Sunday, September 18, 2011

sur les toits des Paris

Mr Partington and I went up the stairs of 89, and got out onto a slim, fine-boarded landing right in front of a curious little thin door with the most unique air of Paris about it all, it was precisely as though one were living sur les toits des Paris, or on the roofs of Paris. We went in when he opened the door and I found myself in a most wonderful place, a garret of two rooms, the one winding sinuously like a square snake about a shadowy little glass-doored room under the slanting eaves. A bed lay in the silence and darkness there, I saw. But it was the dear little L-room outside that was so lovely, so really suited to a writer and poet's passion for solitude and quaintness, and with what genius one could work and write here ...
Eve Langley, 'The Old Mill', in Wilde Eve, edited by Lucy Frost.

Isn't this every girl's dream of a romantic place to write? It wasn't Paris, of course, but Auckland during the depression, where Langley went to live from her home in Gippsland.

Langley(1908-1974) is best known for her novel The Pea Pickers.  In that book, she and her sister June, calling themselves Steve and Blue, dressed as men and set off to work on the land in Australia. Her writing is funny, romantic, and full of energy and life.

This book by Lucy Frost revives Langley's autobiographical writings, which went unpublished for a long time.

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