Someone reminded me of the standard grammar all of us Angrez-educated types learned the language from. It was a horrible instrument of torture, written by Wren & Martin. Mr Martin is irrelevant to this post, but Wren was none other than Percival C Wren, ex-Foreign Legionnaire and sometime Chief Inspector of Schools in the Bombay Presidency, best known for the Beau Geste trilogy.
Then the partner abandoned the search for suggestive screensavers long enough to seek out Wren’s other works.
The man who was responsible for India’s grammatical heritage wrote ripe stuff like Snake and Sword and Dew and Mildew.
Here is the first paragraph of Snake and Sword; what with Wren on one hand and P G Wodehouse on the other, I finally know why we write the way we do:
“When Colonel Matthew Devon de Warrenne, V.C., D.S.O., of the Queen’s
Own (118th) Bombay Lancers, pinned his Victoria Cross to the bosom of
his dying wife’s night-dress, in token of his recognition that she was
the braver of the twain, he was not himself.
He was beside himself with grief.”
Oh, give the man a posthumous Bulwer-Lytton.