He spends his cash on dressing gowns and grabbing your attention
I am currently reading two books that are having a full-on barney with each other. ‘Suffocation’ by James Wallman is one of those stop buying stuff-live simply-collect experiences not souvenirs books (although it pains me to this day that my mum wouldn’t let me buy a test tube full of layers of coloured sand with a room thermometer and a seashell glued to it from the Isle of Wight when I was ten). This book has told me scary things, for example, for every bag of crappy tat taken to the dump, seven bags of waste were created by its production. Yikes.
I am also reading The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer (which is odd as the gentleman isn’t actually that quiet, he’s just not ultra demanding and spoiled, which I suppose passed to quiet in those days). Gervase is the older son from a first marriage, and went off to do exciting things and fight in wars, and his father remarried and had another son, and everyone back home kind of hope the older son would conveniently die, and the new one inherit. I say kind of, but actually, it’s very much so, as when the old man does die and the son comes home, they are not backwards in coming forwards in letting him know they had hoped not to see him again. He does his best not to rock the boat, but they don’t like him, firstly as he’s a dandy. Expensive clothes, fancy horse, all the best gear.
And now he’s inherited estate, has a new daft title (Lord St Erth, I’ve no idea how that’s pronounced, is it like Belvior which is pronounced Beever, and so only makes sense to locals and gentry? Could it be as simple as saint earth?) and no doubt can’t swing a stuffed endangered species without hitting a suit of armour. They even take exception to his high-quality dressing gown which are probably the best silk, embroidered by blind Nepalese centenarians (I’m guessing), and he’s charming all the posh country house-dwelling ladies with his subtly suave city ways.
James Wallman would likely have an accurate answer for how many bags of waste (both physical and time) it takes to make one marzipan cathedral, but Gervase wouldn’t care as he’s has popped in to see the Baron next door after rescuing his daughter left stranded by her horse, and is checking out the furnishings. This is one of those times when I remember what I love about Georgette Heyer best is the language, her characters speak in a way that makes me with I could travel back to the time of Georgian fops.
Ay, you are looking at my ivories, my lord. I bought them for the most part in Calcutta…I won’t buy trumpery!’
And then goes on to say of his speculating brother –
…as prim and as tonnish as the starchiest nob of them all regularly under the hatches! A bubble-merchant, that’s what I called him!
My workplace goal this week is to refer to someone as the ‘starchiest nob of them all’ and also ‘bubble-merchant’. I predict an interesting response. I’m aware this rather gives away my level of humour, but this back and forth had me laughing at loud while waiting for an eye test.
‘Mr Troubadour would carry you just as well.’ Martin muttered. Mr Warboys moved to contradict this statement ‘No, he wouldn’t. Wouldn’t carry you as well as my Old Soldier! Got a tricky temper that tit of yours.’
‘He is better-paced than that screw of yours!’ retorted Martin, firing up in defence of his horse.
‘Old Soldier,’ said Mr Warboys obstinately, ‘would give her a comfortable ride.’
Firstly, was Old Soldier called Old Soldier when he was a foal? And secondly –