Tuesday 30 November 2010

Treasure Hunting

I am devouring anything I can find on the shelves
by Molly Keane.
At the moment it is Treasure Hunt.
My Virago Modern Classic edition has an introduction 
by Dirk Bogarde who says,

'If you are presently holding your very first copy of a novel 
by Molly Keane, then you are indeed blessed.
You are, of course, unaware at this moment that
 you are standing on the threshold of untold delights and splendours, 
quite apart from all the glorious fun that waits you.'

An emergency exit from real life,
via glorious literary fun is exactly what is required at present.

Here is a barking mad Anglo-Irish household trying,
ineffectually,to come to terms with the reality of their 
impoverished existence.
They are having difficulty finding any acceptable ways to economise,
but agree reluctantly to take in rich English paying guests.

I have just come across this wonderful portrait.

'Delightedly, Consuelo paused in the doorway.
For all her size and height she seemed as light as air. 
She wore a dark cyclamen coloured jersey, big and soft,
her tiny bird's head was tied in a man's purple silk handkerchief.
She looked as rich and sweet as a very well-grown bed of violets -
Princess of Wales - grown on lots of leaf mould and old manure.
She carried a basket and a walking stick 
and radiated aristocratic country activity.
As she advanced into her drawing room, wet hazel thickets,
the district nurse, the music of hounds,
your own grapes and peaches with the bloom warm on their skins,
wood fires, subscriptions to the Church and
The Times Library came with her, intangible and undeniable.'

Every day I wonder what will advance into the drawing room with you.

 Blue and white china?
A lively menagerie?
Monsoon rains?
Knitting needles?
A new wood floor?
Birds at a feeder?
A Barbie Doll leg?
A dictionary and thesaurus?
An embroidery hoop?
Old photographs?
A Maori poem?
A loch?
Granny squares?
Oak leaves?
Thrifted finds?


  1. Brilliant post - I'm rebuilding my Virago library with charity shop finds. Trying ot find a copy of Mrs Harris goes to Paris.
    Oh, I think some Alan Bennett, essence of Darcy, auricula flower heads, a softness of cashmere, a tot of Bacchus and some Rachmaninov. Actually the whole Darcy would be better.

  2. Knitting needles, granny squares, far too many biscuits, scissors, paper and good intentions re tidying up...........

  3. Lovely, thank you, Lucille - I'm ready for a new book recommendation, having been delighted to follow up on your excerpts from Mrs Miniver.

    The fanciful estate agent called the upstairs sitting room (really the master bedroom) a drawing room, so I feel quite authentic, if unpoetic, this morning as I advance into it trailing two dogs, one of the cats, a cup of tea and just a hint of doggy anticipation of a snowy walk after breakfast!

  4. Thank you. I will continue my advances into your drawing room, the monsoon dripping from my galoshes.
    Just remember to spread newspapers on the floor first.

  5. This morning I think it's the messes of elderly cats and trips to the post office with packages full of forgotten items. I actually don't mind the post office.