Archive for the ‘Rebecca West’ Category

Don’t know why the Isabel Dalhousie books didn’t grab me whenever it was that  I encountered the first one—this time I found it completely charming, often taking me by surprise: surprised by joy–in fact, read right through four of them without stopping.

  • The Sunday Philosophy Club
  • Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
  • The Right Attitude to Rain
  • The Careful Use of Compliments

Reading them on the Kindle allows me the delightful–if expensive–luxury of going directly to the next one after finishing the previous one. Charming, charming books, that delighted me by the careful depiction of the many moral dilemmas that we face every day. Little things: should I pay for parking even though there is no parking attendant–that sort of thing. Moral issues, not much considered in every day life.
Anyway, I am loving the Dalhousie books–gentle, good hearted, sweet natured books.

Also, I had a grand time with The Fountain Overflows, by Rebecca West. I typed up a quotation, from when the children went to visit the washer woman mother of their much loved cook and nurse:
“We had thought she was speaking of some national calamity such as Papa prophesied in his leader, but she was speaking as a washerwoman. It seemed that her life, the lives of all who practiced her craft, had been made twice as difficult because gentlemen had adopted the heathen custom of wearing pajamas. She could not understand why they had got this silly notion of wearing coats and trousers in bed when nightshirts were so much easier to iron, and she never hung a pair of the horrid things on the line without saying to herself, ‘Ah since I come of a seafaring family I know what nasty savage parts you come from.’ But she was not very unhappy about it, and soon she was telling us we could make lardy cake at home. We must go to the baker and buy a lump of his dough, and take it home and roll it out, and then fold it up as if it were a length of cloth we were going to send as a present through the post, and put in between each layer some lard and brown sugar and spices and currants and raisins., and bake it in our own oven, and remember to shake sugar over it just as we took it out. ‘Gentlemen always like it’, she said, looking at Richard Quin as if he were some wild but valuable variety of animal on which she was lecturing, ‘you will find in every family that the mistress tries to have nothing low served up in the front of the house, but what pleases the master better than anything is to get hold of a good lardy cake or a piece of dripping toast.’ Oh. wanton papas, letting Eastern gods into this green and pleasant land by wearing night-clothes hard to iron, and getting their hands greasy with coarse fare forbidden by refined Mammas….

Lardy cake


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