Sophie Le Patourel was reading aloud to her two daughters from the Book of Ryth, as they lay prostrate upon their backboards, digesting their dinners and improving their deportment. This spending of the after-dinner hour upon their backboards instead of in the parlour was as a matter of fact a punishment for insubordination during the morning, but their Papa being from home Sophie was softening the punishment by reading aloud. She was an indulgent mother, adoring her dhilren, anxious to keep them with her as long as possible, aftraid of what might be done to them by the great world outside the schoolroom window, the great world that in this mid-ninettenth-century horrified her with its bustle and vulgarity and noise….
I have been looking for Green Dolphin Country by Elizabeth Goudge for a long time. I have forgotten who recommended it to me. It was first published in the 40s and it’s been on my wish list for at least a couple of years.
I recently requested it from our public library, but went I went to pick it up yesterday, it was an ancient copy, the front cover completely split from the flyleaf, the pages yellow and crumbly. For the first time ever, I rejected a “hold”. And it was the only copy they had in the entire system.
I decided to browse around the internets and, via abebooks, found a copy for sale from a used book dealer just north of Toronto. I emailed him to see if I could pick it up rather than have it shipped and it turned out that he was going to be running errands in my neighborhood this afternoon. We exchaned cellphone numbers and met outside his (actually, our) bank and exchanged book for cash. As it turns out, he’s the owner of the used book shop just up the street and told me to email him with anything that I’m having trouble finding and he’ll keep an eye open.
Here’s how the book starts:
I’m going to save it for my vacation next month.