Nancy Mitford is one of my perennial favorites, especially The Blessing, which I first read as a teenager and still consider one of the funniest novels ever. I’m not a huge fan of Jessica Mitford, the other sister famous for writing, but Nancy’s autobiographical novels (Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love) make the family fascinating. I very much enjoyed this group biography, but alas, I read it early in 2006 (or even 2005?) and now no longer remember much of it. I had marked two amusing passages, though:
Nancy told of asking her nephew Stoker, when he was two and a half, “‘Can you talk?’ He answered, ‘Not yet.'”
Bob Treuhaft (Jessica’s American husband) was baffled by a telephone operator in England and handed the phone to his wife.
“What is the matter?” [Jessica] asked him. “She’s saying perfectly plainly that the number is Steeple Bumstead 267.” “That’s what I thought she said,” Bob answered miserably, “but I thought she was pulling my leg.”