Monday, November 14, 2016

Today -100: November 14, 1916: Put that bloody cigarette out!

The author H.H. Munro (Saki) is shot dead by a German sniper. I’ve been reading his short stories lately. Clever and amusing use of language; his character “Reginald” is like the bastard son of Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest by Saki’s fellow homosexualist Oscar Wilde. Munro’s last words were reportedly “Put that bloody cigarette out!”, addressed, rather too late, to a fellow soldier who was attracting the attention of the sniper. Munro was 45, and yes he was above the age limit to have volunteered for the trenches, but volunteer he did.

The Russian Duma reopens. Alexander Kerensky calls the government “cowards” and “hired assassins” under the control of “the contemptible Grishka Rasputin” and demands that they be removed. Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) Party leader Pavel Milyukov lists many failures of the government, asking over and over “Is this stupidity or treason?” Boris Stürmer and the rest of the government walk out (I’m not sure at what point in the proceedings they did so). Milyukov then sensibly retreats to the British Embassy to hide out until the February Revolution. The the government starts censoring Duma speeches.

Margaret Sanger reopens her birth control clinic.

Dr. Percival Lowell, the astronomer who proved that there is life on Mars, dies of mysterious ray-gun wounds a stroke.

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