Saturday, July 07, 2007

Conversational Adornment

Robert Louis Stevenson on the women of Monastier:

One thing was notable about these women, from the youngest to the oldest, and with hardly an exception. In spite of their piety, they could twang off an oath with Sir Toby Belch in person. There was nothing so high or so low, in heaven or earth or in the human body, but a woman of this neighbourhood would whip out the name of it, fair and square, by way of conversational adornment.

From Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879).

3 comments:

Dorothy W. said...

Are you enjoying this book Kate? I'm curious ...

JCR said...

Quite an interesting passage... is this a book worth reading?

Kate S. said...

Dorothy and JCR,

I am enjoying it; it's definitely worth reading. The edition that I've got starts a bit slowly with an opening chapter titled "A Mountain Town in France." Apparently it was written later than the rest and tacked on as an introduction but it doesn't serve the purpose very well. The book begins to come alive with the second chapter. I confess that I had a hard time putting my contemporary sensibilities aside in so far as the treatment of the donkey is concerned (various implements had to be employed to get her to move). But that apart, I am thoroughly engaged by RLS's voice--his keen observation and his self-deprecating humour wound together.