The List

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ANTI-SOCIAL ARISTOS: Count Dracula (bloodsucker); Grand Old Duke of York (scant regard for 10,000 men); Marquis de Sade (enjoyed being cruel, before they had a word for it); Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (bit mad); the Marquess of Bristol (bad habits)

GOOD LORDS: Lord Peter Wimsey (dashing sleuth); Lord Snooty (nice pals); Little Lord Fauntleroy (well-dressed); Lord Jim (brave in the end)

LOUD LORDS: Lord Rockingham; eleven a- leaping; Lord Haw Haw; Screaming Lord Sutch

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Corentin, first bishop of Quimpers in Brittany in the sixth century, who kept a miraculous fish in a holy well. He could slice off enough for his daily needs, and return the fish to the water. Next morning the fish would be whole again. Once he fed a local king and his courtiers by this method, but the king's cook attempted to verify the miracle and mutilated the fish. Alarmed for the creature's safety, Corentin healed it and bade it swim away.

12 December, 1787: Pennsylvania became the second of the United States.

1821: Gustave Flaubert, French novelist, born.

1849: Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (above), French- born engineer and inventor, died in London. Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom) designed Portsmouth dockyard's block-making mills, an early example of mechanised production. His great contribution to civil engineering was the invention of the tunnelling shield for boring more safely through water-bearing rock, which he first used on the Rotherhithe to Wapping tunnel under the Thames, completed 1843 and still open to traffic 150 years on.

1889: Robert Browning, poet, died.

1963: Kenya became independent.

BIRTHDAYS: Tracy Austin, tennis player, 33; Emerson Fittipaldi, racing driver, 47; Dionne Warwick, singer, 52; John Osborne, playwright, 64; Frank Sinatra, singer, 78.

DEATHS: Frank Zappa, aged 52; Felix Houphouet- Boigny, aged (officially) 88, president of Ivory Coast since 1960; Danny Blanchflower, aged 67; Daisy Adams, Britain's oldest woman, aged 113.

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