Wednesday, 8 June 2016


Ugly rumours abound that Victor Mollo's wonderfully entertaining book " Bridge In The Menagerie " , in which players are referred to by animal names in keeping with their table behaviour , was inspired by an earlier albeit unknown literary work  by one of Sir Francis Dashwood's descendents. 
This 19th century masterpiece , entitled " Partnering Animals Is What I Love To Do Most " ,
was written by Bess T. L. Leening. This gifted writer depicted in her book of ill-repute all the club members who gave her the best time. In a doomed attempt to keep their true identities a secret , the animal names she chose completely gave the game away. Indeed , it was all easy easy to identify and name which club member she was referring to , given the fact that their sexual habits and traits had already become common knowledge through idle gossip on the club grapevine. Her top ten favourites included Mr. Ram , Bull , Donkey , Stag , Gorilla , Rabbit , Beaver , Kangaroo , Rhino and Ferret. 
Not surprisingly the book was banned for its illicit and saucy content with critics claiming there was nothing in there for the true bridge enthusiast. Indeed , churches combined their resources to buy up all the books only to burn them straightaway,  before persuading the publisher to stop printing.
Nevertheless , a few copies were secreted away and kept under lock and key by those with a love of animals. How Victor stumbled upon a copy no one knows ,but for him it was a priceless find. So captivated and enthralled by the animal characters ,  he felt compelled to write a book in a similar vein , simply as a tribute and dedication to Bess.

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