Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A witty novel of English Country Life and manners...

Oh Nancy Mitford, where have you been, where have you been all my life!? 

I know I'm jumping on the Mitford gravy train about 60 years late, but honestly!  I cannot get enough.  She's hysterical.  Last night I was in bed laughing into my pillow with tears.  So far, only the Sedaris family can to do that to me.

Excerpt from 'Pursuit of Love':

"I hope you haven't sent your jewels to the bank," I said.

"Oh, darling, don't tease, you know I haven't got any now. But my money," she said with a self-conscious giggle, "is sown into my stays. Fa rang me up and begged me to, and I must say it did seem quite and idea.  Oh, why aren't you coming? I do feel so terrified--think of sleeping on the train, all alone."

"Perhaps you won't be alone," I said. "Foreigners are greatly given, I believe, to rape."

"Yes, that would be nice, so long as they didn't find my stays. Oh we are off--good-bye, darling, do think of me."

Brilliant!  I'd love to be a fly on the wall when she and her fellow bright young people were out and about.  I can only imagine the laughter she caused.

(Both portraits from the National Portrait Gallery)


Hannah Stoneham said...

What a lovely post. I have got Love in a cold climate on my bed side table and will be starting it soon, maybe sooner than I thought having read your post!

Happy Tuesday


The Down East Dilettante said...

Isn't she a treat? And she got to live in the loveliest pavilion near Versailles, to boot. Her letters are great, although she was a tad mean (as most really funny people are...)

Jason Hudson Dot Com said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you so.

La Bonne Vivante said...

I have always loved Nancy's stuff! Obsessed might be the right way to describe my feelings! Why, even as I type this, I have the Mitford sisters' collected letters sitting next to me on my bed, and on the table is the biography I intend to dip into about them, called "The Sisters", by Lovell.

Brilliant stuff! I totally get the Sedaris analogy...

But Nancy's prose is to die for.

Anonymous said...

Laughing out loud at work! Reading your blog is dangerous!

Another note, I'd love to have thick wavy hair and keep it short. It works for all ages!

DM said...

Hannah-L.I.C.C. (ha!) is next, and I just purchased a copy of 'highland fling' for my friend who's moving to the highlands. I want to keep it for myself so bad!
Del-I heard she was a great letter writer, we should all start! Catty letters are the only sort of letters.
Jason-I try to pepper as often I can, Jerri Blank-isms on this bloggy. Ex: This humidity makes me as moist as a snack cake.
LBV-I've got to add this to my to-read list, surely!!
Anzie-haha! oh no! ps...can i have your work phone number? i want to call in and talk about my imaginary rash to your co-workers.

Jason Hudson Dot Com said...

Oh god, the humidity.

All damp and mildewy down there.

Dulce Domum said...

I gobbled up just about everything Nancy Mitford wrote when I was about eighteen or nineteen. I still have a minor obsession with "between the wars/just after the war" literature. I think you'll enjoy "The Nutmeg Tree" and "Cluny Brown" by Marjery Sharp. "Cluny Brown" was made into a film in the 1940s and it starred Paulette Goddard. Both novels are fun, slightly subversive and very much of their time.