Publication notes: First appeared in the United Kingdom in the February 1913 issue of The Strand Magazine, and subsequently in the United States in the March 1913 issue of Metropolitan. It was published in book form as part of The Man Upstairs collection in 1914 by Methuen & Co.
- taken his seat in the brake for the annual outing
- 'Twas ever thus.
A brake is an open, horse-drawn, four-wheeled carriage designed for country use. The commonest form, the shooting brake, was designed to carry the driver and a footman or gamekeeper on a bench at the front facing forward, and up to six sportsmen on longitudinal benches, with their dogs, guns and game along the sides in slatted racks. The brake would evolve to become the estate wagon (UK) or station wagon (US).
Thomas Moore's poem ‘The Fire Worshippers’ (1817) contains the lines ‘Oh! Ever thus from childhood's hour / I've seen my fondest hopes decay.’ Charles Dickens in the The Old Curiosity Shop has Dick Swiveller parody the poem: ‘“It has always been the same with me,” said Mr Swiveller, “always. 'Twas ever thus—from childhood's hour I've seen my fondest hopes decay, I never loved a tree or flower but 'twas the first to fade away; I never nursed a dear Gazelle, to glad me with its soft black eye, but when it came to know me well, and love me, it was sure to marry a market-gardener.”’ Wodehouse was fond of the amended version of the phrase and used it frequently.