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Lucia's Progress
     

Lucia's Progress

4.0 1
by E F Benson
 

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Mrs. Emmeline Lucas was walking briskly and elegantly up and down
the cinder path which traversed her kitchen garden and was so
conveniently dry underfoot even after heavy rain. This house of
hers, called "Grebe," stood some quarter of a mile outside the
ancient and enlightened town of Tilling, on its hill away to the
west; in front there

Overview

Mrs. Emmeline Lucas was walking briskly and elegantly up and down
the cinder path which traversed her kitchen garden and was so
conveniently dry underfoot even after heavy rain. This house of
hers, called "Grebe," stood some quarter of a mile outside the
ancient and enlightened town of Tilling, on its hill away to the
west; in front there stretched out the green pasture-land of the
marsh, flat and featureless, as far as the line of sand-dunes along
the shore. She had spent a busy morning divided about equally
between practising a rather easy sonata by Mozart and reading a
rather difficult play by Aristophanes. There was the Greek on one
page and an excellent English translation on the page opposite, and
the play was so amusing that to-day she had rather neglected the
Greek and pursued the English. At this moment she was taking the
air to refresh her after her musical and intellectual labours, and
felt quite ready to welcome the sound of that tuneful set of little
bells in the hall which would summon her to lunch.

The January morning was very mild and her keen bird-like eye noted
that several imprudent and precocious polyanthuses (she spoke and
even thought of them as "polyanthi") were already in flower, and
that an even more imprudent tortoiseshell butterfly had been
tempted from its hybernating quarters and was flitting about these
early blossoms. Presently another joined it, and they actually
seemed to be engaged in a decrepit dalliance quite unsuitable to
their faded and antique appearance. The tortoiseshells appeared to
be much pleased with each other, and Lucia was vaguely reminded of
two friends of hers, both of mature years, who had lately married
and with whom she was to play Bridge this afternoon.

She inhaled the soft air in long breaths holding it in for five
seconds according to the Yoga prescription and then expelling it
all in one vigorous puff. Then she indulged in a few of those
physical exercises, jerks and skippings and flexings which she
found so conducive to health, pleased to think that a woman of her
age could prance with such supple vigour. Another birthday would
knock at her door next month, and if her birth certificate was
correct (and there was no reason for doubting it) the conclusion
was forced upon her that if for every year she had already lived,
she lived another, she would then be a centenarian. For a brief
moment the thought of the shortness of life and the all-devouring
grave laid a chill on her spirit, as if a cold draught had blown
round the corner of her house, but before she had time to shiver,
her habitual intrepidity warmed her up again, and she resolved to
make the most of the years that remained, although there might not
be even fifty more in store for her. Certainly she would not
indulge in senile dalliance, like those aged butterflies, for
nothing made a woman so old as pretending to be young, and there
would surely be worthier outlets for her energy than wantonness.
Never yet had she been lacking in activity or initiative or even
attack when necessary, as those ill-advised persons knew who from
time to time had attempted to thwart her career, and these
priceless gifts were still quite unimpaired.

It was a little over a year since the most remarkable adventure of
her life so far had befallen her, when the great flood burst the
river bank just across the road, and she and poor panic-stricken
Elizabeth Mapp had been carried out to sea on the kitchen table.
They had been picked up by a trawler in the Channel and had spent
three weird but very interesting months with a fleet of cod-fishers
on the Gallagher Bank. Lucia's undefeated vitality had pulled them
through, but since then she had never tasted cod. On returning
home at grey daybreak on an April morning they had found that a
handsome cenotaph had been erected to their memories in the
churchyard, for Tilling had naturally concluded that they must be
dead. But Tilling was wrong, and the cenotaph was immediately
removed.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940013750661
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/16/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,080,577
File size:
229 KB

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Lucia's Progress 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel continues the adventures of Lucia and Mapp in the village of Tilling. We encounter all of the usual characters of the village: Mapp, Lucia, Georgie, Diva, Mrs. Poppitt, Lady Ambermere and Pug. In this installment, Lucia is turning fifty-years old and realizes that she has not accomplished a single stellar act in her whole life. She has managed to keep busy with her charitable affairs and in community activities, but she feels unfulfilled. Her attempts to maintain intellectual control over the people in the village seems to be on the wane. Of course there is her music and the various courses she sets up for all the neighbors, but that isn’t enough. What finally hits her as a valuable effort is to run for councilperson on the village board. It seems that Miss Mapp – now married – has the same idea, and they plan to run on totally opposite platforms. The subtle humor endemic to Benson’s novels continues in the vein of P. G. Wodehouse, but much more subtle. It’s a good introduction to the wry English humor of the time.