Elizabeth von Arnim: The Solitary Summer – Reading Progress Update: 67 of 190 Pages

The Solitary Summer - Elizabeth von Arnim

“But what dreariness can equal the dreariness of a cold gale at midsummer?  I have been chilly and dejected all day, shut up behind the streaming window-panes, and not liking to have a fire because of its dissipated appearance in the scorching intervals of sunshine.  Once or twice my hand was on the bell and I was going to order one, when out came the sun and it was June again, and I ran joyfully into the dripping, gleaming garden, only to be driven in five minutes later by a yet fiercer squall.  I wandered disconsolately round my pillar of books looking for the one that would lend itself best to the task of entertaining me under the prevailing conditions, but they all looked gloomy, and reserved, and forbidding.”

Oh, poor Elizabeth.  But then, every book lover knows how unbearably sad a reading slump can be …

And, of course, count on the Man of Wrath to capitalize on the situation:

“When the Man of Wrath came in to tea there were such heavy clouds that the room was quite dark, and he peered about for a moment before he saw me.  I suppose in the gloom of the big room I must have looked rather lonely, and smaller than usual buried in the capacious chair, for when he finally discovered me his face widened into an inappropriately cheerful smile.

‘Well, my dear,’ he said genially, ‘how very cold it is.’

‘Did you come in to say that?’ I asked.

‘This tempest is very unusual in the summer,’ he proceeded; to which I made no reply of any sort.

‘I did not see you at first amongst all these chairs and cushions.  At least, I saw you, but it is so dark I thought you were a cushion.’

Now no woman likes to be taken for a cushion, so I rose and began to make tea with an icy dignity of demeanour.'”

And nobody at the time, of course, would have seen anything more in that than a quite harmless little marital interchange.


Summary post HERE.
Further reading progress updates:

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