Sunday, September 05, 2004

Class action

"Since Titus had come to Great Mop Laura had seen little of Mrs. Leak. Mrs. Leak knew what good manners were; she had not been a housemaid at Lazzard Court for nothing. Taken separately, either Titus or his aunt might be human beings, but in conjunction they became gentry. Mrs. Leak remembered her position and withdrew to it, firmly." --Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes.

Of course, when you become a witch -- as Laura has just done -- being gentry ceases to matter as much. Mrs. Leak will be inviting her to covens in no time.

[Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner (Chatto & Windus, 1926). Middle-aged woman sells soul to devil rather than spend the rest of her life as a favourite aunt. Tonally a bit uneven -- the devil's jokes, when he appears, seem to belong in a broader comedy -- it nonetheless casts a spell.]

No comments: