excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 72-73 (239 words)

excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 72-73 (239 words)

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Starting from Victoria

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[Leonard Ellisdon had serious heart problems that prevented him serving in WWI and curtailed his work and leisure activities. He had a stroke in 1957 after which he could no longer sing or play piano] 


A good many years ago I was told that I must have most of my teeth removed and in due course was seated on top of an old horse bus proceeding to Bloomsbury Square, where the dentist was. 



The dentist handed me over to an assistant with strict instructions not to give me gas or even a cocaine injection for fear of my heart.


The assistant consigned to me had been a choirboy in Westminster Abbey and we therefore had a lot in common to discuss, so that my visits were pleasantly painful, or painfully pleasant—take your choice. Between the intervals of teeth extraction, one of us would ask, “Do you know such and such an anthem?” and the answer being in the affirmative, we would perform it to the best of our ability, whilst he conducted with his forceps. At the conclusion he would ask, “Can you stand another?” and as I usually could we, between us, put paid to a goodly number of bad teeth in a convivial atmosphere. Some anthems were rather appropriate, such as, “O taste and see” and “O come hither” and “Fling wide the gates”. 

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excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 72-73 (239 words)


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