Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Perils of Happiness

The Quest is not going well: having overdone the aerobics my ankle is on the verge of giving up; I am unable to concentrate on my writing for more than a few minutes at a time; and I have driven both Hodmandod senior and junior almost mad with repeated renditions of Welsh Rugby supporters singing.

Maybe things will improve when my hair turns purple eight days from now.

However I can report one success in the quest - a friend rang today and we exchanged a few jokes about our shared desperately bleak taste in writing...which cheered me enormously.

I remember my grandmother gave me a particularly dark little Victorian number called A PEEP BEHIND THE SCENES by Mrs O. F. Walton. She had been so impressed with its effect on my mother as a child that she made sure I had a copy too.

I see it is now freely downloadable from Project Gutenberg so a new generation of little girls have the opportunity to share this exquisite misery - it really is a very powerful form of eye-irrigation.

The first couple of paragraphs give a good indication of the tone...

"Rain, rain, rain! How mercilessly it fell on the Fair-field that Sunday afternoon! Every moment the pools increased and the mud became thicker. How dismal the fair looked then! On Saturday evening it had been brilliantly lighted with rows of flaring naphtha-lights; and the grand shows, in the most aristocratic part of the field, had been illuminated with crosses, stars, anchors, and all manner of devices.

"But there were no lights now; there was nothing to cast a halo round the dirty, weather-stained tents and the dingy caravans..."

I actually find this quite enticing even now. I feel like delving in and reading this again for old time's sake. Someone stop me...nah, don't think I'll bother - eye-irrigation must be the last thing I need right now.


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