Sunday 16 March 2014

Irresistible Ronald Firbank

'O, help me heaven,' she prayed, `to be decorative and to do right'.

'I know of no joy,' she airily began, 'greater than a cool white dress after the sweetness of confession.'

"The world is disgracefully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."

Mentally, perhaps she was already three parts glass. So intense was her desire to set up a commemorative window to herself that, when it was erected, she believed she must leave behind in it, for ever, a little ghost. And should this be so, then what joy to be pierced each morning with light; her body flooded through and through by the sun, or in the evening to glow with a harvest of dark colours, deepening into untold sadness with the night....What ecstasy! It was the Egyptian sighing for his pyramid, of course.

Although there were moments even still in the grey glint of morning when the room had the agitated, stricken appearance of a person who had changed his creed a thousand times, sighed, stretched himself, turned a complete somersault, sat up, smiled, lay down, turned up his toes and died of doubts. But this aspect was reserved exclusively for the housemaids and the translucent threads of dawn.

'I adore italics, don't you?'

I really must get round to reading Firbank's novels. Apart from anything else, including the fact that he was Evelyn Waugh's greatest influence, how can one resist titles like Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli and Prancing Nigger? But I have had his books since Mrs. Thatcher was Prime Minister, I brought them to Romania with me in the late 1990s and until now I somehow did resist them.

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