Friday, November 13, 2009

The butterknives of others

Hilary Mantel in the Guardian, via Light reading:
I need not explain why I was reading a list of school reunions, when my eye fell on what follows: the address of a girls' school in Llandudno, and the notification that it was the "Final Old Girls' Reunion". Next April it will occur; the information tolled in my ears: why is it the last, how can anyone know? It may be that the organiser has just got tired of doing all the work: that fewer and fewer old girls are turning up, that some of them are shrill and grubby and have vodka bottles in their bags, and piercings, and toyboys in tow: or that Llandudno is just too hard to get to. But sadder explanations suggest themselves. Are there only two old girls left, and has one of them been given a bad prognosis? I can't help thinking what it would be like, two sassy old dames crumbling a final scone together, replacing in its saucer the teacup drained of Darjeeling, polishing their noses with a crumpled tissue: "Well, Blinky, old thing . . ." "Well, Nodders, old girl . . ."; brushing crumbs from their laps, laying down the final butterknife, stepping into separate taxis to go their final ways. Surely there's a short story in it. But it's not mine, is it? It's one for Jane Gardam.

No comments: