The James Brothers

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The James Brothers

Born in the 1840s in the Eastern United States, the James Brothers were Henry, William, Jesse, and the fourth one whose name I frankly cannot be bothered with (geddit?). They all enjoyed distinguished careers in their various fields.


Henry James is known as a writer of clever, if tiresome, novels such as The Sprues of Pointing and Washington Squeers, notable for their Miltonic syntax (How long does it take you to find the main verb in a sentence in Paradise Lost? Or The Europeans?). He lived in Paris for a time but found it too interesting, so spent his remaining years in Sussex, the most boring part of England apart perhaps from Coventry. William, pholisopher and loony doctor, made a successful career telling people things they already knew. He spent his whole life in New England, and why not? Jesse moved west and became a bandit and outlaw, stealing from the rich and giving a percentage to the poor, or vice versa, as seemed appropriate to him at the time, in cooperation with his brother whose name escapes me. He was shot either by Pat Garrett or Mr Howard, depending on how confused your memory of various songs has become. No one knows, or cares, what happened to his lttle brother WhatsHisName.


It is believed (by me and a diagnosed psychotic in Inverness) that the family connection between the legit James brothers (William and Henry) and the crooks (Jesse and the other one) has so far remained unknown to history, and unpublished in any encyclopedia, not even in Wikipedia (TM), which one might have thought the natural home for idiocies like this, because William used his Tammany Hall connections to conduct a cover-up so as to spare the feelings of his old-maid, fussy, neurotic brother Henry.


The main remaining claim to fame of these appalling siblings is that they gave rise to a well-known saying in the English language: "One flew east (Henry) / One flew west (Jesse) / And one flew over the cuckoo's nest (William)". Given the rule-of-three in jokes and mythology, it is therefore hardly surprising that the fourth James brother has disappeared from memory. From mine at least.

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