Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Authors -- pains and pleasures

"Fry was one of the many friends to whom Kaye would send thoughtful presents. He was enraptured by the 'Rexel Home Office' stationery set.  'The black and red of it.  The self-sharpening of it.  The refillability of it.  And not just a namby-pamby stapler --  but a BAMBI stapler.'  J.C. Trewin was equally grateful for a book, 'a work of perverted genius' which 'shall go into my most precious Stuffed Owl collection' .  Rebecca West wrote from Ibstone House, thanking Kaye for the bottle of brandy, 'which was, by God it was, badly needed'.  She had just endured an experience that 'might afford material for your husband's genius', if that did not make Kaye wince.   She and her husband had  returned from America to find that their secretary, ' a lady of fifty',  had rearranged the contents of their house.  'We can't find anything, including the typescripts and copies of a complete novel, of which mercifully I still have the original.'  They found a bowler hat perched on a lamp-stand, and in the gardeners' cellar, an eighteenth-century cradle, a family heirloom, had been 'hit with something hard and left among the stored potatoes', draped with a 'quite valuable Bosnian carpet'.  The soon-to-be Dame Rebecca was prostrate with indignation: 'I went to Switzerland in a state of collapse to recuperate'. "

So Much to Tell  Valerie Grove

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