Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Highland Fling, Part Two

Ok, shall we try again?

Years before we ever met Uncle Matthew or Lady Montdore, before Linda or Cedric, Nancy Mitford wrote Highland Fling.  Nancy was only 26 (I better start working) when she wrote the book and in it she tells us the life of the upper class and Bright Young People, something she new well.  Many of the characters would later evolve into the famous characters the world would fall in love with.  It stars Albert Memorial Gates, from whom Cedric 'descends' - Cedric was a character I always wanted to read more of in Love in a Cold Climate- a Victorian-obsessed aesthete, painter and ex-patriot recently returned to England from a stay in Paris.  Our other star is Jane Dacre (an early Linda) a typical gal of the Lost Generation who loves to be rebellious to, even though she love admires dearly, her parents.  The two of them join Sally and Walter Monteath, who have been asked by rich relatives to care for guests in a castle in the Highlands.

A heavy book this is not, but filled with laughable scenes between the four 'Bright Young' ones and the more traditionally-minded, old-fashioned aristocrats it is.  Although Nancy was, in reality, of the younger set, she tells her story honestly.  One evening older Mr. Buggins sadly recounts to the younger ones that before the War he had a promising artistic career but felt it his duty to serve his country during the War.  His best years were spent fighting and now he lived a somewhat dire existence.  He was just one of the countless other similar cases.  The divide must have been great during this generation, but I wonder what Nancy's friends and contemporaries thought when they read this scene back in 1931?

Overall I loved it.  I really enjoyed and related to Albert, not as flamboyant as Cedric but equally as comical.  It wasn't at the same level (perfection) as The Pursuit of Love but it has a close running with it's sequal.  I'm so glad Capuchin Classics has decided to reprint this gem, just another to add to my Mitford addiction.

And why, you may ask, have I chosen to show Prada's collection along with this discussion?  I felt it so apt for Albert; the long coats, sunglasses and trousers would be something I can see him lounging about the Highland grounds in, or whilst trying to discover another Victorian treasure in the endless attics.


C.C. Blair the younger said...

Lady La and I are determined to create a cocktail called 'Highland Fling'. We were discussing this last night as we were sampling some hopelessly rare bitters called "Highland Heather". Yes, I was discussing bitters with the barman(woman), but not for hours. She was rather busy, and not in the best of moods. We do have a barman, who always seems to be in a good mood, who promises to supply us with a bottle. I'll let you know what kind of concoction she comes up with.

StuckInABook said...

Only you would put these pictures and review together! Wonderful. I have this; must read. More to the point, I must read Love in a CC, having loved Pursuit of Love forever ago.

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