one's neighbours', of course), just missing trains, being kept waiting, having no handkerchief (generally in church). Amongst the more individual and psychologically significant little miseries, which try those who are susceptible to them beyond endurance, are seeing somebody else reading the book' one wants to read oneself, or having one's face washed when ill. It is strange that many modern inventions—created for the benefit of mankind and to oil the wheels of modern life—should apparently be the cause of so much suffering. But what is more irritating, after getting the wrong number on the telephone, than to be asked by the operator what that number was ? How can one enjoy the cinema when someone in the row behind is reading out the sub-titles ? And the wireless—why is it not wire less ?

We have decided to give the prize to Miss Alice W. Knight for her list of three of Life's Little Miseries—not because they have any universal appeal but because we feel they have come straight from the heart.

1. A tune you can't quite remember.

2. 'A tune you cannot forget.

3. A tune that someone will hum, incessantly and incorrectly. (Miss) ALICE W. KNIGHT, Kentdale, Skelton"Road, York.

Other entries are :—

1. Having your face washed when ill. 2. Suffering the long-winded fool gladly when inwardly seething. 3. Living near a peal of bells.

Mits. SEYMOUR, Maldon, Essex.

1. Every time my husband has painfully written on a postcard his supposed take-the-bun bon mots on his three little miseries, it is my first little misery to have to listen to his wonderful winning horse.

2. And then when he wakes in the middle of the night having thought of a better little misery, and awakes me to share the blessed fact, that is my second little misery.

3. And finally when he doesn't win even honourable mention in the competition, -it is my culminating misery to hear why the winning three little miseries are in every way inferior to my inferior half's three little miseries, which were the best three little miseries for giving me the worst three little miseries I ever had. (Mrs.) C. M. COTTON SMITH, Nettleham V., Lincoln.

1. Having to sit in a tramcar opposite to a person whom one wishes to cut.

2. Calling on an acquaintance and falling into a reverie on the doorstep, the sudden opening of the hall-door banishes from memory the name of the lady to be inquired for.

3. Having made a banal remark which is heard distinctly all over a room owing to a sudden lull in the conversation. L. V. Smearrow, 27 Serpentine Avenue, Ballsbridge, Dublin.

1: To have to get out of bed three hundred and sixty-five times per annum. 2. To be obliged to spend three whole years of one's existence shaving and washing. 3. To be daily jostled, bullied, stifled and bored by the same crowd of fusay, laborious human insects—all as superfluous and objectionable as oneself. JOHN COOK, 18 Morningside Gardens, Edinburgh.