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Our Elizabeth A Humour Novel   By: (1888-)

Book cover

First Page:

OUR ELIZABETH

A Humour Novel

by

FLORENCE A. KILPATRICK

Illustrated by Ernest Forbes

[Frontispiece: Elizabeth Renshaw.]

Thornton Butterworth Limited 62 St. Martin's Lane, London, W.C. 2 Published November 1920

TO CIS

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Elizabeth is not a type; she is an individuality. Signs and omens at her birth no doubt determined her sense of the superstitious; but I trace her evolution as a figure of fun to some sketches of mine in the pages of Punch. These, however, were only impressions of Elizabeth on a small scale, but I acknowledge the use of them here in the process of developing her to full life size. Elizabeth, as I say, is a personality apart; there is only one Elizabeth. Here she is.

F. A. K.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 11 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 12 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 13 CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 14 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 15 CHAPTER 6 CHAPTER 16 CHAPTER 7 CHAPTER 17 CHAPTER 8 CHAPTER 18 CHAPTER 9 CHAPTER 19 CHAPTER 10 CHAPTER 20

ILLUSTRATIONS

Our Elizabeth . . . . . . Frontispiece

Henry and I looked at the Cookery Book

The Kid

A Bad Sign

Marion dropped fifteen stitches

Our Friend William

'Wot's 'orrible about it?'

'Oh, must I, Mama?'

''E was starin' at it wild like.'

'Do you mean the boiler one?' I asked.

'I suppose I'm shocking you terribly.'

A slight lowering of the left eye lid.

Henry, being a Scotsman, likes argument.

'A fair razzle dazzle.'

She dashed from the room in a spasm of mirth.

'Am I not a suitable wife for Henry?'

'Carn't you get rid of 'er?'

'Stop, William!' Marion said.

'Oo ses the Signs is wrong?'

''Ere's to us, all of us!'

OUR ELIZABETH

CHAPTER I

If you ask Henry he will tell you that I cannot cook. In fact, he will tell you even if you don't ask. To hold up my culinary failures to ridicule is one of his newest forms of humour (new to Henry, I mean the actual jokes you will have learned already at your grandmother's knee).

I had begun to see that I must either get a servant soon or a judicial separation from Henry. That was the stage at which I had arrived. Things were getting beyond me. By 'things' I mean the whole loathsome business of housework. My m├ętier is to write not that I am a great writer as yet, though I hope to be some day. What I never hope to be is a culinary expert. Should you command your cook to turn out a short story she could not suffer more in the agonies of composition than I do in making a simple Yorkshire pudding.

Henry does not like housework any more than I do; he says the performance of menial duties crushes his spirit but he makes such a fuss about things. You might think, to hear him talk, that getting up coal, lighting fires, chopping wood and cleaning flues, knives and brasses were the entire work of a household instead of being mere incidents in the daily routine. If he had had to tackle my duties . . . but men never understand how much there is to do in a house.

Even when they do lend a hand my experience is that they invariably manage to hurt themselves in some way. Henry seems incapable of getting up coal without dropping the largest knob on his foot. If he chops wood he gashes himself; he cannot go through the simple rite of pouring boiling water out of a saucepan without getting scalded; and when he mounts the steps to adjust the blinds I always keep the brandy uncorked in readiness; you see, he declares that a chap needs something to pull himself together after a fall from a step ladder.

Perhaps you trace in all this a certain bitterness, a veiled antagonism on my part towards Henry; you may even imagine that we are a bickering sort of couple, constantly trying to get the better of each other. If so, you are mistaken. Up to six months before this story opens our married life had been ideal for which reason I didn't open the story earlier... Continue reading book >>




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