Lieutenant Zverkov," I began, "let me tell you that I hate phrases, phrasemongers
and men in corsets...that's the first point, and there is a second one to follow it."
He survives at first as 'a phrasemonger
for politicians', writing and selling pithy put-downs--only 'the Irish members' paid him (21)--and by undertaking paid tasks of deception, such as fainting 'in the pit of a theatre to the bribe of an emotional tragedian (a guinea)', and melodramatically 'assaulting]' a young lady and her aunt 'by arrangement with a young gentleman who rescued them and made him run (ten shillings).' (22-23) Though frivolous in themselves, these light-hearted ideas point to the preoccupation with role-playing and emotional deception which informs Barrie's mature prose and drama.
In general, the screenwriters kept only characters that later would become types in Chekhov's mature oeuvre: a wealthy obnoxious landowner (Shcherbuk), a romantic old-timer (Glagoliev), a useless pseudo-patriotic phrasemonger
and idler (Sergei Voinitsev), a careless doctor, buffoon and loafer (Nikolai Triletsky) and a vain impudent servant (Jakov).
And in the course of our reading "On the Island of Taparsi Flowers Bloom" other -ocracies may pop up, making the mind sometimes don Wells's pose of the uncontrollable phrasemonger
: plutocracy, mobocracy, clericocracy.
To compete with phrasemongers
, incapable of thinking consecutively for sixty seconds?
He was not rigidly opposed to change and his government laid the foundations of the welfare state in the 1890s, but he distrusted emotionalism, theorists and phrasemongers
, and his administrations were sparing with new legislation.
If it cannot be expressed in such specific terms, it is a byzantine and scholastic abstraction, good only for phrasemongers
to toy with.