“Even at sixty-two or -three the female ear is not unreceptive
to masculine converse, nor the female bosom to a bunch of
violets . . .”
They’re talking about Mrs. Taylor, who lives in Paris with her
banker son–(City of London’s Paris branch). And the violet
giver is a neighbor who would wish to be more than a neighbor.
But Mrs. Taylor and said son have recently been the recipients of
an infant literally left on their doorstep by its mother, an artist, who
simply doesn’t have the time nor interest in raising the child—and
decides to let its father take responsibility.
Mrs. Taylor, instant grandmother of the baby boy, is delighted and
also delighted in the idea of raising the little boy all by herself—
without interference from a daughter-in-law!
And so, we’re off on a little romp—easy reading and fun—do you
know Margery Sharp? She wrote Miss Bianca and The Rescuers
series for children–very popular. But she also wrote scads of little
novels. I’m pretty sure The Gypsy in the Parlour was on our
bookshelves at home as I grew up. (One of my mother’s Book-of-
the-Month Club books)
I bought this book used in a Glasgow bookshop last summer, and
now I see that it’s the third in the “Martha” series. Doesn’t matter,
it held its own just fine.
I’ll admit that I had to look up two words: rebarbative and
comminations–but you probably already know what they mean.
With the perfect touch of giving us believable characters, and
wry humor, Ms. Sharp gives us entertainment for another few
evenings. And what more can we ask than that?