‘I should not like my dear sister to know, but I am reading the Plays of Ibsen, and I was finishing Hedda Gabler.’
Mrs Bradley nodded comprehendingly.
‘And of course, Ibsen being What he is, and the light in my room being Quite Invisible from my sister’s room, and our having agreed From the First to consider candles a Separate Item so that neither of us need make the burning of them an Affair of Conscience as, of course, we should be obliged to do if they came out of the housekeeping, I read on until past ten o’clock.’ (210)
An incredible passage about the ‘naughtiness’ of both reading late and Ibsen and the constraints on both that the economics of housekeeping can produce, if not carefully negotiated. Also, the wonderful use of capital letters.
Not until now do I realise how much luck it is to be born at a time when we do not have to negotiate the cost of a candle to read as late as we would like…
Mitchell, Gladys ( 2014)The Devil At Saxon Well. London: Vintage Books.