Monday, February 4, 2013

Winter Wedding - Reprise

Love it or hate it, Winter Wedding is one of the most memorable books in the canon.  I really appreciate the fact that I can quote it, chapter and verse (figuratively, of course). 

I can't decide which of Emily's sisters I dislike the most.  Louisa is the obvious choice - after all, she practically kills the twins...but I'm willing to cut her a bit of slack because, although she doesn't enjoy it, she does spend a lot of time babysitting said twins. Also she's young. Mind you, only a bit of slack.
Mary, on the other hand, seems to feel no compunction about dumping twin babies on her younger sisters for Months. On. End.  I dunno...I guess, for me, Louisa wins the bad sister/aunt award (entirely on the strength of the dreaded Seconal Overdose Episode.

Which sister is your least fav?
Betty Debbie

When Betty Debbie and I divvied up our book selections we each had our favorites. Let's just say that if this were a game of dodge-ball and I were picking teams then Winter Wedding is the slim-hipped nimble kid with a wicked throwing arm. But I didn't want to review it until I had 'been to the mountain', so to speak. Well, it's been almost a year since we've started the blog. I've been to the mountain.

Emily Seymour, 23, is my favorite kind of Neels heroine. Dauntless, pleasant (but not really pretty), plump (ah, but with the right foundation garments...), and stuck in a mire not of her own making.
It's November, bitterly cold, and she's camped out in God's Little Acre--east of the rock and west of the hard place. She works the dreaded night shift, is raising her sister Mary's eight month old twins (which I hasten to mention have not been dumped in her lap because Mary is a coke head--she's in the Middle East with her husband who is languishing in prison on trumped up...oh. Yes. I suppose hashish could be considered a recreational drug. What makes you ask?), has a worse-than-useless model cum baby-minder in little sister Louisa and just overheard the most ego-murdering banter in her life. 
...Am I to be fobbed off with that prim miss? Surely there's another nurse...a small, plump creature who merges into the background from whatever angle one looks at her...The only females who grow on me are beautiful blondes who don't go beetroot red every time I look at them. 

The good news is that this dastard's opinion changes. The bad news is that that wasn't Sammy the Long-Haired-and-Handsy-Lab-Assistant. Ladies, grab your garters. That was our hero--Professor Renier Jurres-Romeijn!
What disappointingly pedestrian tastes he runs to. How delicious will be the wreckage of his Citadel of Certitude.
They save the life of Emily's former boss, Mr. Wright (wherein she displays her usual 'relaxed ease' even when things at home and abroad are grim), and Renier meets Louisa. (Falling down in front of his Jag and faking a sprained ankle? Come on, Louisa. You're an Evil Genius. I expect better.)
Renier is amused by the contrast, no doubt. Mousy and no-nonsense older sister/gorgeous and scheming little sister. I don't forgive him for giving Louisa the time of day (you don't handle vipers, Renier, you call exterminators) but hanging about the Wee Dumpy Cottage on the Scrap of Wilderness lets him see more of Emily's sterling qualities.
And then we come to the night of the hospital ball, otherwise known as, The Apocalyptic-ly Awful End Times of Emily. Let us study the signs and wonders:
  • Sammy the Long-Haired-and-Handsy-Lab-Assistant asks her out on a bet.
  • Excited to be going at all (and maybe surprising a certain Professor), Emily plans her wardrobe...only to find that the Professor has asked Louisa...oh, and she'll need all the money Miss Em has.
  • After feeling really ill-used, Emily decides to make the best of a bad job and add her grandmother's locket to camouflage her frumpy neckline. Louisa has hocked it. (That's my little Evil Genius!)
  • Sammy ditches her at the dance (even though she moves like a dream!) and hands her some punch.
  • Er...that's not punch making her cheeks a mottled red. It's three and a half glasses of fruity vodka (and some Elizabeth Arden blusher applied with a trowel).
  • And, naturally, it's the Professor who finds her (drunk and ugly and abandoned), pours coffee down her throat and gets her home. I vote she abscond with the babies to New Zealand. Who's with me?
Renier has meanwhile found out how Louisa financed her smashing glamor of the night before and is a little less amused by the unblushing blonde than he was before.
Editorial Note:
This does not stop him from letting her use him for rides and dates whenever she wishes. Renier is still a little bit dumb.
But I haven't even got to the part about the Seconal yet! Without further ado...
What do you get when you cross a petulant pre-model, a dress show, and a leviathan sense of entitlement?
If you said a Seconal overdose and stomach-pumping catatonic twins than you could already be a winner!
Coming upon the scene at a fortuitous/awkward moment, Renier leaps to the conclusion that Emily's been doping them and rips into her ferociously (naturally after turning little William and Claire inside out). Enter Louisa. Disclosures. Tears. Noticeable non-ripping into Louisa. And then they're sending the blonde assassin home in a cab and all is quiet in the ambulance bay.
Editorial Note: I argue that it is here that Renier has his dawning realization...or over dinner...because you know he's taking her out for treacle tart after an accusation like that. But he's still seeing Louisa so chalk that one up to the Mysteries of The Great Betty...
And then Mary and George get out of "The Middle East Prison"! (cough*rehab*cough) Emily breezes back to the hospital to resign only to be cold-cocked by a dawning realization of her own. 'It's more than that,' he said slowly. 'You look as though someone had lighted a torch inside you.
...'No,' she managed, and meant 'Yes--you.'
She's desolate because she won't be seeing him again.
But wait! (Betty reaches into her bag of tricks) There's more!
She travels to Holland to nurse Mr. Wright in Renier's home. (Suh-weeet!)
This interlude is punctuated with shopping trips (wherein a charming rose pink flyaway chiffon dress augments her basic wardrobe), dressing for dinner, hasty kisses (happily, not that hasty), salty elderly ladies who loathe silver tissue trouser suits with the heat of seven fiery winds...and blonde tartlets as far as the eye can see.
Editorial Note:
Like I said, Renier is kind of dumb (but it's so adorable at this point when he is thoroughly put out that she's not landing in his lap). What better way to catch a girl whom you have called plump and blushing (read: shy) and a nonentity than to dangle Vogue models and leggy Heleens under her nose? But I give him points for originality. Emily is eaten up with jealousy. He's just too dumb to get that this is a bad idea. No matter. He will make a splendid husband.
On Christmas day, Emily receives the gift of her once-hocked locket. Renier. (Ah! What a sweetheart. If only he'd also dropped-kicked the little tramp who sold it, too...)
In a daring, weather-related rescue Emily saves Grandma Jurres-Romeijn's life but won't, when Renier humbly (well, for him humbly), asks her to stay and nurse the old lady. She's going back to England and if anyone wants to send her down a mine shaft to nurse and rescue some Chilean miners then she's the gal.
Away to the bare London blocks to hide herself in miserable obscurity! Until one day (not too much later) he's there sitting in her only decent chair...
The End

Rating: Obviously, my love for this one knows no bounds. Mountains of Lashings of Whipped Cream--a veritable Grand Canyon of Cream. But why? To enumerate:
  • Emily has a been handed a crap sandwich, if you'll forgive the term. Twins, Louisa, vodka punch, petty larceny, frumpy clothes, the night shift, snow, a bleak flat, mishandled pharmaceuticals and accusations of criminal carelessness...and she's nigh on Unsinkable. She isn't one of those dummies who think that Louisa is just the best sister ever or that Sammy is anything other than a warm body on the dance floor but she's not going to wallow in the muck.
  • Our hero is clue.less. He's doing his poor best but he's playing catch up from the word go. He keeps trying to goad her into plucking him off the tree like a ripened mango but, in the end, he's the one who has to travel to her side of town and chance his heart. Yay, Betty! He's not one of our stoic fellows who sail placidly through life without fuss or bother. Renier will be a mite more tempestuous (having moods and so forth) and probably more fun.
  • Louisa, as bad as she is, isn't (except for the Seconal--which situation arose out of selfishness not malice) nearly the most irredeemable Neels villainess (though I looooooove hating her). I envision her meeting Renier's younger brother and getting the education of her young life. If he's willing to trouble making her into a worthwhile human being (deep-tissue psychoanalysis, one of those desert boot-camps for delinquent youths and a lobotomy) and keep the medicine cabinet firmly locked then those two crazy kids could make it!
To sum up: I love this one! Go get it.

Food: Cereal and coddled eggs (these are scrambled, yes?), the notorious vodka punch, copious amounts of strong coffee, steak and kidney pie, treacle tart, fish and chips, brown bread ice cream (must try this), rib of beef, frozen lemon cup with a lemon sorbet, avocado pears with shrimp stuffing, turtle soup (First, find a turtle...), turkey, flaming Christmas pudding (alcohol and an open flame!), and olie bollen to ring in the Dutch New Year.

Fashion: A sensible coat, rubber boots and a wooly hat, pantyhose, a flowered crepe dress, blue organza, a silver locket (that she could have taken her sister to small claims court over, I suppose), a highly objectionable pink frilled shirt, and a velvet skirt with several tops (for all those sartorially sticky moments when a nurse's salary must pass muster in a mansion). Grandma wears a grey chiffon with her diamonds while Emily enchants in a rose pink flyaway chiffon. Unacceptable tartlets don silver tissue trouser suits and whistle eligible bachelors down the wind.


  1. I love this story! I love it when Emily refuses to have a meal with Renier! Ha! I bet he thought she would accept. Ha!

    coddled eggs
    I like Betty Barbara's explanation.


    egg coddlers – lots of lovely pictures

  2. I cut Mary all the slack in the world -- her beloved husband is in a dangerous place, essentially held hostage in unpredictable and potentially life-threatening circumstances. As I read the back-story, she essentially had a chance to get a little alone time with hubby and had a trusted family member with whom to dump her screaming babies for a week. She took it. It turned into an horrendous nightmare from which she could not escape despite her desperate desire to get home.

    Meanwhile, Louisa, who has the best role model in the world for stiff-upper-lipping and get-the-job-done-ing in the world, plus two darling screaming babies to inspire affection and concern, cannot even put a load of laundry in the washer. Emily should have taken out some insurance, Seconaled little sister extravagantly, and then used the insurance money to get the kiddies into a good day-care program.

  3. Why are there only two comments 48 hours after posting of this excellent and highly partisan review of a controversial novel? Have people mislaid their opinions, prejudices and nostalgic associations?

    1. Well, I have commented, saving my comment on the sisters for later. And because I was in a hurry I didn't have time to sign in and (like you) forgot to sign my name. Perhaps not all Bettys have read this novel. Or, they are busy sewing costumes 'cause it's carnival season. Or, they are too busy at work...

  4. I haven't commented because I have nothing brilliant or witty to say (per usual). I can't stand that stinkin' Louisa. If we could leave her out and slightly rework the novel, I would love it.

    Betty AnoninTX

    1. Before I had children, I had no sympathy and pure loathing for Louisa. After four kids in quick succession, I had times that had I known the U.S. equivalent of Seconal....*laugh. And Louisa is much younger with zero experience, interest, or maturity.

    2. But that's the thing about being in Betty's world -- regardless of whether you're interested in hunkering down in the dark with a pair of ill-mannered brats in a tumble-down ruin overflowing with rabid squirrels, or experienced at spelunking after broken-legged strangers with the tide coming up, the sun setting and some unnerving squeaking coming from stage left, you pull some maturity out of your old but well-polished leather bag and get the job done, and refrain from complaining that you've ruined the matching shoes and belt in the process.

    3. But NOT the Betty Louisas--the Betty Emilys

    4. I get really angry with Louisa when she hocks the locket. Poor Emily has to go to the dance wearing the unflattering, old dress. I get tired of Louisa's cutting Emily down all the time too. Snipe snipe snipe. The Seconal is the icing on the cake.

      Betty AnoninTX

  5. Oh, I'll chime in for Winter Wedding! Unforgettable? Check. Frustration at little sis? Check. Lots of reality for our poor working girl? Check. Check. It's a top ten, maybe even a top five! I love the way Betty Keira cheered it on as well. Too fun!
    -Betty Joanie

  6. When the Professor thought Emily had given the twins seconal she was horrified at the icy look in his eyes; his voice was ice too
    Then at the hospital he tells her harshly to go away. (And then my favourite line in the book, She gave him a look of loathing.and says, 'No. I'm staying.')

    When Louisa turns up at the hospital and he knows she is the one who doped the infants – what does he do? One can tell he isn’t happy with her, but not even one word of reprimand! He puts her back in the taxi and sends her home. But that is not even the worst of it. Frankly, I don’t understand that man at all. Just a couple of hours later, when the Professor takes Emily home, little Miss Crocodile Tears, all dolled up in a new dressing gown, puts on a performance solely for his benefit. And don’t tell me he doesn’t see through it. And again, not one word of reprimand. 'I hope you still want to take me out when I come to London.' (The very nerve of her!) 'What man could resist such an invitation?' The Professor's voice was all silk (And you think, this is it, he will tell her off now. )and Emily glanced at him uncertainly. – and the next moment he was smiling at Louisa and patting the hand on his sleeve. – (Gag) – and then bidding Emily a casual good night and smiling again when he looked at Louisa.

    Betty A., at the moment loathing Louisa and the Professor in almost equal parts, has to go and take the dog out with her mom

    1. I never believed for a minute that he had any interest in Louisa, except as "harmless" overgrown teenager. He didn't lay into Louisa because he didn't care about Louisa whereas he was horrified that Emily could have done such as thing. Then he is stunned by his own stupidity (and its potential impact on Emily good view of him),

    2. Ahaaaaa! (re: didn't lay into Louisa because he didn't care about Louisa) Thanks for the enlightenment.
      Never believed he was interested in her myself, but cannot understand why spent so much time with her

    3. That explanation definitely helps, but it still just riles that he doesn't even give her a gentle rebuke. Grrrr!

  7. Dear Bettys,
    Louisa is off the charts full of herself, Mary has all my sympathy, Emily is one of Betty Neels' most lovable. Renier is one of my most favorite Betty heroes, especially when he yells "Maud" after Emily sneezes! He is very human, unlike some of the other men she crafted, lovable as they are. Speaking of lovable, thank you so much for making a place for Betty-love on the web. I thought no one else understood. Your new friend and reader!

    1. Welcome, Betty Librarian! Be sure to meet Betty Barbara, who was at least a bookseller and I think a librarian and maybe still is.

      So very many people understand. It is beautiful.

    2. Welcome, Betty Librarian!
      I, too, love the "Maud!" response. He's darling--almost as darling as Emily.

    3. I'm a retired librarian. :)

      Betty AnoninTX

    4. Why do I not remember Renier's "Maud" after the sneeze? Which page/chapter? I just read this book last week, too.

      Betty AnoninTX

    5. Perhaps you don't remember because he called Maud to observe the proprieties. He had the stethoscope already in his hand.

    6. CHAPTER EIGHT (after the Professor's grandmother had been rescued)
      ... When she woke up the Professor was sitting on the side of the bed, holding her hand. As she opened her eyes he observed: 'You look about ten years old with all that hair and that woolly shawl. Bep tells me that you sneezed.' She was about to tell him that she often sneezed but never caught cold when she sneezed again, whereupon he got up, went to the door, shouted 'Maud!' and came back again, this time to lean over the end of the bed, the stethoscope he had carried in his pocket in his hand. Mrs Wright joined them so quickly, Emily guessed that she had been waiting just outside the door. 'Now it's me being the nurse,'she declared cheerfully. 'What am I supposed to do?' 'Er—unwrap Emily, if you would be so kind—just the shawl so that I can listen to her chest. I'm not sure how long she was with Grandmother, but it's pretty cold ...

    7. Heehee Thank you! Now I remember!

      Betty AnoninTX

    8. When she woke up the Professor was sitting on the side of the bed, holding her hand. — Awww, this is sooooo sweeeeet!

  8. Welcome, Betty Librarian46, Emily is truly adorable, isn't she? Hope to hear more from you. And thanks for reminding me that I forgot to "pass judgment" on Mary, whom I like except for one "teency weency" detail...

  9. I have no sympathy for Mary, except where the imprisonment of her husband is concerned.
    How old were the twins when their mother left them with her sisters?
    Let’s do some basic arithmetic on the underside of our uniform skirts.

    The twins are eight months old when the story begins:
    They were both sitting up in their cots, a bouncing eight-month-old and disarmingly beautiful.
    At this point of time, Mary
    , and her husband, should have been home months ago; the twins were to have been left with Emily for three months, no longer, an arrangement which seemed sensible (???) at the time; they were too young to take with her, Mary had decided, ...

    At the end of the three months, Mary had managed to get a message to Emily, begging her to look after the twins for another few months at least and she, looking at them, rapidly growing from small babies to energetic large ones, quite overflowing the small flat close to the big London teaching hospital where she worked, decided that the only thing to do was to move to a small town where she might with luck find a house with a garden. ...

    Emily, giving up a good post in London, had searched desperately for some months until she had found both a large hospital and a home close by. The hospital was one of the new ones, magnificently equipped, destined to take the overspill ...
    Get out your pencils, Bettys:

    'eight-month-old' – 'for three months' = five months

    five months – 'should have been home months ago'/'had searched desperately for some months' (and we don’t know for how long they have lived at their new home on the outskirts of London) = ??? months

    It is impossible to determine the twins exact age at the time of their parents’ departure. Even allowing for a little sloppiness, as far as the time frame is concerned, they cannot have been older than three months, but were possibly younger. Now, I ask you, what woman in her right mind would leave her tiny infants to go traipsing off to the Middle East with her husband unless it was absolutely vital she accompany him. There was no mention of there having been any need for her to go. I am sure the Great Betty would have mentioned it.
    'Sensible' indeed.

    1. I'm with you about Mary. Mijnheer van Voorhees and I have one of those agreements where if a train is hurtling down the tracks and going to kill either him or one of our kids, I am duty-bound to save the child. While no reflection on my love in relation to either party, I and my spouse have responsibilities to a child that are unique to our role as nurturers and protectors of our children. (And I'm not exactly one of those martyr-at-all-costs kinds of mothers...)

      So yeah, I don't know why Mary gets a pass either.

    2. Yikes! Thanks for the closer read than my cheery mental editing. Mary is, indeed, an idiot, and so is her husband, and frankly so is Emily. Or we can pluck our scalpels from the pencil jar on the desk, excise those 'months' and replace them with 'weeks'... and it still doesn't work. Okay, White-Out and a dark pencil: The twins are ten months old. Mary was to have been gone for one week. She got a message to Emily after ten days; Emily made her move to the country six weeks later, and has been living there for eight weeks. Hence, the babies were six months old when left with auntie. Hmph. That still seems a bit young.

      Okay, Mary was to have been gone for a weekend...

      The thing is, Betty wants us to like Mary and George or whatever his name is. Did Betty think it okay for parents to abandon their infant children for months at a time? Or did she ruthlessly sacrifice the time/space/sanity continuum to her plot devising? You know no RDD would leave his babies with a single sister, no servants anywhere, for three months. What were Betty's views on breast-feeding?!?

      I am going to absolve Mary and George of blame, and place it squarely on our author. Great with words, our cherished Mrs. Neels, but a bit iffy on math and logic.

    3. I think that's the key right there. Betty wants us to like them so we do, even though we don't really understand why, or approve of what they've done. We're supposed to dislike Louisa, so we do, because she's obviously careless and cruel.

  10. 'There was no intention of secrecy, Emily-she begged so prettily (throw up in mouth a little) to be taken I hadn't the heart to refuse.' The frown disappeared and he SMILED. 'I didn't want to refuse, anyway.' (Insert long scream of rage here) My blood boils when I read this. I would have dismembered them both with a dull butter knife, right there. He would have heard some beastly English oaths before AND during too.

    Betty von "you wouldn't like me when I'm angry" Susie

    1. 'I hadn't the heart to refuse.' — Huh? Hadn’t the heart? Say what?
      'I didn't want to refuse, anyway.' — Huh? And why not, pray tell? And what exactly is he trying to tell Emily by saying this?
      The Professor must have known Louisa for the vain, calculating little thing she is:
      o She "fell" down in front of his car to meet him.
      o She Seconaled the twins so she could go to a fashion show.
      o In fact, later, in Holland he says to Emily, 'A very pretty girl, your little sister, with a sharp eye to turning things to her advantage, especially men.'
      And yet, the twins have not yet been released from the hospital, and for a special, treat he takes their good-for-nothing-but-looking-pretty infant-drugging aunt out for the evening??? HUH???

      Betty If only I knew how to gnash my teeth Anonymous

  11. I think The Great Betty revealed a lot of her own opinions and prejudices in this book. For instance,

    1. Sometimes work comes first. We might not agree, but I think it's in the British stiff-upper-lip category of incomprehensible life-choices. Add to that...

    2. Family is family. If Mary needs to be with the hubby, then Emily and Louisa need to be with the twins. Non-negotiable.

    3. Pretty is as pretty does. Louisa, the pretty one, gets a pass not because Renier fancies her, but because, well, you know...she's pretty. This is a position that The Great Betty (no stunning beauty herself) wants to skewer with the fireplace poker. So she "makes" Louisa really ugly by having her do something really ugly (the Seconal). She also makes Renier have to take a big slap in the face with the reality fish. (Cod, most likely.)

    4. Real men don't grovel. They buy their wives something nice. This is very old-fashioned thinking and it wouldn't fly in a modern romance. Real men have to suck it up and admit they were wrong. They have to grovel, they have to make it simultaneously clear that they know they deserve to be shot but pray the heroine will forgive them because with her, his life isn't worth living. For The Great Betty, a simple, "I know. I should be shot" without the grovel is sufficient.

    1. ...because without her, his life isn't worth living...

    2. I really second the 'Real men don't grovel' assumption. I think the reason the I love this book is that there is so much mental anguish implied with our hero even though The Great Betty was parsimonious with explicit revelations that he thinks and admits that he's been an idiot.

      I love the scene in the hospital lobby just after he's laid into Emily about doping the twins and Louisa comes in mincing and crying and he dispatches her. There is a pregnant pause (if I recall correctly) that sums up to me the cosmic shift between his viewing Emily as a curiosity (I think that's why he was so willing to be with Louisa--she was pretty, he was bored and the whole cottage-with-twins-and-an-un-pretty-drudge-doing-most-of-the-work set-up interested him in the way that Miss Marple or Colombo might be interested in the particulars of crime) and seeing, for the first time, that he has played a monstrous part in injuring someone who is plainly heroic. I think this is where his professional regard and grudging pity turn into protectiveness and affection.

      But I totally get why some wouldn't read it that way. Like I said, La Neels was skimpy with those things and liked the reader to do some heavy lifting of their own...

    3. I also like, after he puts Louisa in the car, where he just stands outside looking into nothingness. You know he's berating himself for what he's just done (accusing Emily). It's probably not a dawning realization moment, but definitely a looking into yourself and finding yourself lacking kind of moment.

  12. I think Betty just liked winding her readers up. She would probably write these horrendously unfair scenes and chuckle to herself "That will wind them up, hee hee". She knew how to keep her readers tuning back in for the next episode, I mean book.

    Even though her books are so formulaic, I have never been bored reading them (and have read each one multiple times)and was sad when I read the last one. With other writers I read 5-6 of their works and get disgusted by the repetition. How did she do it?

    B von S

  13. Where does the money come from?
    In the beginning, we are told Emily used the money Mary had left for the twins' needs, to house and feed Louisa too.
    And yet, later, I wonder if Louisa already had any money of her own, from her legacy, because in one of those hateful scenes (I can't wait to get to London. We must meet sometimes when you've found yourself somewhere to live. I won't ask you to the flat, I don't think you'd like the girls much—I mean, they're younger than you and two of them are models already.' She got up and went to look at herself in the mirror over the fireplace. ), she says, 'I haven't paid you any housekeeping for last month, have I? I can't spare it, Emily, I simply had to have some shoes I saw—they're black patent and I really need them.' Emily fished around in her handbag. 'That reminds me, here's something towards them.' Two five-pound notes, all she had until she went to the bank and cashed George's cheque. Louisa took them with a careless: 'Oh, thanks—I can always use bread.'

    And don’t you just want to thump Emily-the-Martyr for throwing money after the ingrate?

    1. I think this is the thing that I dislike about Emily. It's more than being a martyr ... it's offering herself to be used as a doormat. It's her laying herself down in front of the door to be walked on. It's like she's completely clueless about how dumb she's being about Louisa. She's almost enabling Louisa to be a mean, selfish person.

      That said, it's still one of my favorite books.

    2. I love that you can't help but love it, Betty Caroline! I agree that Emily just takes it and takes it from her sisters (though I adore that she tends to enjoy shoveling it back at Renier--turning him down for dates, wanting to show off at the ill-fated dance a bit...) which is not awesome but I always took her lending her sister money as a sort of insurance-against-homicidal-Seconal-poisonings-for-the-twins. Evidently a fiver didn't cut it.

  14. I would just like to smack Louisa. (I may have said that before, but I feel it so strongly it bears repeating.)

    BTW, as a side note, because I was curious, I looked up the car the Prof said he had a "1940 Lagonda V-12 Drophead Coupé. (spelled "couppé" in my Kindle copy). Quite a car!

  15. Beautiful car, but surely more than a bit ostentatious by 1979?

    1. Uhuhhhh, "a bit ostentatious". We don't like to think of our RDD/RBDs as show-offs. That's for the younger brothers ... (That's a cliché, isn't it? How many rotten apples were in the barrel, Betty van den Betsy? Making us malign all younger RDD brothers. But you know what I mean.)

      The Professor also owned a modern model of ostentatiousness.

      Winter Wedding, © 1979

      On her way home later, pedalling briskly through the crowded streets, she saw him again, driving a beautiful Jaguar XJ Spider. It was a silver-grey, Italian designed and probably worth a very great deal of money. He lifted a nonchalant hand in greeting as he slid past her which she had to ignore; there was so much traffic ...

      As was explained in an earlier post featuring pictures of both the Lagonda and an Italian designed Jaguar he could not have owned that particular Jaguar XJ Spider as it was never actually produced.

      The Great Betty may have seen the car at the British Motor Show in 1978, or (in the news) on television, or in a magazine.