The only Shaw I've read so far is the iconic play Pygmalion which, as you probably know, was later adapted as My Fair Lady. I have a vague memory of seeing an amateur performance of Androcles and the Lion ages ago (Mel U has a nice review of it here). I also own a non-fiction book by Shaw titled The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (how’s that for appealing to a reader’s vanity?), but I haven’t read it yet. This week I stumbled upon a short story by Shaw and now I really want to read more of him.
The Miraculous Revenge
Our narrator is Zeno Legge, a pompous, slightly mad youth. Think Bertie Wooster with a mean streak. Zeno means to visit his uncle, who is a Cardinal. The Cardinal decides that the only way to keep Zeno away from trouble and from his uncle’s house is to send him to a village called Four Mile Water to investigate a miracle. A ‘dirty, drunken, blasphemous blackguard’ named Fitzgerald had been buried in the sacred burial ground by the river. But the nun’s and saints buried in the same cemetery are unwilling to share their afterlife with such a disreputable character. So the amazed village wakes up to find that Fitzgerald’s grave has been moved to the opposite bank of the river, overnight. Zeno sets out to debunk the miracle but once in Four Mile Water, he is convinced. What’s more is that he has fallen in love (“I had been in love frequently; but not oftener than once a year had I encountered a woman who affected me so seriously as Kate Hickey.”). But Four Mile Water has more miracles up its sleeve.
I quite liked this story. It was witty and engaging from the very beginning. The bumbling idiot/annoying pest character was funny, if not very likable. I believe Shaw wrote quite a few short stories but sadly, this was the only one I could find online. Anyone else read a short story by Shaw?