Read In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor by Deborah Mitford Free Online
Book Title: In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor|
The author of the book: Deborah Mitford
Edition: John Murray Publishers
Date of issue: June 1st 2009
ISBN 13: 9780719568572
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.86 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.1
Read full description of the books:
A book of letters between two wildly charismatic figures – Patrick Leigh Fermor , renowned for his daredevil exploits during the second world war, and even more so for his travel writings, and Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, a wonderfully spontaneous and warm person, who lived in a stately pile called Chatsworth House, which took up much of her time and energy. Deborah started out life as one of the Mitford sisters.
Patrick Leigh Fermor in 1944
Deborah aged 20, in 1940.
Deborah and her granddaughter in front of the stately pile in 2006
Both of them are rather soft-hearted and effusive in their letters - and I enjoyed their kind, funny and affectionate correspondence. The book crackles with famous names, from the Prince of Wales to Bruce Chatwin, from John Kennedy to Dirk Bogarde. One has to forgive them though. They weren’t name dropping, they just moved in ridiculously illustrious circles. They were both extremely sociable and the letters mention hundreds of different people. Each letter is followed by a plethora of notes describing the people mentioned . I’m afraid I gave up on the notes after about the tenth letter and just went with the flow. They also used various nicknames, and they are listed in the preface e.g. “Cake” = Queen Mother, “Old French Authoress” or “Ancient Dame of France” = Nancy Mitford, “Woman” = Deborah’s sister Pamela ….and so on. If you find nicknames odious this is probably not the book for you.
Deborah says she hates reading books, and amazingly, considering her correspondence with PLF for over 50 years…she never read any of his books. Every now and again she would refer to one of them, but she never actually picked one up and read it. Luckily he wrote her these wonderful letters, so at least that way she got a glimpse of his writing skills. Most of the time he lived in Greece, and his descriptions of his home there are stunning. But here is a quote about a winter holiday spent in England, which gives a taste of his talents. I especially enjoy it when he writes about landscapes.
I’m sitting in this house, looking out at the snowflakes tumbling into the orchard below, where fifty sheep graze on frost-bitten tussocks of grass. Beyond it stand the old mill this house is named after, the broken wheel, iced solid, and the millstream iced over. Only a thin ribbon of water survives in motion, the rest is locked under a lid of ice. Two hundred pigeons live in the top part of the mill, and flutter out and in. Beyond the stream, which is called the Isborne (the only river in the kingdom, it seems, which flows due south to due north), in a field, stands a neighbour’s sturdy horse, rugged up – one rug yesterday, but two today, I note: also grazing. But what about winter? The Isborne is wired off and the two troughs are frozen solid. Joan says they melt it by licking it with their warm tongues, then lap it up…Beyond it, the Cotswolds fade away into cotton wool.
The letters also contain lots of charming gossip. (Not an oxymoron, gossip can be charming... Because of the generous natures of PLF and Deborah the gossip is kindly, and also often amusing).
I see from the preface that Deborah wrote about ten books too, but when she mentions them in the letters she is always hugely rude about them....so I am not tempted to rush off to the library and order one.
The book ends with a letter dated May 2007, when Deborah was eighty-eight and PLF was ninety-three. In spite of various physical ailments their hearts and humour were still going strong. The letters are a marvellous testament to over half a century of friendship.
Photographs taken from the book.
And herewith something that has nothing to do with the book, but it interested me greatly. An extract from a Guardian interview with Deborah after the publication of her autobiography.....
(view spoiler)[Her sister Unity was an enthusiastic Nazi; her other sister Diana married Sir Oswald Mosley, had extreme views on race, and spent part of the second world war in Holloway prison because she was deemed a threat. I suggest that in her memoir, she is a little kind to both, given their views. "Quite kind?" she says incredulously. "I adored them. I really loved them both. When we got old, I liked Diana better than any other person in the world." So she accepted their politics? "Their politics were nothing to do with me."
Full interview here:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/se... (hide spoiler)]
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Read information about the authorDeborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who published under the name of Deborah Mitford, was brought up in Oxfordshire, England. In 1950 her husband, Andrew, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, inherited extensive estates in Yorkshire and Ireland as well as Chatsworth, the family seat in Derbyshire, and Deborah became chatelaine of one of England’s great houses. She is the author of All in One Basket, Wait for Me!, Counting My Chickens and Home to Roost, among other books, and her letters have been collected in The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and In Tearing Haste: The Correspondence of the Duchess of Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Following her husband’s death in 2004, she moved to a village on the Chatsworth estate.
Note: The author's name on her books varies from Duchess of Devonshire (most common), to Deborah Devonshire, Deborah Cavendish and Deborah Mitford.