Yes boys and girls, it was a very Mitford Christmas at Lucindaville. Direct from Heywood Hill, the bookshop where Nancy Mitford once worked, I received a copy of Deborah Mitford's new autobiography, Wait For Me!
It was not just any copy of the book but a copy signed by the Duchess of Devonshire.
The cover features the Duchess with her beloved chickens which she tells us are Buff Cochins, Welsummers, Buford Browns, rather stupid (in the Duchess' opinion) White Leghorns and a flock of Warrens that she bought before they could get shipped off to a large, intensive farm.
As you may know from reading Lucindaville, we love our chickens. We also love Balenciaga, Elvis Presley, and Cecil Beaton, but rarely do we find a book that so easily incorporates all of the above.
In addition to the Duchess' book, we also received Leslie Brody's biography of Jessica Mitford entitled, Irrepressible. I was a bit disappointed with Brody's biography. For me, it was dry, and Jessica Mitford was anything but. Brody chose the very factual "high road" so much of the gossipy tidbits are left out and the clear, factual details are the ones that are included with little speculation.
My favorite passage comes early on in the book and features a teenaged Jessica sharing a room with her sister, Unity.
"Using a diamond ring, Decca and Unity etched symbols of their political affiliations into the window of the room they shared at the top of the house—Unity drew a swastika; Decca a hammer and sickle."It seems rather charming, the thought of these two young, gorgeous girls their closets full of party dresses, gazing out of their window, appropriating a family jewel, and carving a swastika and a hammer and sickle into their bedroom window. Of course, knowing the history of these two women, it is, at the same time, sadly prophetic.
What a great way to start our new year -- reading about the Mitfords.
My friend, Anne, sent me a link to Charlie Rose's interview with Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.