Wednesday, April 29, 2015

moving on from the Tudors

"But though it may seem sad, one grows out of Tudor cottages. Little by little, the charm of being stunned and sent reeling to the wall, six times a day, by the low beams on the ceiling, is apt to pall; one no longer darts gaily up to the bathroom for the sticking plaster, chortling with amusement at the nice Tudore bumpe on one's forehead. Nor, as season gives way to season, and as the bedroom florr sinks more sharply, tilting at an even acuter angle, does one take so much pleasure in emerging from bed, as it were, on skis, and sliding down a highly polished slope towards a lattice window through which the dawn comes but faintly. It would be pleasant, one feels, to be able to stand up straight, from time to time; it would be even pleasanter to be able to read a book without crouching in a draught under the aforesaid lattice.
As it is with comfort, so it is with taste; to linger in the Tudors is merely a sign of aesthetic adolescence; one must move on to the eighteenth century, and if one has any sense, stay there. There comes a time, or there should come a time, in the life of every civilized man, when he realzes that the eighteenth century said the last word worth saying in absolutely everything connected with the domestic arts. Sometimes this realization comes by chance; he may be standing in a Georgian doorway, and the sun may shine on it, and he may look up and suddenly perceive that he is standing in a frame that is as perfect as a melody made by Mozart. Sometimes it comes painfully, by long study. In my case it came when I inherited four William and Mary chairs of the school of Daniel Marot. Those chairs altered my life. By their elegance, their assurance, their chastity, they were a silent reproof to everything in their vicinity, including myself. I was not sufficiently elegant; I was not sufficiently assured; and we will skip the rest. But those chairs did me persuade at least to try."

~ Beverley Nichols, Merry Hall

So there. We can romanticize life in a quaint Tudor home, but reality sinks in every time the low beams make their point.
Two years ago, I read the second book in this trilogy, Laughter on the Stairs, (without knowing it was a sequel) as my first introduction to Beverley Nichols and his writing. He paints such clear scenes with his words, even if there is only a sliver of truth to it. Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles recently shared quotes from Merry Hall which reminded me to go back and read the trilogy in the right order this time.


  1. This is just lovely. We really romanticize the past without considering its drawbacks. While I love history and some of its beauties, and wish many things were as they used to be, I must admit a preference for modern plumbing.

    I'll be on the lookout for these books.

  2. Anonymous7:38 PM

    "one must move on to the eighteenth century, and if one has any sense, stay there"
    yes ;)


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