By Barbara Comyns
“I informed Helen my tale and he or she went domestic and cried.” So starts off Our Spoons got here from Woolworths. yet Barbara Comyns’s beguiling novel is much from tragic, regardless of the harrowing ordeals its heroine endures.
Sophia is twenty-one and naïve while she marries fellow artist Charles. She turns out infrequently fonder of her husband than she is of her puppy newt; she can’t hold condominium (everything she chefs tastes of soap); and she or he blunders morning disease for the aftereffects of a nasty batch of strawberries. England is in the midst of the nice melancholy, and the money Sophia makes from the occasional modeling gig doesn’t make up for her husband’s indifference to paying the lease. Predictably, the wedding falters; no longer so predictably, Sophia’s artlessness stands out as the very factor that turns her lifestyles round.
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Additional info for Our Spoons Came from Woolworths
The letter-writing of empire always indicates its extent, but with Stevenson the range of his journeys everywhere goes further, and his activity as a letter writer is another way of recounting adventure, a method not without parallel among explorers of the period and before. Like others in his day, he often traveled in the least comfortable way, whether it be in the Cȳvennes in France, around Davos in Switzerland, in New York City, at Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains, crossing the United States by a miserable 舠emigrant train舡 (a journey that almost killed him on his way to meet his wife in San Francisco), or traveling by schooner to the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii and thence to western Samoa, where, seeming to be settled for a change, he bought more than 300 acres of land on which he built Vailima.
Pharmacology could not alter the course of tuberculosis, and it was thought that bracing cold air in a clear mountain climate would remedy the disease. Stevenson spent the winters of 1880 and 1881 at Davos, was erroneously pronounced cured, and left for a life of continued wandering in search of a salubrious climate. Not surprisingly for those who have read The Magic Mountain or the life story of the poet John Keats (1795-1821), TB is a disease of fevers and a feverish existence. With Stevenson this hectic rhythm animated his virtually desperate travels; he became more of an explorer than a tourist, a restless voyager who knew he would never return home to his beloved country.
At the end of his life, settled in western Samoa, he wrote letters to condemn imperial abuses in the islands. The letter-writing of empire always indicates its extent, but with Stevenson the range of his journeys everywhere goes further, and his activity as a letter writer is another way of recounting adventure, a method not without parallel among explorers of the period and before. Like others in his day, he often traveled in the least comfortable way, whether it be in the Cȳvennes in France, around Davos in Switzerland, in New York City, at Saranac in the Adirondack Mountains, crossing the United States by a miserable 舠emigrant train舡 (a journey that almost killed him on his way to meet his wife in San Francisco), or traveling by schooner to the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii and thence to western Samoa, where, seeming to be settled for a change, he bought more than 300 acres of land on which he built Vailima.