*from Stanley Houghton’s 1914 play, “The Partners“.
“Lucas, Edward Verrall (1868–1938), essayist and biographer, was born at the Villa Stresa in Wellington Road, Eltham, Kent, on 12 June 1868. The Lucases were a Quaker family, and the young Lucas was educated at Friends School in Saffron Walden.
From 1908 to 1924 Lucas combined his work as a writer with that of publisher’s reader for Methuen and Co. In 1924 he was appointed chairman of the company.
Lucas introduced his Punch colleague A A Milne to the illustrator E H Shepard with whom Milne collaborated on two collections of verse and the two Winnie-the-Pooh books.
Lucas’s output was prolific; by Max Beerbohm’s estimation he spoke fewer words than he wrote…”
On June 10th this year, Arunabha Sengupta wrote for CricketMASH:
“In the spring of 1902 JM Barrie, author of Peter Pan, made a new friend. Mr and Mrs Barrie had dinner with this new friend and his wife at the Hewlett’s house in Northwick Terrace, just a couple of mighty hits from Lord’s. Later, Barrie wrote to the Cornish writer Arthur Quiller-Couch: “EV Lucas is the only man I’ve met of late years that I specifically took to.”
The reason was evident. Lucas, then working for Punch, had been born at Eltham in Kent before his family had moved to Brighton. And soon the young Lucas had become a member of the Sussex CCC and a devoted one. During his early twenties, Ranji and Fry had scored mountains of runs and the whole Lucas family, girls and boys, had frequented the Sussex county ground, talking about the cricketers as young folk now talk about pop stars.
Lucas started writing for Globe and then joined Punch. He was a prolific writer, dabbling in light essays, short stories, poetry, travel literature, several biographies and even plays. He told his daughter Audrey that he was a ‘bedroom author’, which meant any of his works could be put by the bedside of a very young girl or a very old lady, without causing any consternation.
This was said no doubt with some disdain for in private he was ‘a cynical clubman, liking to entertain with champagne and brandy, and discussing about politics and decadence of modern art.’ He also supposedly had an extensive collection of pornography.
However, he loved cricket. His collection of essays on the game, Cricket All His Life, was compiled and published after his death and they are delightful. John Arlott called the collection the best of all books on cricket. He also wrote fluent essays for The Cricketer and a charming book of studies of the forefathers of cricket The Hambledon Men. However, the value of the accounts are more in charm and literary quotient than research and uncovering of facts. It is essentially a stylish retelling of John Nyren.
…when Peter Wynne-Thomas compiled his magisterial book Cricket’s Historians, Lucas did feature in two pages.
He obviously played for the *Allahakhbarries. Contrary to the solid principles of the wandering cricket team, he was quite good. ‘A pretty bat and a good field’, it was said. And Barrie himself lamented in The Greenwood Hat “Lucas (unfortunately) has a style.”
*an amateur cricket team founded by J. M. Barrie, active from 1890 to 1913. The team was named by Barrie, both after himself and in the mistaken belief that ‘Allah akbar’ meant ‘Heaven help us’ in Arabic (rather than ‘God is great’).