Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Rector's Wife

Over the Christmas holidays, on my other website, I'd started blogging, (for want of a better term), a series of randomly collected quotations, mostly from the eighties, when I was making a particular effort to note them down. Rather than carry on including them 'over there', I'm now going to include them as part of this present blog, as and when I get round to it. They serve to remind me of books I enjoyed - or at least paragraphs I enjoyed.

from The Rector’s Wife, by Joanna Trollope, pg 155 paperback edition.

Ptolemy was a quiet, snuffling child who gave the impression of having a profound inner life that he was protecting from his mother. His two elder brothers had the lugubrious sartorial appearance of impoverished Victorian undertakers, and sloped sullenly about the house, slopping endless bowls of cornflakes and muttering for hours into the telephone. They were kept deliberately short of money by Eleanor and so were to be constantly caught unabashedly combing cupboards and drawers for the latest hiding place of her purse. She seemed to think this was perfectly normal behaviour and as much an inevitable part of the messiness of adolescence as spots (which they both had) and wet dreams.

The pattern of the day was very decided, and fraught with argument since Eleanor and Robert believer in the right of every member of the family to discuss every topic from the threat of the environment down to whether Ptolemy or Gideon should be allowed the last helping out of a box of Ricicles. Breakfast happened about eight in an atmosphere of steady acrimony and then Robert herded the older boys into the car for school – this provided a wonderful chance for prolonged defiance – before he went onto College, and Eleanor walked Ptolemy to school. Anna offered to do this (Ptolemy’s eyes gleamed dully at the prospect) but Eleanor said no, because she and Ptolemy had a weekly discussion programme worked out for each term which they got through in 15-minute bursts, as they walked. Anna asked what this week’s topic was, and Eleanor said, ‘Racism,’ and Ptolemy said, ‘Boring.’

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