Myself When Young (Virago Modern Classics)
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Both her novels and her non-fiction reveal Daphne du Maurier's overwhelming desire to explore her family's history. In Myself When Young, based on diaries that she kept from 1920-1932, the most famous du Maurier probes her own past, beginning with her earliest memories and encompassing the publication of her first book and her subsequent marriage. Here, the writer is open and sometimes painfully honest about the difficult relationship with her father; her education in Paris; early love affairs; her antipathy towards London life and the theatre; her intense love for Cornwall and her desperate ambition to succeed as a writer. The resulting portrait is of a captivating and complex character.
when suddenly a door on the landing was thrown open and Aunt May came out, her eyes blazing. ‘How dare you make such a noise when I am resting?’ she shouted. I stared, mouth open. I stood quite still. Then without another word she went back into her room and shut the door. The encounter was a shock. I told no one. However pleasant, clever and amusing she turned out to be in after years, that memory remained, indelible, and I always felt that she was fonder of Angela and Jeanne than she was of
perhaps not. But what I have to tell you is this. All girls, once they have turned twelve, begin to bleed for a few days every month. It can’t be stopped. It’s just something that happens. And it goes on happening, every month, until they are middle-aged, and then it stops.’ I stared at her, dazed. To bleed, all my life, until I was old? Was it the same as that illness the poor little Tsarevitch Alexis had before he was murdered in a cellar with his parents and sisters? She must have seen the
it turned out anything like Whitby, where so many of his own boyhood holidays had been spent, he told us he would feel perfectly at home. ‘Papa was never happier than at Whitby,’ he said on one of our Sunday strolls across Hampstead Heath. That was true. I had forgotten. Fowey was a port for the shipping of china-clay, and had no fishing fleet, yet both towns had harbours; the smell of tar and rope, mingled with sea-water, must surely be the same. So here was another bond in common with the
waved au revoir to Fernande at the Gare du Nord. Life was a series of greetings and farewells, one was always saying goodbye to something, to someone. The choppy seas of the Channel were a symbol of the Styx.… My spirits rose at Victoria, though, for Geoffrey was at the station to meet me! Christmas at Ferryside was a great success, despite the fact that D had not been too well the week before. He must have been going through some sort of personal crisis, for, M and Angela having gone to Fowey
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.) The following day a note was brought to me by Mrs Hunkin, which, though alas I never kept it, read as follows, to the best of my belief: ‘Dear Miss du Maurier, I believe my late father, Freddie Browning, used to know yours, as fellow-members of the Garrick Club. The Hunkins tell me you have had your appendix out and can’t do much rowing yet, so I wondered if you would care to come out in my boat? How about to-morrow afternoon?’ I sent word back that I should be