The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
published 1945 chapter 3
Christmas Day was spent, as usual at Alconleigh, between alternate bursts of sunshine and showers…
I must admit that my wicked parents turned up trumps at Christmas, and my presents from them were always the envy of the entire household. This year my mother, who was in Paris, sent a gilded bird-cage full of stuffed humming-birds which, when wound up, twittered and hopped about and drank at a fountain. She also sent a fur hat and a gold and topaz bracelet,
observations: This couldn’t be more different from most of our lives, and yet the sunshine and showers of Christmas transcend boundaries: the incident where present-giving goes wrong and everyone is upset; the envy of children for the one with the wicked parents. And the significant detail: why is Linda wearing Fanny’s fur hat and driving the pony and cart? Linda is highly entertaining, and in the book much-loved and a general favourite, but she is one of those heroines whose charms are more apparent to the characters around her than to the reader. Spoilt and selfish, she seems to us.
Links up with: Christmas entries all this week and last. Nancy Mitford has featured on the blog many times before - click on the label below. Nancy’s sister Diana wrote the description of the Duchess of Windsor in the Abdication entry earlier this month.
The young woman is a picture of Lady Duveen by Halmi, the Christmas tree is by Lovis Corinth. The gold bracelet is in the British Museum, and the pony and cart came from Flickr.