“After-Bedtime Stories: How Lillian Mosquito Projects Her Voice” (E7)

  • Originally printed: Life Magazine, July 29, 1920
  • First reprinted in: Love Conquers All
  • Original Byline: Robert C. Benchley


Here, the nursery’s caustic conch passes from humanity’s best friend (E6) to one of its most implacable foes, in the anthropomorphized person of Lillian Mosquito. Nothing terribly surprising in RB’s characterization of the despised insect as motivated more by bloody-mindedness than by blood-lust. Lillian is a vampiric ventriloquist, baiting her inept victims to add insulting self-injury to their itches. More interestingly, perhaps, the piece expands upon the previous installment’s note of malaise under Mother Nature’s malevolent tutelage. A shame we never got to learn “how Lois Hen scratches up the beets and Swiss chard in gentlemen’s gardens…”

Favourite moment:
“But he was prevented from leaving by kindly Old Mother Nature, who stepped on him with her kindly old heel…”

Reprint Note:

  • Reprinted under the title “Animal Stories: Part II – Lillian Mosquito”

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