And more about why I got such a kick out of the terrific story I received in the NFE 2014
I'm rereading Bleak House
in bits and pieces at the moment, and just the other day came across a passage describing tourists going over a stately home, exactly as they do (offstage) in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
, and as referenced in the NFE story. I loved the synchronicity! And was much amused at Dickens' depiction of how bored the Bleak House
tourists were:"As is usually the case with people who go over houses, Mr. Guppy and his friend are dead beat before they have well begun. They straggle about in wrong places, look at wrong things, don't care for the right things, gape when more rooms are opened, exhibit profound depression of spirits, and are clearly knocked up. In each successive chamber that they enter, Mrs. Rouncewell, who is as upright as the house itself, rests apart in a window-seat or other such nook and listens with stately approval to Rosa's exposition."
Oh, very clever, Dickens! :D
But who is Mrs Rouncewell? ( Why, she's the stately housekeeper! )
And putting that together with the story made for another wonderful dimension to the NFE story - that it woke me to the realisation that Mrs Macready is one of a long line of literary Stately Housekeepers, who showed respectable visitors, preferably with a note of introduction, over the great country houses of Britain (before it all went commercial, after WW2, when anyone who could buy a ticket could get in).
To be honest, I can't actually name others in the long line, though of course there's ( the housekeeper at Pemberley. )
But I'm sure they're out there. And I am delighted
that, thanks to the NFE story, I now see Mrs Macready in a whole new light.
(Meanwhile, for those who want the real, non-fictional ancestry of Mrs Macready, Stately Housekeeper,there's this.