Three Houses

Angela Mackail Thirkell, Author
Angela Mackail Thirkell, Author Moyer Bell $19.95 (134p) ISBN 978-1-55921-215-1
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1995
In this evocative memoir, originally published in 1931, Thirkell, the author of dozens of novels set in Barsetshire, recalls an idyllic childhood in Victorian England. Two of the three houses of the title are those of her grandfather, painter Edward Burne-Jones: a rambling town house and the seaside dwelling devised from two conjoined cottages (""a kind of rabbit warren most enchanting to a child"") where her grandmother held sway; the third was her parents' home in Kensington Square, next door to Thackeray's old house. Thirkell's world was peopled with artistic and literary figures including her cousin, Rudyard Kipling, W.B. Yeats and Mrs. Patrick Campbell, whom she called ""Auntie Stella."" Thirkell remembers Sunday mornings snuggling in her mother's four-poster bed, being dressed in stiffly starched petticoats and pinafores, her favorite ""Sacred Sunday Sausages,"" afternoon tea with fresh milk and buttered toast and attempts to creep into her grandfather's studio, a forbidden place where ""sinister people called `models' lived."" Thirkell was later to remark on those bygone days, ""There is always in our minds the hope that we may find again those golden unhastening days and wake up and dream."" This warm and charming reminiscence allows those who visit her ""Three Houses"" to share that dream.
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