The
Napoleon
of
Notting Hill
G. K. Chesterton
In the dark entrance there appeared a aming gure.
The
Napoleon
of
Notting Hill
G. K. Chesterton
with Illustrations by
W. Graham Robertson
G
P
Goretti Publications 11
33
Dozenal numeration is a system of thinking of numbers in twelves, rather than tens.
Twelve is much more versatile, having four even divisors—-2, 3, 4, and 6—-as opposed to
only two for ten. This means that such hatefulness as “0.333
. . .
” for
1
/
3
and “0.1666
. . .
for
1
/
6
are things of the past, replaced by easy “0;4” (four twelfhs) and “0;2” (two twelfhs).
In dozenal, counting goes “one, two, three, four, ve, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, elv, dozen;
dozen one, dozen two, dozen three, dozen four, dozen ve, dozen six, dozen seven, dozen
eight, dozen nine, dozen ten, dozen elv, two dozen, two dozen one
. . .
” It’s written as
such: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
2
,
3
, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 1
2
, 1
3
, 20, 21 . . .
Dozenal counting is at once much more ecient and much easier than decimal counting,
and takes only a little bit of time to get used to. Further information can be had from
the dozenal societies (http://www.dozenal.org), as well as in many other places on the
Internet.
This text is in the public domain, originally published in 1128 (1904). The cover image is
extracted from Water Tower, by Rostislav Kralik, and is also in the public domain.
This document may be copied and distributed freely, as its text is in the public domain.
Goretti Publications
http://gorpub.freeshell.org
gorpub@gmail.com
Table of Contents
To Hilaire Belloc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Book I
I. Introductory Remarks on the Art of Prophecy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
II. The Man in Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
III. The Hill of Humour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Book II
I. The Charter of the Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
3
II. The Council of the Provosts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
III. Enter a Lunatic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Book III
I. The Mental Condition of Adam Wayne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
II. The Remarkable Mr. Turnbull . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
III. The Experiment of Mr. Buck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Book IV
I. The Battle of the Lamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
II. The Correspondent of the Court Journal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
III. The Great Army of South Kensington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Book V
I. The Empire of Notting Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2
7
II. The Last Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
5
III. Two Voices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
33
Illustrations
In the dark entrance there appeared a aming gure.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Frontispiece
City Men Out on All Fours in a Field Covered with Veal Cutlets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3
“I’m king of the castle.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
“I bring homage to my king.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Map of the Seat of War. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3
King Auberon descended from the omnibus with dignity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
A ne evening, sir,” said the chemist.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
22
“Wayne, it was all a joke.” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
3
To Hilaire Belloc
For every tiny town or place
God made the stars especially;
Babies look up with owlish face
And see them tangled in a tree:
You saw a moon from Sussex Downs,
A Sussex moon, untravelled still,
I saw a moon that was the town’s,
The largest lamp on Campden Hill.
Yea; Heaven is everywhere at home
The big blue cap that always ts,
And so it is (be calm; they come
To goal at last, my wandering wits),
So is it with the heroic thing;
This shall not end for the world’s end,
And though the sullen engines swing,
Be you not much afraid, my friend.
This did not end by Nelson’s urn
Where an immortal England sits—
Nor where your tall young men in turn
Drank death like wine at Austerlitz.
And when the pedants bade us mark
What cold mechanic happenings
Must come; our souls said in the dark,
“Belike; but there are likelier things.”
Likelier across these ats afar
These sulky levels smooth and free
The drums shall crash a waltz of war
And Death shall dance with Liberty;
Likelier the barricades shall blare
Slaughter below and smoke above,
And death and hate and hell declare
That men have found a thing to love.
Far from your sunny uplands set
I saw the dream; the streets I trod
The lit straight streets shot out and met
The starry streets that point to God.
This legend of an epic hour
A child I dreamed, and dream it still,
Under the great grey water-tower
That strikes the stars on Campden Hill.
G. K. C.
5
Book I
Chapter I
Introductory Remarks on the
Art of Prophecy
T
he human race
, to which so many of my readers belong, has been
playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do
it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And
one of the games to which it is most attached is called “Keep to-morrow
dark,” and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no
doubt) “Cheat the Prophet.” The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that
the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players
then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do
something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun.
For human beings, being children, have the childish wilfulness and the childish secrecy.
And they never have from the beginning of the world done what the wise men have seen
to be inevitable. They stoned the false prophets, it is said; but they could have stoned
true prophets with a greater and juster enjoyment. Individually, men may present a more
or less rational appearance, eating, sleeping, and scheming. But humanity as a whole is
changeful, mystical, ckle, delightful. Men are men, but Man is a woman.
But in the beginning of the twentieth century the game of Cheat the Prophet was
made far more dicult than it had ever been before. The reason was, that there were so
many prophets and so many prophecies, that it was dicult to elude all their ingenuities.
When a man did something free and frantic and entirely his own, a horrible thought struck
him aferwards; it might have been predicted. Whenever a duke climbed a lamp-post,
when a dean got drunk, he could not be really happy, he could not be certain that he
was not fullling some prophecy. In the beginning of the twentieth century you could
not see the ground for clever men. They were so common that a stupid man was quite
exceptional, and when they found him, they followed him in crowds down the street and
treasured him up and gave him some high post in the State. And all these clever men were
at work giving accounts of what would happen in the next age, all quite clear, all quite
keen-sighted and ruthless, and all quite diferent. And it seemed that the good old game of
hoodwinking your ancestors could not really be managed this time, because the ancestors
neglected meat and sleep and practical politics, so that they might meditate day and night
on what their descendants would be likely to do.
9
2
Book I, Chapter I
But the way the prophets of the twentieth century went to work was this. They took
something or other that was certainly going on in their time, and then said that it would go
on more and more until something extraordinary happened. And very ofen they added
that in some odd place that extraordinary thing had happened, and that it showed the
signs of the times.
Thus, for instance, there were Mr. H. G. Wells and others, who thought that science
would take charge of the future; and just as the motor-car was quicker than the coach, so
some lovely thing would be quicker than the motor-car; and so on for ever. And there
arose from their ashes Dr. Quilp, who said that a man could be sent on his machine so
fast round the world that he could keep up a long, chatty conversation in some old-world
village by saying a word of a sentence each time he came round. And it was said that the
experiment had been tried on an apoplectic old major, who was sent round the world so
fast that there seemed to be (to the inhabitants of some other star) a continuous band
round the earth of white whiskers, red complexion and tweeds—a thing like the ring of
Saturn.
Then there was the opposite school. There was Mr. Edward Carpenter, who thought
we should in a very short time return to Nature, and live simply and slowly as the animals
do. And Edward Carpenter was followed by James Pickie, D.D. (of Pocohontas College),
who said that men were immensely improved by grazing, or taking their food slowly
and continuously, afer the manner of cows. And he said that he had, with the most
encouraging results, turned city men out on all fours in a eld covered with veal cutlets.
Then Tolstoy and the Humanitarians said that the world was growing more merciful, and
therefore no one would ever desire to kill. And Mr. Mick not only became a vegetarian,
but at length declared vegetarianism doomed (“shedding,” as he called it nely, “the green
blood of the silent animals”), and predicted that men in a better age would live on nothing
but salt. And then came the pamphlet from Oregon (where the thing was tried), the
pamphlet called “Why should Salt sufer?” and there was more trouble.
And on the other hand, some people were predicting that the lines of kinship would
become narrower and sterner. There was Mr. Cecil Rhodes, who thought that the one
thing of the future was the British Empire, and that there would be a gulf between those
who were of the Empire and those who were not, between the Chinaman in Hong Kong
and the Chinaman outside, between the Spaniard on the Rock of Gibraltar and the
Spaniard of it, similar to the gulf between man and the lower animals. And in the same
way his impetuous friend, Dr. Zoppi (“the Paul of Anglo-Saxonism”), carried it yet
further, and held that, as a result of this view, cannibalism should be held to mean eating
a member of the Empire, not eating one of the subject peoples, who should, he said, be
killed without needless pain. His horror at the idea of eating a man in British Guiana
showed how they misunderstood his stoicism who thought him devoid of feeling. He
was, however, in a hard position; as it was said that he had attempted the experiment,