A delicious trifle of high comedy, delicately satirical, with dialogue of rapid-fire and allusive impishness. The action involves a family riven into disputative chaos by the offer of a baronetcy to a man whose determination not to accept it is equaled only by his wife's resolution that he shall. This household, comprising a quizzical husband who plays with his wife "like a mouse plays with a cat," his wily and saccharine spouse who manages her family to please herself by denying that she has any love of her own way, the precociously journalistic daughter and callow, self-confident son, are admirably sketched. They are sufficiently accentuated to be comic, and close enough to reality to avoid seeming farcical. Then there is a facetious editor, Tranto, who likes "sitting on the edge of a volcano" because it is "thrilling, but so warm and cozy."
eas, has written about everything, _everything_--yes, and several other subjects besides? For instance, here's the article I was revising when you came in. (_Shows the title-page to_ Tranto.)
TRANTO. Splendid! You're the most courageous creature I ever met.
HILDEGARDE. Possibly. But not courageous enough to offer to kiss mamma when I went to bed on the night that _that (indicating the article_) had appeared in print under my own name. You don't know mamma.
TRANTO. But dash it! You could eat your mother!
HILDEGARDE. Pardon me. The contrary is the fact. Mamma could eat me.
TRANTO. But you're the illustrious Sampson Straight. There's more intelligence in your little finger than there is in your mother's whole body. See how you write.
HILDEGARDE. Write! I only began to write as a relief from mamma. I escaped secretly into articles like escaping into an underground passage. But as for facing mamma in the open!... Even father scarcely ever does that; and when he does, we hold our breath, and the c
A little dated in terms of its dialogue, and the First World War context, but surprisingly fast-paced and relevant.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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