Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I did write to the New Yorker:

"Judith Thurman implies, in her review of Brenda Wineapple's book "White Heat", that it is the first book to examine Thomas Wentworth Higginson's remarkable friendship with Emily Dickenson.

Not so. Anna Mary Wells' ground-breaking work, "Dear Preceptor", was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1963. You reviewed it kindly at the time ("the book is a pleasure"). Miss Wells occasionally contributed to your columns, although not on the subject of Emily Dickenson.

Jean Miles
Edinburgh, Scotland"

That’s all I can do. Their instant automated acknowledgement started off with a defensive paragraph about That Cover. They must have had thousands of emails.

Daily Life

Here’s what we’re up against.

And here’s the dinosaur sweater – it’s not big enough. I’ll block it today, I hope, and stretch it in all directions, but I suspect it will winter on Loch Fyne rather than Mt Pelion.

I think I’ll cast on a Liesl today.

The excitement here at the moment is that Archie is on his way to CT. My mother invited each of our children over for a holiday just at the age where they could still travel on a child’s fare, and my sister has continued the tradition. It was all very well when she had only Rachel’s four to deal with, but the tsunami of subsequent nieces and nephews has kept her on her toes.

Archie is flying from here to Amsterdam, there to change not only planes but airlines. He’s a cool customer. He’ll be all right. But we found this morning that we didn’t have mobile phone numbers for my sister and her husband. Can’t phone them – it’s the middle of the night in CT. Helen and Archie left for the airport, leaving me to wrestle with the problem.

Wrestle I did, and solved it – I phoned Beijing. I feel rather pleased with myself.

Kate, I based our supper last night on your recipe suggestion for zucchini. The last few I had brought from Strathardle were too small to stuff, but I sort of layered them with stewed lamb and finished off with an a sauce involving roast aubergine and cheese. Improvisation usually results in disaster when I am in the kitchen, but Archie said it was the best meal he had had this year.


  1. fabulous child(ren) fabulous sweater and you do seem busier than ever!

  2. I snorted when I read Kate W's response re zucchs and lamb - yes, I'd certainly like to see the lamb vs marrow stuffing incident. It would be worthy of a tabloid front cover at least! I like your ad hoc on the 'stuffed with lamb', it sounds lovely with lots of mediterranean influences. Did you use any spices other than the ubiquitous onion-and-garlic regime?

    I hope you get responses from both the publisher and the NYer. I'm also v. interested whether Wineapple acknowledges Wells' work on the subject in her bibliography. I feel it would verge on impossible to have written a whole book on the relationship between Dickenson and Higginson and not have read/referenced your mother's work at all.

  3. Did children traveling alone ever pay a lower fare? These days they cost more than adults--but age 11 seems such a good time for an independent trip--old enough to love the independence and young enough to find the US (or, in one case, Africa) wondrous. We're looking forward to Archie.

  4. Gorgeous sweater and model. And what a great trip for Archie - I used to fly my niece, whose wedding I just officiated, out every summer for a visit starting at age 8 (no international there) it was a wonderful thing for both of us.

  5. Anonymous1:54 PM

    The sweater is lovely--- Thanks to all your talk about the Liesl, I found some stash yarn and cast on last Thursday. I have now finished the body and am onto the sleeves. It is a very quick knit and its coming out lovely--a sweater well worth your time and effort. I am thinking of making one in cotton for my mom for Christmas (she lives in California.)

  6. Jean, it's been so long since I commented here! I had to comment on the dino sweater though, it's lovely, and I know how it feels for the thing not to fit, kids grow so quickly, even when they are right in front of you every day.

    I handspun and knit hat and gloves for my eldest last winter, let's just say they fit the smaller of the two, I clearly can't figure out how big my kids are.