“Oh, ’tis not my qualities they object to! ‘Tis my lack of vice.” *
Recent unwelcome contact with a fuel tanker having left me feeling somewhat delicate (not to mention bruised), I naturally turned to comfort literature and movies to restore my optimistic view of life. Shirley Temple provided the perfect antidote on the movie side. On my dual personality’s advice, I bought “Little Miss Marker” and, boy, did it deliver. Shirley is amazing in that movie.
As for reading, I returned to one of my mother’s old favorites, Georgette Heyer, author of a vast number of intelligent, well-researched Regency romances and mysteries. Born in England in 1902, Ms. Heyer began writing to amuse her younger brother and eventually became a hugely successful author, though of course the critics ignored her almost completely.
She, herself, harbored few illusions about her career: “I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense…. But it’s unquestionably good escapist literature and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter or recovering from flu.” Yes, indeed. Her books are witty, informative, and wonderfully devoid of sex, violence, and serious drama. Hence, you see, perfect for those of us who need an escape from modern life. The book I’ve been enjoying, Devil’s Cub, made me laugh out loud several times. Surely, any mother could relate to this:
“You will like her,” he persisted. “Egad, she’s after your own heart, maman! She shot me in the arm.”
“Voyons, do you think that is what I like?”
Then there are witty dialogues like this:
“M’sieur, I am as a slave to my wife.” He kissed the tips of his fingers. “I am as the dirt beneath her feet.” He clasped his hands. “I must bestow on her all that she desires, or die!”
“Pray make use of my sword, ” invited his Grace. “It is in the corner behind you.”
Her books are civilized, historically accurate, and full of delightful characters, who have actual depth. Take, for example, this descriptions: “A certain cynicism, born of the life she has led; a streak of strange wisdom; the wistfulness behind the gaiety; sometimes fear; and nearly always the memory of loneliness that hurts the soul.” No need to feel ashamed of reading Ms. Heyer. Many of her books are still in print. I highly recommend her. Some of her books are available on CD and they are very diverting on long car trips!
Have a witty, civilized weekend!
*Georgette Heyer, Powder and Patch — I think it would make a good epitaph for Mitt Romney 🙂