I find it a particular pleasure to sit on Oxford buses and listen to young females chattering. There are of course the intermittent well-nigh orgasmic shrieks of Omigoddery; but what I like best is the beautifully honed narrative style wherein the syllable like is interpolated every two or three words. I believe the Hottentot language, also, advances by means of just such repeated clicking sounds; so on an Oxford Number 35 bus, I can close my eyes and imagine myself miles away from the res publica litterarum and on the broad, generous havannas of South West Africa listening to the unspoiled indigenous peoples clicking cheerfully away as if Rousseau still lives and there is no tomorrow.
In his Barchester Pilgrimage, signed off by Mgr Ronald Knox on the Feast of S Ewold 1935, the right reverend Protonotary Apostolic records his aged source Mr Bunce as claiming that it was from the 1890s that "folks began to go frivolous like". Knox observes "The truth of the matter is ... that Mr Bunce began to go forty like; after which age ... [people] notice that the young ... have begun to go frivolous like."
I wonder when this delicious Hotten Tottery, this clicking away with unending likes, first began. And where ... surely not among the ancient bedesmen of Hiram's Hospital in Barchester?