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Mr. Waddington of Wyck

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By: (1863-1946)

May Sinclair’s 1921 novel tells the story of the ridiculous Mr. Horatio Bysshe Waddington, a pompous, self-deluded poser making his way through life caring only for the impressions he makes on others. His long-suffering wife Fanny, his secretary Barbara, and the young scapegrace Ralph watch his daily performances with delighted, affectionate fascination as if they are spectators watching a play or scientists observing a new species, wondering every day how far he will go to fulfill his outrageous pretentions. As usual, Sinclair’s light, deceptively innocent prose camouflages a tale of sexual passions and human foibles with philosophical implications about her post-war world.

First Page:







Barbara wished she would come back. For the last hour Fanny Waddington had kept on passing in and out of the room through the open door into the garden, bringing in tulips, white, pink, and red tulips, for the flowered Lowestoft bowls, hovering over them, caressing them with her delicate butterfly fingers, humming some sort of song to herself.

The song mixes itself up with the Stores list Barbara was making: "Two dozen glass towels. Twelve pounds of Spratt's puppy biscuits. One dozen gent.'s all silk pyjamas, extra large size" ... "A hoom hoom, a hoom hoom" (that Impromptu of Schubert's), and with the notes Barbara was writing: "Mrs. Waddington has pleasure in enclosing...." Fanny Waddington would always have pleasure in enclosing something.... "A ho om boom, hoom, hee." A sound so light that it hardly stirred the quiet of the room. If a butterfly could hum it would hum like Fanny Waddington... Continue reading book >>

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