Friday, February 26, 2010
A London Girl of the Eighties
I know what you're thinking. Why is there a picture of a sink, lovely though it may be, accompanying a review of a book by M Vivian Hughes? Well, if you type 'London girl of the Eighties' in Google images you will see girls with big hair dressed like Madonna. Totally wrong century. My favourite part of this book takes place in Wales and after looking through ten pages of holiday ads for cottages in the Welsh countryside, I gave that up as well. So here on offer is a gorgeous traditional Welsh country sink. Moving right along... In this next book of a trilogy, Molly Hughes finds success as a teacher and love with Arthur, the man who would become her husband after a ten-year engagement. I loved the spirit with which Molly embraced her future in-laws and the Welsh countryside despite the twenty-six hour journey and seven trains it took to get to Aberdovey. One of my favourite stories was when Arthur's brother, Llewelyn, suggested they take the Torrent Walk. Asking an inn landlord for the shortest road to take they were told they could take the landlord's dog as he knew the way. 'Be sure you don't speak Welsh' shouted the landlord after us, or he won't take you. He thinks Welshmen ought to know the way.' 'All right, we'll remember,' answered Llewelyn, laughing, for we naturally thought this was one of those 'dog-stories'. All went well for some way, the dog duly trotting ahead, til one of those showers so common in Wales caught us suddenly. Spying a cowshed we went into it for shelter, dog and all. Presently a farm labourer came in for shelter too. Llewelyn, parson-like, began to chat with him about the weather and what not, of course, in Welsh; and Arthur joined in. 'Look there!' I cried, and pointed to the dog, who was fast disappearing along the road to the inn. We put it down to his impatience at the delay, but the labourer said that every one knew the dog, and that it was true that nothing would induce him to show Welsh people the way. Growing up with three brothers served Molly well as she explored rugged hillside on light lunches and flasks of lukewarm tea with Arthur. Having to get dirty and wet whilst pushing a rowboat off of a sandbar to get back home didn't faze our girl a bit! Reading that Molly and Arthur never tired of Keats made me smile and that they could never resist spending money on books made them even more dear to my heart. Then Molly laughs off an offer from another man who offers to escort her from Gower Street to Kensington after a Guild meeting. The B&B that I like to stay at when in London just so happens to be on Gower Street so I took joy in imagining that I've strolled past the very Georgian townhouses that Molly may have admired on her walk. This second book ends on as sad a note as the first which caught me off guard. But with her indomitable spirit I'm sure that Molly will be able to deal with any challenges she may face in the future.