i knew about e.f. benson because ben had read some of his ghost stories, and i am wont to read ghost stories just about any where i can get my hands on them. it is not at all astonishing that i would read, for example, a collection of edith wharton ghost stories after i had forsworn reading any more of her novels (for the foreseeable future) because every time i read one i am even more depressed than i was when i started, and that is not why i want to read. that i feel that wharton's novels are wonderfully written is beside the point. in any event, even though i was looking for ghost stories i picked up this first novel in the lucia series (which is nothing at all like any ghost story i have read -- well maybe like wilde's canterville ghost, but that's it) by benson which much more like another favourite: wodehouse. i would like to transcribe a portion of the book here:
It was such a lovely day that when we got to Paddington Ursy and I
decided to bicycle down instead, so for a lark we sent our things on
and we may arrive tonight, but probably tomorrow. Take care of
Tiptree; and give him plenty of jam. He loves it.
P.S. Tipsidoozie doesn't really bite: it's only his fun.
Georgie crumpled up this odious epistle, and became aware that Tipsidoozie, a lean Irish terrier, was regarding him with peculiar disfavour, and showing all his teeth, probably in fun. In pursuance of this humorous idea he then darted towards Georgie, and would have been extremely funny, if he had not been handicapped by the bag of golfclubs to which he was tethered. As it was, he pursued him down the platform, towing the clubs after him, till he got entangled in them and fell down.
Georgie hated dogs at any time, though he had never hated one so much as Tipsidoozie, and the problems of life became more complicated than ever.
i will be back to give you the rest of my review, but i must say i have a weakness for this kind of silliness: my favourite bits from robert benchley are those where he carries on a war with birds, even though i like them myself. i just think it's funny to set man up with some other animal nemesis. i have one myself. i acknowledge its right to exist but i set myself at odds against the raccoon.