Galloping Foxley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Galloping Foxley" is a short story by Roald Dahl that first appeared in the November 1953 issue of Town & Country. It was included in the 1953 collection Someone Like You, and was later adapted into an episode of Tales of The Unexpected.

"Galloping Foxley", which Dahl claimed was based on a true story, is about a man named William Perkins, described as a "contented commuter" but who is in fact obsessed by routine. Every day he arrives at the station and catches the same train, taking the same seat in the carriage. One day his routine is shattered by the arrival of a newcomer who takes first his place at the station, and then his seat in the carriage. The outraged Perkins slowly realises that he recognises the newcomer as a former schoolmate; but the newcomer clearly does not recognize Perkins, allowing the author to fill the void. The newcomer is Bruce Foxley. At school, Foxley was a prefect who used Perkins as his personal slave, viciously abusing him mentally and physically. Indeed, the name "Galloping Foxley" is in recognition of the way Foxley would take a run-up when delivering a beating.

The ending used in Tales of The Unexpected differs from the original written version. In the short story, Perkins decides to seek revenge by publicly humiliating Foxley. He introduces himself; without a shred of emotion, Foxley introduces himself but he gives a different name and school. While ambiguous – the man could indeed be Foxley and simply be lying to confuse and humiliate Perkins – the implication is the man is not Foxley at all and Perkins has simply been wrong all along. In the television version, however, Perkins creates a scene and recounts to the other passengers the misery he suffered at the hands of the newcomer. Again the newcomer shows no emotion but denies being Foxley and gives a different name and school. However, he gives a knowing look and rests his cane on his shoulder exactly as the viewer saw Foxley do earlier on.