I’m running late, but before the new meeting is upon me, just a quick note regarding our last meeting in October.
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford was not every one’s cup of tea. I certainly enjoyed it. For one, some of the characters are modeled after her family members. The Mitford sisters (six of them, after which there came one boy) seem to have been a crazy bunch, often referred to as ‘Mad, Mad Mitfords.’ Their own mother, seemingly the inspiration for Sadie in the novel, lamented: “Oh, why do all my daughters fall for dictators?” (The reference is to Diana, who took up with Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of Britain’s fascist party; Unity, who became a close friend of Hitler’s, whom she worshipped. She shot herself in the head when Britain declared war on Germany but survived with some brain damage, Hitler paying her German hospital bills, according to Time Magazine from 20 April 2002. Jessica, a would-be-communist, eloped with Winston Churchchill’s nephew. Who needs novels with such a family?
In any case, here are some of my favorite lines:
- I, Albert Edward Christian George Andrew Patrick David take thee, Leopoldina…
- Polly on her dress: ‘Mine is liver lamé, it smells like a bird cage when it gets hot but I do love it.’
- They all… had a thousand questions to ask about mutual acquaintances in Paris, fashionable foreign ladies with such unfashionable English names as Norah, Cora, Jennie, Daisy, May and Nellie. ‘Are all Frenchwomen called after English housemaids’? Lady Montdore said, rather crossly.
- ‘The old French tart was telling me the whole system last night.’ Lady Montdore was famous for picking up words she did not quite understand and giving them a meaning of their own.
- She said that the duke of Barbarossa (this may not be the name, but it sounded like it) had told her the inside story, in which case he must also have told it to the Daily Express, where I had read word for word what she now kindly passed on to me, and several days before.
- Her curtsies, owing to the solid quality of her frame, did not recall the graceful movement of wheat before the wind. She scrambled down like a camel, rising again backside foremost like a cow…
I better stop there! Onto upcoming meetings:
21 November Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
19 December suggestion: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
See you there, hopefully!