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A Didactic Novel
by [?]



Roger Dangerfield, the famous barrister, is passing through Gordon Square one December night when he suddenly comes across the dead body of a man of about forty years. To his horror he recognises it to be that of his friend, Sir Eustace Butt, M.P., who has been stabbed in seven places. Much perturbed by the incident, Roger goes home and decides to lead a new life. Hitherto he had been notorious in the London clubs for his luxurious habits, but now he rises at 7.30 every morning and breathes evenly through the nose for five minutes before dressing.

After three weeks of the breathing exercise, Roger adds a few simple lunges to his morning drill. Detective-Inspector Frenchard tells him that he has a clue to the death of Sir Eustace, but that the murderer is still at large. Roger sells his London house and takes a cottage in the country, where he practises the simple life. He is now lunging ten times to the right, ten times to the left and ten times backwards every morning, besides breathing lightly through the nose during his bath.

One day he meets a Yogi, who tells him that if he desires to track the murderer down he must learn concentration. He suggests that Roger should start by concentrating on the word “wardrobe,” and then leaves this story and goes back to India. Roger sells his house in the country and comes back to town, where he concentrates for half an hour daily on the word “wardrobe,” besides, of course, persevering with his breathing and lunging exercises. After a heavy morning’s drill he is passing through Gordon Square when he comes across the body of his old friend, Sir Joshua Tubbs, M.P., who has been stabbed nine times. Roger returns home quickly, and decides to practise breathing through the ears.



The appalling death of Sir Joshua Tubbs, M.P., following so closely upon that of Sir Eustace Butt, M.P., meant the beginning of a new life for Roger. His morning drill now took the following form:–

On rising at 7.30 a.m. he sipped a glass of distilled water, at the same time concentrating on the word “wardrobe.” This lasted for ten minutes, after which he stood before the open window for five minutes, breathing alternately through the right ear and the left. A vigorous series of lunges followed, together with the simple kicking exercises detailed in chapter LIV.

These over, there was a brief interval of rest, during which our hero, breathing heavily through the back of the head, concentrated on the word “dough-nut.” Refreshed by the mental discipline, he rose and stood lightly on the ball of his left foot, at the same time massaging himself vigorously between the shoulders with his right. After five minutes of this he would rest again, lying motionless except for a circular movement of the ears. A cold bath, a brisk rub down and another glass of distilled water completed the morning training.

But it is time we got on with the story. The murder of Sir Joshua Tubbs, M.P. had sent a thrill of horror through England, and hundreds of people wrote indignant letters to the Press, blaming the police for their neglect to discover the assassin. Detective-Inspector Frenchard, however, was hard at work, and he was inspired by the knowledge that he could always rely upon the assistance of Roger Dangerfield, the famous barrister, who had sworn to track the murderer down.

To prepare himself for the forthcoming struggle Roger decided, one sunny day in June, to give up the meat diet upon which he had relied so long, and to devote himself entirely to a vegetable regime. With that thoroughness which was now becoming a characteristic of him, he left London and returned to the country, with the intention of making a study of food values.