Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some advice to the love-lorn, of questionable value, from Barbara Pym's journals

From A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters (1984), by Barbara Pym, edited by Hazel Holt and Hilary Pym
31 July 1933
After lunch I took some Yeastvite tablets and continued to take them after tea and super. A slightly unromantic way of curing lovesickness I admit, but certainly I feel a lot better now. (Hilary is playing "Stormy Weather" incessantly--my theme song I think!) . . . I turned to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and began to read about Love Melancholy--but I haven't yet got to the part where he deals with the cure. Perhaps I'm suffering from the spleen, too--in that case I may be completely cured by taking a course of our English poets--which all points to drowning my sorrows in work.

Friday 23 April 1943
Hilary has gone to the cottage this weekend--so Honor and I are by ourselves. We talked about things--the folly of day-dreaming amongst otheres. She thinks I ought to have a really good affaire. I quite agree, but OH DEAR.

January 1957
One talks so gaily about "old loves," but there comes a time when they really are old.
And to close, a description of a location that could serve to host the beginning of an intrigue--romantic or perhaps more sinister. Whichever it might turn out to be, though, Pym is clear that it would not be likely to end well:
7 Sepember 1954
Lisbon, Hotel Metropole
Near the Moorish style railway station. Dark little room looking into a well. I can see them washing up at 11 o'clock at night. The lower part of the walls covered with striped canvas like luggage (it's like living in a suitcase), the dim light and the grey iron bedstead like a French film. Setting for a Graham Greene novel.

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