Friday, July 28, 2017

Blushing Furiously

I tried going out and it didn't take.

Oh, sure, I went out for a pizza and music. I also wound up back home 45 minutes later, full but without having gone to the show.

Instead, I pulled a random book off the bookshelf, angled the fan in my direction, sat down by a window with a breeze and got lost in it.

I can think of no reason why "Maid and Wife," written in 1919 by Carolyn Beecher, sucked me in immediately.

It's not particularly well-written, though it is full of words (anent) and phrases ("I ate an apology for dinner") rarely used now. The story of Sheila, a rich young woman with frivolous interests whose father dies with nothing to leave her and her mother, is extremely dated.

And her brave move from Chicago (home) to New York City (lonely and anonymous) to look for work with no skill sets beyond finishing school is full of the usual tired tropes: unscrupulous co-workers, ardent bosses and a kind-hearted Irish landlady.

Sheila judges men by how they dance, has already been proposed to four times and turned them all down. She wants a man who thrills her but doesn't want to live in the country, which she finds boring. Curiously for a book written 98 years ago, she feels like she is years and years away from being a wife.

When I finally look up, Sheila is still a maid and nearly four hours have gone by.

I don't know whether I just needed a night alone at home or simply craved an evening of reading, but I do think I ended up exactly where I needed to be.

As Sheila would put it, isn't that jolly?

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