The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Practical Jokes

Category: Culture

The hoax, the rag, the spoof, the jape are as popular today as in every other period of English history. Something has to happen, to be done to the embarrassment or surprise or discomfort of the selected victim, who must take it in good part or lose face as a bad sport.”

Apple-pie beds* continue to amuse the English schoolboy and his parents. There is always a self-appointed joker in every party of English tourists who goes round the hotel corridors at night mixing up all the shoes.

Hoaxing authority is a delicious sport which never loses its flavour in England. The British Museum steps warily indeed on receipt of newly-excavated treasures, for even the most distinguished archaeologist is likely to slip them a fast one.*

The new male student at college finds awaiting him a charming invitation to take tea with the Principal of the Women’s College. He arrives punctually on her doorstep, groomed to the best of his ability, to find twenty-five other invited freshmen, a startled maidservant, and a surprised hostess who had issued no such invitations.

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