In "The Quick One" in The Scandal of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing two strange men entered a hotel with beach, saying:

Two quaintly assorted figures did, indeed, enter that quiet hotel on that sunny afternoon; one being conspicuous in the sunlight, and visible over the whole shore, by the fact of wearing a lustrous green turban, surrounding a brown face and a black beard; the other would have seemed to some even more wild and weird, by reason of his wearing a soft black clergyman’s hat with a yellow moustache and yellow hair of leonine length. He at least had often been seen preaching on the sands or conducting Band of Hope services with a little wooden spade; only he had certainly never been seen going into the bar of an hotel.

I found that "Band of Hope" is a charity that educates children and young people about drug and alcohol abuse.

But I can't get the link between "little wooden spade" and "educating teetotalism"?

Or do clergymen usually use spades?

1 Answer 1


I can think of only two possibilities.

One is that as the children gathered for a service, he would play along with the children in the sand with a spade, and then, as it transitioned, he would gesture with the spade in hand.

The other is that the Band would sing or play instruments (a musical service) and that he would use the spade as a baton because it was handy on the shore. Such services could be held on the beach to attract attention from children who did not belong.

  • So "service" here means a sort of prayer, doesn't it? Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 12:43
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    Yes. Furthermore, it would be in a set structure of some kind. (To be more specific, it could be "religious service," but in this context, that he is a clergyman and the group, the Band of Hope imply that.
    – Mary
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 12:46
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    @AhmedSamir a 'Service' in this context isn't just a prayer but the whole of the meeting. I'm unsure precisely what a band of Hope Service is usually like but a non-conformist protestant church service includes readings from the old and new testaments, a sermon on the readings, hymn singing, prayers of intercession, the Lord's Prayer and announcements about the life and running of the particular church/parish and the collection of money to support the church, services may also include Holy Communion, involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, reenacting the Last Supper.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 15:50
  • A Band of Hope service would not necessarily have featured music. It didn't mean that kind of band. The priest conducts (I.e. performs) the service, he doesn't necessarily conduct musicians. Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 2:26

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