This week's short story is from The Oxford Book of Travel Stories edited by Patricia Craig. Doesn't a vacation sound good about now? Perhaps a cruise? Evelyn Waugh's (very short) "Cruise (Letters from a Young Lady of Leisure)", written in 1933, was much what I expected it would be--very clever and highly amusing.
The story is written in the form of letters and postcards written aboard the SS Glory of Greece by a young woman who I guess to be wealthy but rather frivolous. Told in a true 'Waughian" fashion the unidentified recipient of the narrator's correspondence is treated to the couplings and uncouplings, the minor and major irritations and curious adventures of those aboard ship--both passengers and crew.
SS Glory of Greece
Well the Ball we had to come in to dinner in our clothes and everyone clapped as we came downstairs. So I was pretty late on account of not being able to make up my mind whether to wear the hat and in the end did and looked a corker. Well it was rather a faint clap for me considering so when I looked about there were about twenty girls and some women all dressed like me so how cynical the purser turns out to be. Bertie looked horribly dull as an apache. Mum and Papa were sweet. Miss P. had a ballet dress from the Russian ballet which couldnt have been more unsuitable so we had champagne for dinner and were jolly and they threw paper streamers and I threw mine before it was unrolled and hit Miss P. on the nose. Ha ha. So feeling matey I said to the steward isnt this fun and he said yes for them who hasnt got to clear it up goodness how Sad.
Well of course Bertie was plastered and went a bit far particularly in what he said to Lady M. then he sat in the cynical pursers cabin in the dark and cried so Bill and I found him and gave him some drinks and what do you think he went off with Miss P. and we didnt see either of them again it only shows into what degradation the Demon Drink can drag you him I mean.
Then who should I meet by the young man who had steak and onions on the first morning and is called Robert and said I have been trying to meet you again all the voyage. Then I bitched him a bit goodness how Decent.
Poor Mum got taken up by Bill and he told her all about his wife and how she had disillusioned him with the foreigner so to-morrow we reach Port Said d.v. which is latin in case you didnt know the meaning God Willing and all to go up the nile and to Cairo for a week.
Will send P.C. of Sphinx
If this were a movie it would be one of those 1930s comedy of manners with elegant people looking decidedly bored.
I've decided for next week I'll be reading stories from Edith Wharton's Roman Fever that I just picked up last Friday at Half Price books. I've been wanting to read something by her for ages and ages. I also want to read a few short story collections this year, so it's about time to start. I also have Margaret Atwood's Wilderness Tips, which is partially read that I'll get to eventually as well. Don't you love the cover of the Virago? I also spotted a book of her ghost stories at HP books, which I didn't get and hope is still there next time I go. This will be my first time reading any of her short stories, though I've loved the novels I've read by her!