Lucia in London & Mapp and Lucia: The Mapp & Lucia Novels (Mapp & Lucia Series)

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9781101912126: Lucia in London & Mapp and Lucia: The Mapp & Lucia Novels (Mapp & Lucia Series)

E. F. Benson’s beloved Mapp and Lucia novels are sparkling, classic comedies of manners set against the petty snobberies and competitive maneuverings of English village society in the 1920s and 1930s.

The third and fourth novels in the series, Lucia in London (1927) and Mapp and Lucia (1931) continue the adventures of Benson’s famously irrepressible characters, and bring them into hilarious conflict. Both Mrs. Lucia Lucas and Miss Elizabeth Mapp are accustomed to complete social supremacy, and when one intrudes on the other’s territory, war ensues. Lucia sees herself as a benevolent—if ruthless—dictator, while Miss Mapp is driven by an insatiable desire for vengeance against the presumptuous interloper. Their skirmishes—played out on a battlefield composed of dinner parties, council meetings, and art exhibits—enliven the plots of Benson’s maliciously witty comedies.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

E. F. BENSON was born in 1867 at Wellington College in Berkshire, England, where his father (who later became Archbishop of Canterbury) was the headmaster. Benson studied archaeology at Kings College, Cambridge and at the British School of Archaeology in Athens, where he came to know Lord Alfred Douglas and Oscar Wilde. After visiting Henry James in the village of Rye, Benson eventually settled there until his death in 1940; Rye was the model for Tilling, the setting of his six popular Mapp and Lucia novels. Benson published more than one hundred books on various subjects, but remains best known for Mapp and Lucia.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

Chapter One

Considering that Philip Lucas’s aunt who died early in April was no less than eighty-three years old, and had spent the last seven of them bedridden in a private lunatic asylum, it had been generally and perhaps reasonably hoped among his friends and those of his wife that the bereavement would not be regarded by either of them as an intolerable tragedy. Mrs. Quantock, in fact, who, like everybody else at Riseholme, had sent a neat little note of condolence to Mrs. Lucas, had, without using the actual words “happy release,” certainly implied it or its close equivalent.

She was hoping that there would be a reply to it, for though she had said in her note that her dear Lucia mustn’t dream of answering it, that was a mere figure of speech, and she had instructed her parlour maid who took it across to The Hurst immediately after lunch to say that she didn’t know if there was an answer, and would wait to see, for Mrs. Lucas might perhaps give a little hint ever so vaguely about what the expectations were concerning which everybody was dying to get information . . .

While she waited for this, Daisy Quantock was busy, like everybody else in the village on this beautiful afternoon of spring, with her garden, hacking about with a small but destructive fork in her flower-beds. She was a gardener of the ruthless type, and went for any small green thing that incautiously showed a timid spike above the earth, suspecting it of being a weed. She had had a slight difference with the professional gardener who had hitherto worked for her on three afternoons during the week, and had told him that his services were no longer required. She meant to do her gardening herself this year, and was confident that a profusion of beautiful flowers and a plethora of delicious vegetables would be the result. At the end of her garden path was a barrow of rich manure, which she proposed, when she had finished the slaughter of the innocents, to dig into the depopulated beds. On the other side of her paling her neighbour Georgie Pillson was rolling his strip of lawn, on which during the summer he often played croquet on a small scale. Occasionally they shouted remarks to each other, but as they got more and more out of breath with their exertions the remarks got fewer. Mrs. Quantock’s last question had been “What do you do with slugs, Georgie?” and Georgie had panted out, “Pretend you don’t see them.”

Mrs. Quantock had lately grown rather stout owing to a diet of sour milk, which without plenty of sugar was not palatable; but sour milk and pyramids of raw vegetables had quite stopped all the symptoms of consumption which the study of a small but lurid medical manual had induced. Today she had eaten a large but normal lunch in order to test the merits of her new cook, who certainly was a success, for her husband had gobbled up his food with great avidity instead of turning it over and over with his fork as if it was hay. In consequence, stoutness, surfeit, and so much stooping had made her feel rather giddy, and she was standing up to recover, wondering if this giddiness was a symptom of something dire, when de Vere, for such was the incredible name of her parlour-maid, came down the steps from the dining-room with a note in her hand. So Mrs. Quantock hastily took off her gardening gloves of stout leather, and opened it.

There was a sentence of formal thanks for her sympathy which Mrs. Lucas immensely prized, and then followed these ridiculous words:

It has been a terrible blow to my poor Peppino and myself. We trusted that Auntie Amy might have been spared us for a few years yet.

Ever, dear Daisy, your sad

Lucia

And not a word about expectations! . . . Lucia’s dear Daisy crumpled up the absurd note, and said “Rubbish,” so loud that Georgie Pillson in the next garden thought he was being addressed.

“What’s that?” he said.

“Georgie, come to the fence a minute,” said Mrs. Quantock. “I want to speak to you.”

Georgie, longing for a little gossip, let go of the handle of his roller, which, suddenly released, gave a loud squeak and rapped him smartly on the elbow.

“Tarsome thing!” said Georgie.

He went to the fence and, being tall, could look over it. There was Mrs. Quantock angrily poking Lucia’s note into the flower-bed she had been weeding.

“What is it?” said Georgie. “Shall I like it?”

His face red, and moist with exertion, appearing just over the top of the fence, looked like the sun about to set below the flat grey horizon of the sea.

“I don’t know if you’ll like it,” said Daisy, “but it’s your Lucia. I sent her a little note of condolence about the aunt, and she says it has been a terrible blow to Peppino and herself. They hoped that the old lady might have been spared them a few years yet.”

“No!” said Georgie, wiping the moisture off his forehead with the back of one of his beautiful pearl-grey gloves.

“But she did,” said the infuriated Daisy, “they were her very words. I could show you if I hadn’t dug it in. Such a pack of nonsense! I hope that long before I’ve been bedridden for seven years, somebody will strangle me with a bootlace, or anything handy. Why does Lucia pretend to be sorry? What does it all mean?”

Georgie had long been devoted henchman to Lucia (Mrs. Lucas, wife of Philip Lucas, and so Lucia), and though he could criticise her in his mind, when he was alone in his bed or his bath, he always championed her in the face of the criticism of others. Whereas Daisy criticised everybody everywhere . . .

“Perhaps it means what it says,” he observed with the delicate sarcasm that never had any effect on his neighbour.

“It can’t possibly do that,” said Mrs. Quantock. “Neither Lucia nor Peppino have set eyes on his aunt for years, nor spoken of her. Last time Peppino went to see her she bit him. Sling for a week afterwards, don’t you remember, and he was terrified of blood-poisoning. How can her death be a blow, and as for her being spared—”

Mrs. Quantock suddenly broke off, remembering that de Vere was still standing there and drinking it all in.

“That’s all, de Vere,” she said.

“Thank you, ma’am,” said de Vere, striding back towards the house. She had high-heeled shoes on, and each time she lifted her foot, the heel which had been embedded by her weight in the soft lawn came out with the sound of a cork being drawn. Then Daisy came closer to the fence, with the light of inductive reasoning, which was much cultivated at Riseholme, veiling the fury of her eye.

“Georgie, I’ve got it,” she said. “I’ve guessed what it means.”

Now though Georgie was devoted to his Lucia, he was just as devoted to inductive reasoning, and Daisy Quantock was, with the exception of himself, far the most powerful logician in the place.

“What is it, then?” he asked.

“Stupid of me not to have thought of it at once,” said Daisy. “Why, don’t you see? Peppino is Auntie’s heir, for she was unmarried, and he’s the only nephew, and probably he has been left piles and piles. So naturally they say it’s a terrible blow. Wouldn’t do to be exultant. They must say it’s a terrible blow, to show they don’t care about the money. The more they’re left, the sadder it is. So natural. I blame myself for not having thought of it at once. Have you seen her since?”

“Not for a quiet talk,” said Georgie. “Peppino was there, and a man who, I think, was Peppino’s lawyer. He was frightfully deferential.”

“That proves it,” said Daisy. “And nothing said of any kind?”

Georgie’s face screwed itself up in the effort to remember.

“Yes, there was something,” he said, “but I was talking to Lucia, and the others were talking rather low. But I did hear the lawyer say something to Peppino about pearls. I do remember the word pearls. Perhaps it was the old lady’s pearls.”

Mrs. Quantock gave a short laugh.

“It couldn’t have been Peppino’s,” she said. “He has one in a tie-pin. It’s called pear-shaped, but there’s little shape about it. When do wills come out?”

“Oh, ages,” said Georgie. “Months. And there’s a house in London, I know.”

“Whereabouts?” asked Daisy greedily.

Georgie’s face assumed a look of intense concentration.

“I couldn’t tell you for certain,” he said, “but I know Peppino went up to town not long ago to see about some repairs to his aunt’s house, and I think it was the roof.”

“It doesn’t matter where the repairs were,” said Daisy impatiently. “I want to know where the house was.”

“You interrupt me,” said Georgie. “I was telling you. I know he went to Harrods afterwards and walked there, because he and Lucia were dining with me and he said so. So the house must have been close to Harrods, quite close I mean, because it was raining, and if it had been any reasonable distance he would have had a taxi. So it might be Knightsbridge.”

Mrs. Quantock put on her gardening gloves again.

“How frightfully secretive people are,” she said. “Fancy his never having told you where his aunt’s house was.”

“But they never spoke of her,” said Georgie. “She’s been in that nursing-home so many years.”

“You may call it a nursing-home,” observed Mrs. Quantock, “or, if you choose, you may call it a post-office. But it was an asylum. And they’re just as secretive about the property.”

“But you never talk about the property till after the funeral,” said Georgie. “I believe it’s tomorrow.”

Mrs. Quantock gave a prodigious sniff.

“They would have, if there hadn’t been any,” she said.

“How horrid you are,” said Georgie. “How—”

His speech was cut off by several loud sneezes. However beautiful the sleeve-links, it wasn’t wise to stand without a coat after being in such a heat.

“How what?” asked Mrs. Quantock, when the sneezing was over.

“I’ve forgotten now. I shall get back to my rolling. A little chilly. I’ve done half the lawn.”

A telephone bell had been ringing for the last few seconds, and Mrs. Quantock localised it as being in his house, not hers. Georgie was rather deaf, however much he pretended not to be.

“Your telephone bell’s ringing, Georgie,” she said.

“I thought it was,” said Georgie, who had not heard it at all.

“And come in presently for a cup of tea,” shouted Mrs. Quantock.

“Should love to. But I must have a bath first.”

Georgie hurried indoors, for a telephone call usually meant a little gossip with a friend. A very familiar voice, though a little husky and broken, asked if it was he.

“Yes, it’s me, Lucia,” he said in soft firm tones of sympathy. “How are you?”

Lucia sighed. It was a long, very audible, intentional sigh. Georgie could visualise her putting her mouth quite close to the telephone, so as to make sure it carried. “Quite well,” she said. “And so is my Peppino, thank heaven. Bearing up wonderfully. He’s just gone.”

Georgie was on the point of asking where, but guessed in time.

“I see,” he said. “And you didn’t go. I’m very glad. So wise.”

“I felt I couldn’t,” she said, “and he urged me not. It’s tomorrow. He sleeps in London tonight—”

(Again Georgie longed to say “where,” for it was impossible not to wonder if he would sleep in the house of unknown locality near Harrods.)

“And he’ll be back tomorrow evening,” said Lucia without pause. “I wonder if you would take pity on me and come and dine. Just something to eat, you know: the house is so upset. Don’t dress.”

“Delighted,” said Georgie, though he had ordered oysters. But they could be scolloped for tomorrow . . . “Love to come.”

“Eight o’clock then? Nobody else of course. If you care to bring our Mozart duet.”

“Rather,” said Georgie. “Good for you to be occupied, Lucia. We’ll have a good go at it.”

“Dear Georgie,” said Lucia faintly. He heard her sigh again, not quite so successfully, and replace the earpiece with a click.

Georgie moved away from the telephone, feeling immensely busy: there was so much to think about and to do. The first thing was to speak about the oysters, and, his parlour-maid being out, he called down the kitchen-stairs. The absence of Foljambe made it necessary for him to get his bath ready himself, and he turned the hot-water tap half on, so that he could run downstairs again and out into the garden (for there was not time to finish the lawn if he was to have a bath and change before tea) in order to put the roller back in the shed. Then he had to get his clothes out, and select something which would do for tea and also for dinner, as Lucia had told him not to dress. There was a new suit which he had not worn yet, rather daring, for the trousers, dark fawn, were distinctly of Oxford cut, and he felt quite boyish as he looked at them. He had ordered them in a moment of reckless sartorial courage, and a quiet tea with Daisy Quantock, followed by a quiet dinner with Lucia, was just the way to make a beginning with them, far better than wearing them for the first time at church on Sunday, when the whole of Riseholme simultaneously would see them. The coat and waistcoat were very dark blue: they would look blue at tea and black at dinner; and there were some grey silk socks, rather silvery, and a tie to match them. These took some time to find, and his search was interrupted by volumes of steam pouring into his bedroom from his bathroom; he ran in to find the bath full nearly to the brim of boiling water. It had been little more than lukewarm yesterday, and his cook had evidently taken to heart his too-sharp words after breakfast this morning. So he had to pull up the plug of his bath to let the boiling contents subside, and fill up with cold.

He went back to his bedroom and began undressing. All this news about Lucia and Peppino, with Daisy Quantock’s penetrating comments, was intensely interesting. Old Miss Lucas had been in this nursing-home or private asylum for years, and Georgie didn’t suppose that the inclusive charges could be less than fifteen pounds a week, and fifteen times fifty-two was a large sum. That was income too, and say it was at five per cent, the capital it represented was considerable. Then there was that house in London. If it was freehold, that meant a great deal more capital: if it was on lease it meant a great deal more income. Then there were rates and taxes, and the wages of a caretaker, and no doubt a margin. And there were the pearls.

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Description du livre Alfred A. Knopf, United States, 2015. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. E. F. Benson s beloved Mapp and Lucia novels are sparkling, classic comedies of manners set against the petty snobberies and competitive maneuverings of English village society in the 1920s and 1930s. The third and fourth novels in the series, Lucia in London (1927) and Mapp and Lucia (1931) continue the adventures of Benson s famously irrepressible characters, and bring them into hilarious conflict. Both Mrs. Lucia Lucas and Miss Elizabeth Mapp are accustomed to complete social supremacy, and when one intrudes on the other s territory, war ensues. Lucia sees herself as a benevolent if ruthless dictator, while Miss Mapp is driven by an insatiable desire for vengeance against the presumptuous interloper. Their skirmishes played out on a battlefield composed of dinner parties, council meetings, and art exhibits enliven the plots of Benson s maliciously witty comedies. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781101912126

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Description du livre Alfred A. Knopf, United States, 2015. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. E. F. Benson s beloved Mapp and Lucia novels are sparkling, classic comedies of manners set against the petty snobberies and competitive maneuverings of English village society in the 1920s and 1930s. The third and fourth novels in the series, Lucia in London (1927) and Mapp and Lucia (1931) continue the adventures of Benson s famously irrepressible characters, and bring them into hilarious conflict. Both Mrs. Lucia Lucas and Miss Elizabeth Mapp are accustomed to complete social supremacy, and when one intrudes on the other s territory, war ensues. Lucia sees herself as a benevolent if ruthless dictator, while Miss Mapp is driven by an insatiable desire for vengeance against the presumptuous interloper. Their skirmishes played out on a battlefield composed of dinner parties, council meetings, and art exhibits enliven the plots of Benson s maliciously witty comedies. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781101912126

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Description du livre Alfred A. Knopf, United States, 2015. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. E. F. Benson s beloved Mapp and Lucia novels are sparkling, classic comedies of manners set against the petty snobberies and competitive maneuverings of English village society in the 1920s and 1930s. The third and fourth novels in the series, Lucia in London (1927) and Mapp and Lucia (1931) continue the adventures of Benson s famously irrepressible characters, and bring them into hilarious conflict. Both Mrs. Lucia Lucas and Miss Elizabeth Mapp are accustomed to complete social supremacy, and when one intrudes on the other s territory, war ensues. Lucia sees herself as a benevolent if ruthless dictator, while Miss Mapp is driven by an insatiable desire for vengeance against the presumptuous interloper. Their skirmishes played out on a battlefield composed of dinner parties, council meetings, and art exhibits enliven the plots of Benson s maliciously witty comedies. N° de réf. du libraire BTE9781101912126

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Description du livre Vintage. Paperback. État : New. Paperback. 480 pages. Lucia is the most popular and well read character written by E. F. Benson, there are six books in total, this volume contains the third and fourth instalments of this wonderfully satirical look at the petty squabbling and brinkmanship in the social circles in a small English village. These two novels, originally published in 1927 and 1931, are being republished here together with a new introductory biography of the author. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. N° de réf. du libraire 9781101912126

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