Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An Old-Fashioned Proposal

Wilkie Collins

I have only just discovered the joys of finding free books on my i-pad, having clicked on the icon, 'i-books'.   I see on a cursory viewing that many of the classics are available at the click of a button and I chose to have a look  at Wilkie Collins's : "A House to Let" because we had his "The Woman in White" as a set book when I was in High School. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery story and I just love the sedate, gentle, humorous writing style of the times. Wilkie was born in 1824 and lived to 1829.  Consider this proposal of marriage: "Can there be any reason, my dear Mrs Smith, as to why we two should not put up our horses together?"  (Slightly misquoted). Not surprisingly the lady in question is a little mystified by this as it is her lodger speaking and he has heretofore given no inclination that he had anything else on his mind other than having his hot bath prepared and his tea correctly made in the morning. Other niceties of language follow delightfully on every page. Sometimes it is really nice to escape from the 21st century and slow the pace a bit.


  1. Well the beating around the bush in old literature is charming. Sometimes however the language changes putting new significance in old words. Reading Jane Eyre recently if found several instances of something close to this:

    "Jane!" he ejaculated, "I have always found our intercourse to be most interesting."

    Not an exact quote, but pretty similar to what was in the book.

    One of my favorite quotes was from Mrs Patrick Campbell, an English stage actress. A friend inquired into the exact nature of the improprieties for which Oscar Wilde was being tried, Campbell replied:

    "My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."

    1. Priceless quotes. How did they just 'spring to mind'?

  2. Replies
    1. Two and a half weeks now since surgery. Could drive after three days. Could go up and downstairs immediately without any pain. Just residual stiffness now from op. However, walking a lot, doing a lot of stretches. Everything going very well. Very glad I did this before it got too bad.