See what Fresno hath wrought?!

On my umpteenth work trip to the lovely burg of Fresno, I was looking for a way to procrastinate in my hotel room.  So, I investigated starting a blog and here I am, inflicting my jottings and thoughts upon any innocent reader that happens to get sucked in via a search engine (presuming this is how people start reading new blogs?)

If you were directed here because of your interest in Max Beerbohm (who authored a collection of essays titled “And Even Now”), then I hope you may find a kindred spirit.  I named the blog in honor of Max because his prose demonstrates a level of grace, humor, and playfulness of which I can only hope to achieve.  Max was also a bit backward-looking, as am I, which is why, if you return to this page, you’ll probably find me relishing the discovery of a “new” forgotten book, trying some defunct cultural tradition around the holidays, or forcing my husband to watch British comedy series from the early 90’s like “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” or “Absolutely Fabulous.”

By now, I assume no one is left reading this post, so I don’t mind providing “spoilers” for some later discussions which I may post on the newest of these “new” finds.  In no particular order, and whenever I find the time to do so between finally writing Christmas cards (proof that I hang onto now-extinct holiday traditions), I may see fit to wax poetic about the following:

1.  “The Little Visiters”[sic] – a novella of Victorian romance and social climbing, authored by Daisy Ashford, a self-satisfied nine year old girl (see below).  It was later found when she was grown and published just as she wrote it, with no spelling or punctuation corrections, but with the addition of a charming Preface by J.M. Barrie.  Along with the amusing mix of childish assumptions regarding adult life, Daisy shares my distaste of unnecessary toilette preparations, as her heroine happily accepts a proposal to go boating with the exclamation of ‘Oh Hurrah shouted Ethel I shall soon be ready as I had my bath last night so wont wash very much now.’

 

2.  “Told After Supper” by Jerome K. Jerome – in searching for traditional British Christmas ghost stories, I somehow discovered a Jerome piece of which I was unaware [hopefully you are all aware of the hilariousness that is “Three Men in a Boat,” as well as “Three Men on a Bummel” – to say nothing of the dog].  A mere pittance bought me an 1891 copy of “Told After Supper” with “96 or 97 illustrations.”  The entire little book is printed in royal blue ink and I cannot wait to page through it.

3.  “Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures” by Douglas Jerrold – one of the first popular series in Punch magazine in mid-century 1800s London, it “records” Mr. Caudle’s recollections of his wife’s opportunistic nightly nagging, once he was cornered in bed and couldn’t get up.  Her breathless stream of complaints and retorts to his reasonable rejoinders will have all wives guiltily chuckling.  It’s also interesting for the details on middle-class housekeeping at the time – apparently, everyone made their own “good and healthy” ale, but of course, offensively used by Mrs. Caudle as a reason why her husband should stay home to drink instead of going out.

In any event, this is about as much as I can muster from a hotel room in Fresno, so I now relinquish any claim I may have had upon your attention.  “Au reservoir.”

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