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Updated: 2018-02-19T03:26:58.338-05:00


I have just finished reading a memoir with a seque...


I have just finished reading a memoir with a sequel. When I first started reading it I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with it or not, but soon, I was hooked and like I mentioned, had to get the sequel.
If you were brought up in the fifties, and sixties there is a lot in these books that will bring you back in time.
The titles are "Too Close to the Falls" and the sequel "After the Falls". The author is Catherine Gildiner. I picked them both up at our local library.
The sequel is particularly fascinating, all about coming of age in the sixties, includes so much history. I finished the book in 2 days. Catherine Gildiner is truly able to captivate anyone's attention, even if you weren't brought up in the sixties, you will enjoy her way of drawing you into her story.

Enough of the Mitfords. What about this scandal...


Enough of the Mitfords. What about this scandal about Dominique's hair? No shampoo would seem to result in dirty tresses ... but what do I know?

"This Wide World doesn't, as a very gener...


"This Wide World doesn't, as a very general rule, take kindly to boys (or girls) who remember too much and too readily. I learned by the age of twelve that doing so makes most folks nervous and consequently ill-tempered."

You are so right about that. But what to do? As Lionel Trilling wrote, there is a Moral Obligation to Be Intelligent...

Dear "Prof A"... good for your


Dear "Prof A"...

good for your son...although I'll bet a shiny, red apple that (if he indeed remembers almost everything an adult has said to him...or LIED/Prevaricated about), he's been a pain-in-the-ass to every adult who ever encountered him.

I was, I gather, dreadful in that respect. My spoiled grandmother (we disliked each other until the day she kicked-off) repeatedly told me as much by the time I was 10 or so. I told her that I thought the same of her.

Still (and this IS Ms., Browning's blog)....don't you agree with me that Ms. Browning is attracting some very fine readers and commentators, etcetera?....?

Rather obviously, I'm doing a twice-daily dip at the "Slow Love Life" watering hole....and I'm regularly/delightfully surprised with the sort of folks her blog is attracting.

I do wish Warren Buffet or someone similarly wealthy would just give the lady enough money to start her OWN magazine.

In the meantime, I think that this blog of hers is a great gift to a number of folks.

I was given the first of her books about ten years ago by a friend...and I read it...and I thought "Oh...what an unusual person..." (that, in my book, is a compliment).

Later, I first saw the movie "Orlando" (sorry, but I don't go to movie theaters or have a television, so everything comes "late" to this house). do you recall the scene in which the young Orlando meets Queen Elizabeth I and later bundles himself into bed...simply saying to no one "what an EXTRAORDINARY person....".

It's a lovely and accurate observation.

Watch out for that son of yours, though....This Wide World doesn't, as a very general rule, take kindly to boys (or girls) who remember too much and too readily. I learned by the age of twelve that doing so makes most folks nervous and consequently ill-tempered.


David Terry

Oh, those wild and crazy Mitford gals! How Shakesp...


Oh, those wild and crazy Mitford gals! How Shakespeare, Congreve, et al. would have loved them!
The stuff of Masterpiece (Theater-re) writ large. (And I think there was a cousin who was fascist in the recent Downton Abbey....)
Great costumes and sets. Lots of bubbly and cheeky talk.
David T. I sooo enjoy your posts. I have a son who also remembers just about everything he has ever read or seen. I hope he is as lively a writer as yourself someday.
Linda B. (breaking my vow not to go on line today, but needed some consolation after discovering that the voles had eater ALL of my golden beets)

Dear "Sweet Retreat".. Please don't...


Dear "Sweet Retreat"..

Please don't bother yourself to be too much "in awe".

I'm the first to emphasize that I've never had/raised children or (until I was 43) been in a "relationship" that would count as anything more than "dating" for a couple of weeks. I gather that neither children nor marriages are ever referred to as "time-savers". I did, at age 43, get my tail basically-married, but the fact remains that I spent my first four decades doing nothing but happily reading, going to various skoolz without ever worrying about the expense, and being generally self-indulgent. I didn't drop-out of school until I was almost 35, which is when I took up the disreputable habit of reading ALONE and in my own house during the daytime. Every old-fashioned, southern patriarch would be the first to tell you that reading and drinking ALONE have been the ruin of many an otherwise-good wife.

so, while I've read a lot of things, there are all SORTS of normal-adult experiences which remain complete mysteries to me. I've never even had to drive to work; I always taught at boarding skoolz or Duke (which is two blocks away).

So, I've read a lot over the years and, for better or worse, have a slightly Asperger-y (I happen to think) habit of recalling almost everything I've read, heard, or looked at. Weird, but true.

At this point, I should say that Ms Browning (who cares about her readers and fans) could reasonably complain that she doesn't want them all to be afflicted with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from having to scroll over these lengthy comments of mine.

Herve, my brothers, and my parents would all roll their eyes and say "Who ENCOURAGED him?...."

where's "william" when Ms. Browning's fan-base needs him?.....

Bemusedly as ever,

David Terry

David, I'm in awe of your knowledge. I simpl...


David, I'm in awe of your knowledge. I simply enjoyed reading about the Mitford sisters, giving no particular thought to their somewhat controversial views which, for the time, were not that unusual. Six sisters, expect anything. Particularly parting of ways!

David, Thank you! Interesting to hear your commen...


Thank you! Interesting to hear your comment on the "bigass" wedding. My husband and I had a very small, modest one. And sometimes I have regretted we didn't make a bigger deal of it. But our marriage has been a happy one and we have been together almost (gulp) 30 years.

I greatly appreciate the recommendations of those books. I don't think I will be able to get them before my trip. The Paris one is only available from private sellers. But I will put them on my wish list for later.

It thrills me that this is the second art book recommendation I have received in two days -- the other was from Dominique in a comment she made to my "Talking Art" column on

I am getting fabulous and unsolicited help as I work to expand my repertoire of writing topics!

Oh, Judith....if you have the time....order (go fo...


Oh, Judith....if you have the time....order (go for 2 day shipping) the fairly-new editions of H.F. Ullman Press's "Art & Architecture" for both Paris and Florence. They're wonderful fun, beautifully made, small-ish, and indispensable.

My good guess, though, is that (this being a wedding) no one will get to "be" themselves, and very few people will recall much of anything after the whirlwind ceremony. Much less go sightseeing.

My mother claims that she remembers scarcely anything of her own bigass wedding...and absolutely NOTHING of the three times she gave birth(this was during the 1960's, when hippies AND doctors were ga-ga for all the drugs they could muster).

In any case, the letters between Fermor and Deborah Mitford Cavendish are charming..... a lovely, if relatively minor, virtue.

I read them and considered that she wanted to keep conspicuously in touch with "literary" types, and he didn't at all mind knowing someone very rich. I also & regularly thought "cute". these were/are two people who LIKE being "charming" to/for each other.

I also wondered why "Debo" had so readily and recently handed them over to her neice(sp?)-in-law for such public promotion.

Not that the letters aren't CHARMING, but?.....

Advisedly yours as ever,

david terry

Thanks, David, for taking the time to explain. Gos...


Thanks, David, for taking the time to explain. Gosh you are patient!

I'm not sure if Ms. Devonshire and Mr. Fermor will be traveling with me next week to Florence (our niece is marrying an Italian fellow), Paris, and Oslo, but when I do read the letters, I will be sure to report back.

Dear "Judith", To answer your question?...


Dear "Judith",

To answer your question?....because practically anything written by those sisters is (1) very well written, (2) usually extremely witty & sophisticated, and (3) because, and as I wouldn't be the first to note, one can very productively read a good book without at all considering the bad person who wrote it.

Quite frankly, I spent a lot of the 80's and 90's being gradskooled in several institutions where we were CONSTANTLlY told we couldn't simply enjoy various books... because the actual-person-who-wrote-the-book was, in prviate life, a misogynist, a racist, an anti-semite, a homophobe, etcetera, etcetera.

That gets very tiresome after a while, particularly if, like me, you're someone who's loved BOOKS most of his life and never bothered much about "knowing" the authors.

I should also admit 2 things:

(1) I woke up this morning and, in that obsessive way I can't seem to shake, even after leaving the field seven years ago, immediately thought "Shit...I did the math wrong."

Charlotte Mosley (who is, all done and said, a skilled writer and editor) is only 14 (not 31) years younger than her husband. He was born two years before his Mitford Mum was put in prison. She was born in 1952. At this point I probably don't need to emphasize that I majored in English, rather than math.

(2) Over the years, I've delightedly read practically everything-I-could-get-my-hands-on about the Mitfords and Langhornes. Most of them are just FASCINATINGLY awful people. Since I'm the sort of person who likes nothing more than to see my suspicions confirmed, I also enjoy poking at the various ways by which they and subsequent others cultivated and have perpetuated their "legacy"/myth/"legend". In a word?....the Mitford "Industry", which rather obviously continues to this day; the youngest and only surviving sister has TWO books quite-currently "out" just now.

That's actually quite a triumph, given the she, herself, was born in 1920 and "came out", herself in 1940.

So, there's all sorts of good reasons for reading things about or by the Mitfords.....not the least among those being that the books are almost always great fun (for varous folks' various reasons), which is the mark of a good book.

---david terry

Sorry, "David Terry," not Perry. This po...


Sorry, "David Terry," not Perry. This post has certainly been an education!

Okay, then, given what David Perry has just explai...


Okay, then, given what David Perry has just explained, why do we want to read these letters?

I guess I don't. I would rather put my limited reading time into some of the other books that have been mentioned here.

Just sayin'

Dear "Sweet Retreat", What I wrote about...


Dear "Sweet Retreat",
What I wrote about the Mitfords (which, by the way didn't contain anything that's not readily available for anyone not completely consumed by post WWII Anglophilia) seemed a "blow"? Goodness.

For all it's worth?....I've never felt obliged to regard them as a "group" so thoroughly as they've been narrated over the past fifty years. The majority of them (and their parents) were vicious, to be sure. And, can add "intelligent" and "witty". Still?... Sometime?.. read some of their comments about jews. Those are (I would like to think that we would both think so) eye-popping in their self-congratulatory and COMPLETE overtness. Society "scandal" is one thing....self-promoting (and usually for cash and social advancement, thank you) anti-Semitism is another thing.

I'll be the first to assert that there wasn't a fool among those sisters. For whatever that's worth.

The editress of all these various volumes of letters is Charlotte Mosley...the daughter-in-law of Diana Mitford and the fascist Mosley. Her husband is 31 year older than she is (the figures, so to speak, do add up; this is not a family which has ever particularly minded unconventional marriage arrangements or getting THAT MONEY I NEED TO MAINTAIN MY POSITION!). Her brother-in-law is Max Mosley (google him....he's the former head of Formula One European racing and the subject/auteur of a charming nazi/concentration-camp sex tape that somehow leaked only a few years ago).

The current Mosleys have lived for a long while in a 7th arrondissement (trust me....the Faubourg St. Germain is not where down&out folks go to lick their wounds) apartment which is, oddly enough, just around the block (as we say in Paris) from ours (Herve's, actually...he inherited it). Given that Herve's grandfather spent two years in Auschwitz?......well, no one's ever, in about three decades, taken a "welcome wagon" casserole up to the Mitford/Mosleys.

O, well...the Mitford industry just rolls and rolls along.

However, it's not entirely by-the-way to note that the most of the Mitford sisters (as was the case with the pretentious and desperately-ambitious Langhorne sisters) mostly hated each other by the time they'd each achieved their individual goals in their own twenties. They all went for decades (literally) switching-off on which faction wasn't speaking to which supposed other-faction or sister.

Advisedly yours as ever,

David Terry

Oh, Dominique Browning, you are my very favorite h...


Oh, Dominique Browning, you are my very favorite homebody sophisticate.

Thank you for that!


Ouch, another blow from David Terry. I stand f...


Ouch, another blow from David Terry. I stand firm 'liking' the Mitford sisters, nasty and scandalous they may have been. The Langhornes of Virginia has been added to my reading list.

Yes, you are right, David...I always want to think...


Yes, you are right, David...I always want to think those sisters were unaware of just how awful things were, as they were falling in love with Hitler and his cronies. But you're right.

p.s (#3 or so, 7:23 p.m.....Pork Roasts & Mit...


p.s (#3 or so, 7:23 p.m.....Pork Roasts & Mitford Sisters, et al...):

1. Dear "Linda B"...I didn't "rustle up some dinner guests". I froze the pork roast (with a chard and raisin stuffing I learned from Dori Greenspan's new & deservedly award-winning cookbook), and I gave the chickens to two neighboring, young families. They're all happy that they don't have to cook tonight, and I'm happy that I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do with two dead&cooked chickens. I'v never tried to freeze an already-roasted chicken.

2. Not to sound as though I were one of Ms. Browning's own sons, BUT?....I feel (just now and for the first time ever) obliged to dispute her opinion.

I just don't think anyone can describe the Mitford sisters (a nasty&unadmirably-self-promoting...if-clever bunch of social jumpers, as far as I've ever gathered) as having "swanned" through the thirties without having ever noticed the gathering "clouds".

Diana quite happily chose to be married in Goebbel's dining room with Hitler as a witness, and she warrantedly spent her war years in prison. Unity was a committed Nazi, until she shot herself in the head because of the business. Thereafter (and to give her due credit), she wasn't particularly committed to anything beyond 24/7 nursing care for a couple of decades. Their mother, Lady Redesdale, was an unabashed admirer of Hitler. All were extremely intelligent, and none ever expressed the slightest regret (trust me...they were ASKED) over "what happened later", nor did any of them ever suggest, in any way, that they were caught unawares. In fact, they all made a VERY distinct point of stating otherwise in later interviews and writings..

All that aside?....Jessica (the "Communist") wasn't exactly unaware of gathering "clouds" during the thirties. Very few ladies who eloped with their first cousins and ran off to cover the Spanish Civil War retained a "Brideshead" naivetee about current events during the 1930's.

All done and said? These were not women who had no idea of what-was-up during the1930's. Diana, in particular, wasn't sent to prison for criminal-naivetee and a lack of prescience.

all in all?...a pretty nasty bunch (with the obvious exception of the by-far youngest sister, who seems to have learned early on to avoid publicly professing a devotion to anything beyond poultry and her husband's house).

If you happen to "like" the Mitfords, however? James Fox's "The Five sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia". It's a fine "biography" of the five daughters of a bankrupt Virginia stable-owner....who managed to work things their own way once they were set loose on society (you might know of Lady Astor). Once again....a remarkably appalling bunch of women who happen to be sisters and yet managed to be awful in surprisingly individual ways.

Advisedly yours as ever,

David Terry

Inspiring, motivating post and comments, Dominique...


Inspiring, motivating post and comments, Dominique and co.
Yes. Petterson is among books in and on the bedside table. Your posting (DB) has given me the impetus I need to get to soon as I finish Nocturnes by Ishiguro.
I don't know how you manage you nosh and read so much without turning into a fatty-fatty 2x4. MiracleWhip (though I prefer Duke's) and white bread with watercress sounds refreshing and satisfying. Perhaps if you used Pepperidge Farm Thin Sliced white, you could cut the calories...if you care to.

I would perhaps avoid reading/eating in bed while the ants are on the march. Mother always said, they just go where the food is and take it away! Are they nipping ants?
As for Nancy Drew. Yes. And then it was on to Beverly Gray, young woman foreign correspondent. Clair Blank. Left over from Mother's childhood, I think. They were stored in my bedroom and I went through them one summer at about age 12. Romance. Mystery. I think there were jars of baby food fruit that accompanied this, along with the romance comic books that my best friend Elizabeth and I used to read aloud, tears streaming from laughter.
And yes, Fitzgerald has weathered the passage of time (in my opinion) far better than Hemingway. Gatsby is better/different with every reading. Like Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse.

Mr. Terry, I hope you can rustle up some dinner guests. Your larder sounds full and delicious.
Happy reading, everyone.
Best, Linda B.

I simply loved Into Great Silence and saw it just ...


I simply loved Into Great Silence and saw it just weeks before an international scholar on the life of monks visited and spoke at our book club. By chance I had just bought an old National Geographic map of Medieval England which we displayed during her talk. Members of the books club read some of the Brother Cadfael Mysteries by Ellis Peters. An interesting afternoon for everyone, not one of us knowing anything of the life of monks.

Will check Netflix or Graboid for Into Great Silence.

Just starting "Wait for Me" - just cannot get enough of those Mitford Sisters' lives.

REGARDING NANCY DREW???????.... a longtime, good ...



a longtime, good friend of mine is a very successful/talented painter who happens to be named Nancy Tuttle May. (Think "Helen Frakenthaler if she were a southerner and unencumbered by academic ideology"). If you like, go to:

In any case?....Nancy (who's in her sixties these days) has had a long and deservedly successful career as an artist.

I remain chronically delighted that she has a habit of signing-off correspondence with: "Nancy Drew (until she learned to paint)"





Given the number and length of my postings since last night, one could reasonably wonder how much time I have on my hands. My reply would be "A Lot".

My younger brother, his wife, and their two boys were to be here for a long weekend as of this afternoon (Friday). She broke her ankle on a danged motorcycle, though, so they called at about this time yesterday to announce that they're not coming. Two hours later?.....Herve called to ask that I give them his apologies, but he'd just been summoned (with 6 hours notice) to an emergency CDC inspection in Seattle (yes, Warren, I know what you're thinking). so, off Herve went until sometime late tomorrow night.

Consequently, my tail is sitting here in a COMPLETELY cleaned house, with a meticulously prepped yard and garden, freshly bathed&groomed dogs, a trussed and stuffed pork roast in the refrigerator (along with two roast chickens, plus trimmings)...and absolutely nothing requiring my presence or attention. I'm considering going out back to see if the tomatoes would appreciate someone's watching them while they ripen.

"Into Great Silence, indeed.....

----david terry

Dear Ms. Browning, Wasn't it just 14 or so da...


Dear Ms. Browning,Wasn't it just 14 or so days ago that you described "In the Garden of Beasts" and "Plastic: A Toxic Love Story" as being at the top of your bedside reading-stack (just as they were in my own house)? At the time, I rather liked the notion of our having some mysterious&deep, psychic connection, but Herve merely shrugged and claimed he wouldn't be awfully surprised to hear that I'm not the only person paying such regular attention to the recommendations by "Fresh Air"' and's book reviewers (Laura Miller and Maureen Corrigan....both terribly smart ladies). So, now you're reading "In Tearing Haste" and "Hare With Amber Eyes"? So am I ...or least was until last night.Lately, everyone seems to be reading the same 3 or 4 books. Or perhaps I'm simply (after decades of dustily rooting around in Proust, Flaubert, Hardy, et al) suddenly becoming au courant.In regard to "In Tearing Haste"?.....On 12 June, Frances Mayes (yes, the Sunkist authoress of Tuscan fame....who's, surprisingly enough, moved to a house about twelve miles from my front porch) sadly announced that she'd just read of Fermor's death. In reply, I wrote:"Oh...Just yesterday, I was sitting on my back porch, opening several birthday presents that had arrived during the week (all preceded by emails forbidding me to open anything from Amazon until Saturday), when the telephone rang. The call was from an elderly Irishwoman who’s rather fantastically named “Martini Emmart-Niedbalski”.She allowed as how I could open her present at that moment, so I did. It was a copy of the 2010 NYRB edition of “In Tearing Haste” (the letters between The Duchess of Devonshire & her longtime pal, Patrick Fermor).My first reaction (I hadn’t known that the book existed, though I’ve long been an admirer of “A Time of Gifts”, etc) was to notice that Charlotte Mosley is the editor….thus proving that one can indeed spend thirty or so years digging the same hole in different ways.I said “Oh, how wonderful….thank you”, and Martini was saying “Well, Fermor is just wonderf….” when I heard her large, usually quiet husband bellowing something in the background. She interrupted herself to say “..just wonderful, and Bob says he’s DEAD. This morning."It reminded me of the morning, some years ago, when I was finishing up a portrait of Robertson Davies for the Washington Post’s review of the just-published (as in, that week) biography of Davies. The telephone rang, the art director asked me how the portrait was going, I said I’d just happily finished it, and he said “Well, get it here OVERNIGHT! Davies died last night. This book is going to SELL….some biographers DO get lucky…”In any case, you're right. Fermor was a wonderful writer and, apparently, also a really lovely person (as you’ll have had cause to know, that’s not a necessarily predictable combination in this world).".....In any case, Ms. Browning, it's good to read that Fermor Fever is going around so wildly this Summer.Mosley wrote of him and Deborah Devonshire ““Much of the charm of the letters lies in their authors’ particular outlook on life. Both are acutely observant and clear-sighted about human failings, but their lack of cynicism and gift for looking on the bright side bear out the maxim that the world tends to treat you as you fin[...]

I read Proust in my youth... forced myself to read...


I read Proust in my youth... forced myself to read it... like an overstuffed sausage that sat undigestible in my brain. Trying it one more time with my older fresh eyes.

Did have too much fun reading a fun book from a few years ago... Proust was a Neuroscientist... a really amusing read. Ended up loving the WHitman chapter...

LOved all of this, and surprised that Agent 99 is ...


LOved all of this, and surprised that Agent 99 is such a welcome reminder. Thank you.