Wednesday, November 06, 2019

About the Tollemache-Tollemaches

Some people think I’m in possession of a good memory but in reality it’s always been pretty flawed, and is getting worse. I was never good at useful stuff like revising for exams, or learning lines for plays, or recalling birthdays. But other stuff, pointless stuff, adheres when I don’t even ask it to.

An example: at a very early age, I read in an old copy of the Guinness Book of Records that the longest surname was borne by one Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache and without any conscious effort I’ve remembered that name for more than four decades. When I went to a secondary school with delusions of grandeur, I discovered that there was a Major-General Sir Humphry Tollemache, Bt, on the board of governors, a name that would have sounded gloriously over-the-top in any other context, but I always assumed he was one of the provincial also-rans of the family. (“No, he’s one of the single-barrelled ones. We send him a Christmas card, but that’s all.”)

Sadly, I recently became aware that Leone’s record was something of a dud; in fact, Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache’s surname was merely the relatively succinct Tollemache-Tollemache and not, as the McWhirters asserted, Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache. (Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet were just extra forenames.) However, to make up for that, I discovered that he had a brother with an even better name: Lyulph Ydwallo Odin Nestor Egbert Lyonel Toedmag Hugh Erchenwyne Saxon Esa Cromwell Orma Nevill Dysart Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache. Which is lovely, but for some reason, it’s not sticking.

PS: And as I wrote the above, I remembered the case of Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfe­schlegel­stein­hausen­berger­dorff­welche­vor­altern­waren­gewissen­haft­schafers­wessen­schafe­waren­wohl­gepflege­und­sorg­faltig­keit­be­schutzen­vor­an­greifen­durch­ihr­raub­gierig­feinde­welche­vor­altern­zwolf­hundert­tausend­jah­res­voran­die­er­scheinen­von­der­erste­erde­mensch­der­raum­schiff­genacht­mit­tung­stein­und­sieben­iridium­elek­trisch­motors­ge­brauch­licht­als­sein­ur­sprung­von­kraft­ge­start­sein­lange­fahrt­hin­zwischen­stern­artig­raum­auf­der­suchen­nach­bar­schaft­der­stern­welche­ge­habt­be­wohn­bar­planeten­kreise­drehen­sich­und­wo­hin­der­neue­rasse­von­ver­stand­ig­mensch­lich­keit­konnte­fort­pflanzen­und­sicher­freuen­an­lebens­lang­lich­freude­und­ru­he­mit­nicht­ein­furcht­vor­an­greifen­vor­anderer­intelligent­ge­schopfs­von­hin­zwischen­stern­art­ig­raum Sr, who made the poor old Tollemache-Tollemaches look rather amateurish. And I remembered that I did actually try to memorise his name, but never managed it.

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