Gilbert Keith Chesterton: The Flying Inn
The Flying Inn may be briefly characterised as a narrative comic opera. It follows the Gilbertian formula of satirising actual anomalies by carrying them out quite logically to burlesque extremes; and the resemblance is heightened by the serio-comic songs with which the characters regale one another throughout the story. Mr. Chesterton takes Prohibition for his point of attack, as it might have been Chancery or Aestheticism or the Admiralty; and his fantasy develops out of the ridiculous facts with the same methodical madness, the same wild precision of logic, which make Patience and Iolanthe and Pinafore a dithering delight. The aristocrat of the hour, becoming fanatical upon the subject of the Higher Orientalism, enacts that no alcohol shall be sold except under the sign of a licensed inn: which license is, of course, refused except to a few highly expensive establishments. But, just as the last inn of old England is about to be torn down, along comes a wild Irish captain who is a friend of the innkeeper; plucks up the sign, and away they go, taking with them a cheese and a keg of rum and a delectable bull-pup who rejoices in the name of Quoodle ...