Monday, 26 December 1994

The Simple Life

Fiction ~ short story
First published in The World and His Wife, July 1905
Collected in Fine Feathers and Other Stories, 1994
Approx. 1,800 words
(First read 26/12/1994)

The whole story can be summed up by the first sentence:
The Duchess of Shrewsbury was sitting in a small, wooden sort of shelter on the lawn of what she called her cottage near Goring (which, however, has battlements and a tower), without any shoes and stockings on, because she was leading the simple life.
Castle Goring, Sussex
Whether you read it as a typically Bensonian fleck of light-hearted satire on the self-delusions of the rich, or a savage attack on the sheer extravagance and bone-bloody-idleness of the Edwardian √©lite*, is up to you.  I'll merely say that though Fred's stories do occasionally suffer from near- or total plotlessness, he does usually manage to work in a climax of sorts.  Here he doesn't: at the end of The Simple Life birds scour about the garden looking for worms.  Symbolism? ~ nah, not likely.  For those who like their reading untaxing and fun.

* The latter is pretty unlikely.

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