The Diary of a Provincial Lady

The Diary of a Provincial Lady

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by E M Delafield
     
 

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_November 7th._--Plant the indoor bulbs. Just as I am in the middle
of them, Lady Boxe calls. I say, untruthfully, how nice to see her, and
beg her to sit down while I just finish the bulbs. Lady B. makes
determined attempt to sit down in armchair where I have already placed
two bulb-bowls and the bag of charcoal, is headed off just in time,…  See more details below

Overview

_November 7th._--Plant the indoor bulbs. Just as I am in the middle
of them, Lady Boxe calls. I say, untruthfully, how nice to see her, and
beg her to sit down while I just finish the bulbs. Lady B. makes
determined attempt to sit down in armchair where I have already placed
two bulb-bowls and the bag of charcoal, is headed off just in time, and
takes the sofa.

Do I know, she asks, how very late it is for indoor bulbs? September,
really, or even October, is the time. Do I know that the only really
reliable firm for hyacinths is Somebody of Haarlem? Cannot catch the name
of the firm, which is Dutch, but reply Yes, I do know, but think it my
duty to buy Empire products. Feel at the time, and still think, that this
is an excellent reply. Unfortunately Vicky comes into the drawing-room
later and says: "O Mummie, are those the bulbs we got at Woolworths?"

Lady B. stays to tea. (_Mem_.: Bread-and-butter too thick. Speak to
Ethel.) We talk some more about bulbs, the Dutch School of Painting, our
Vicar's wife, sciatica, and _All Quiet on the Western Front_.

(Query: Is it possible to cultivate the art of conversation when living
in the country all the year round?)

Lady B. enquires after the children. Tell her that Robin--whom I refer to
in a detached way as "the boy" so that she shan't think I am foolish
about him--is getting on fairly well at school, and that Mademoiselle
says Vicky is starting a cold.

Do I realise, says Lady B., that the Cold Habit is entirely unnecessary,
and can be avoided by giving the child a nasal douche of salt-and-water
every morning before breakfast? Think of several rather tart and witty
rejoinders to this, but unfortunately not until Lady B.'s Bentley has
taken her away.

Finish the bulbs and put them in the cellar. Feel that after all cellar
is probably draughty, change my mind, and take them all up to the attic.

Cook says something is wrong with the range.


_November 8th._--Robert has looked at the range and says nothing
wrong whatever. Makes unoriginal suggestion about pulling out dampers.
Cook very angry, and will probably give notice. Try to propitiate her by
saying that we are going to Bournemouth for Robin's half-term, and that
will give the household a rest. Cook replies austerely that they will
take the opportunity to do some extra cleaning. Wish I could believe this
was true.

Preparations for Bournemouth rather marred by discovering that Robert, in
bringing down the suit-cases from the attic, has broken three of the
bulb-bowls. Says he understood that I had put them in the cellar, and so
wasn't expecting them.


_November 11th.--Bournemouth._ Find that history, as usual, repeats
itself. Same hotel, same frenzied scurry round the school to find Robin,
same collection of parents, most of them also staying at the hotel.
Discover strong tendency to exchange with fellow-parents exactly the same
remarks as last year, and the year before that. Speak of this to Robert,
who returns no answer. Perhaps he is afraid of repeating himself? This
suggests Query: Does Robert, perhaps, take in what I say even when he
makes no reply?

Find Robin looking thin, and speak to Matron who says brightly, Oh no,
she thinks on the whole he's put _on_ weight this term, and then
begins to talk about the New Buildings. (Query: Why do all schools have
to run up New Buildings about once in every six months?)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013740938
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/10/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
141 KB

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Diary of a Provincial Lady 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this wonderfully funny book numerous times and continue to be amazed at the author's wit, gentle self deprecation and insight into what truly goes on when a very British woman in the 30s lives her life in her head and a very English village. Hysterical!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A witty satire -- an absolute hoot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full stars for content but considerably less for NOOK presentation. The scan of content into NOOK format very distracting. Paginations off , lots of problems with scan of French words and phrases. Odd additions and presentations of punctuation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am determined to write impressions from this book in the style of "the Provincial Lady" herself. Am doubtful however as to the outcomes of this effort as my highest labors would not reach the dry frank witticism she displays. Provincial Lady does her best to satisfy the wishes of silent husband (... "Robert, this morning, complains of insufficient breakfast. Cannot feel that porridge, scrambled eggs, toast, marmalade, scones, brown bread and coffee give adequate grounds for this, but admit that porridge is slightly burnt...."), intimidating cook, beloved children (... "Robin - whom I refer to in a detached way as "the boy" so that she shan't think I am foolish about him..., "Vicky,.... Enquires abruptly whether, if she died, I should cry?"), Mademoiselle (the nanny), Gardner and all kinds of friends and neighbors including the tiring Lady Birkenshop, "our vicar's wife" and the hated Mrs. B. ("query: Is not a common hate one of the strongest links in human nature?... answer, most regrettably, in the affirmative.") This is the same women world. Husband is as usual quiet and does not give any consolation and the Lady struggles to please everyone and not forget herself and her own wishes (and health) on the way. How very sad to discover it was the same (woman) world even 70 years ago ... Book is so very candid and manages to capture the ever lasting nuances of human behavior ("Mem: Candid and intelligent self examination as to motive, etc., often leads to very distressing revelations...."), little lies, social pretenses and the day to day struggles. Funny and entertaining yet can be tiring at times - since the day to day life is indeed tiring . Very very British and thus charming.