Preface  |  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J , K  |  L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q, R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X, Y, Z  |  Index

X, Y, Z

X-RAYS n. rays produced when the sun’s rays cross each other.

YACHT n. a kind of COW.

YEAST n. a famous poet.

YELLOW PERIL n. 1. a banana skin left on the pavement. 2. a racing car.  

ZEBRA n. like a HORSE only striped, and chiefly used to illustrate the letter Z.


Above: Thank goodness for the Zebra. Or else what would we have to illustrate the letter Z?

ZODIAC n. 1. a kind of foreign soldier. 2. the zoo of the sky where lions, goats, virgins, and other animals go after they are dead.

ZOO Of all the animals in this world, the zoo has the most. You go in by a gate, and, when you have got a bit way down, there they are all round you. They can’t run about and hurt you, coz there’s a cage dropped over them all.

They look so vexed coz you can see all they do and can have a good stare all round at them; and they keep looking in the corners to see if they can’t find some bushes and things to hide behind.

The lion, which is the king of all the animals what ever lived, was so little that I shouldn’t have known it was him, only I have seen pictures, and my mother said ‘Look, Tom, now you can say as you’ve seen a lion’.

Why he isn’t quarter as big as an ELEPHANT, and he hasn’t got no trunk. I think the elephant could master him if he liked; but the big silly won’t try, coz he’s so kind, and doesn’t want to be king.

The lion is yellow, not so yellow as in the picture book what the Education Board gave me. He looks at you through the bars like he was saying ‘You think you can fight, don’t you, little boy, just coz you know I can’t get out coz of this bloomin cage. If I could only squeeze through, I’d swallow you and your mother too’.

I said to my mother ‘I should like to hear the lion roaring’. Then she said ‘Why that was roaring just now when the keeper looked in at him’. Then I nearly cried, I was so wild; why it wasn’t like thunder and lightning at all. It just opened its mouth wide, like as you see men sitting at their doors and gaping on Sunday afternoons, and it yoped no louder than an apple cart man does.

When we got to the giraffes, I did like them. They are just the same as the pictures, only alive and walking about. They have little tails but the giraffe is so big, that you’d say they couldn’t wag them. But they can, just as easy as a little DOG can, whether you believe it or don’t. They look at you so nice, just like carves.

The HIPPOPOTAMUS is like a little mashed elephant with its trunk sawed off. Its skin is so thick that it can stay in its pond all day without the WATER soaking through. It makes you shiver when its eyes look up at you. Its eyes are like bits of hard, bright mud with no white, and bleeding red skin all round.

Kangaroos are so nice that you can look a long time at them without feeling tired. Their back legs are about four times longer than the front ones. They sit up just like dogs begging, and they have a bag right in front for their babies to roll about in. They run so silly, just as if they was trying to dance at the same time as they are running.

The fox, what I thought was as big as carves, isn’t worth looking at coz of its size. It does not a bit of good its being sly where it is now, coz there’s no farmers nor hunting men allowed in the cages. It looks as if it wanted to be sly but can’t. When I said to my mother how much it smelled, she said ‘Come along to the other animals; that’s its slyness’.

I like the elephant more than all the others, and my mother let me have a ride. You feel as if you were in a balloon. My mother walked by the side and kept looking up and asking me how I liked it, but I couldn’t tell her till I came down, coz I was rather frightened of talking fear I should slip off.

The elephant what I rode on is called jumbo, and it is the nicest quadruped as ever was seed. It looks as if it couldn’t all of it die, it is so big. I held a bit of bread out to it, but it wouldn’t take it, coz there was a lady with a fine dressed little GIRL who was a giving it sugar buns. I came away crying, coz I should have liked to have told the boys I had fed jumbo. But I didn’t, so I can’t say it.


Illustration by Tosh Bibb

My mother and me then sat down and ate our bread and meat, and drank some milk she had brought in a ginger-beer bottle. My mother seemed to love me a deal that day, coz when we sometimes go to a quiet place, she would stoop down and kiss me a minute, and once she asked me if I would always love her and be a good boy. Why of course I should, I don’t love nobody else like her.