Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Those Dry & Witty Stracheys

One of the great, great pleasures of editing--gleaning great quotations from the reviews one edits. My favorite in a long time is this, from my friend Jay's review of a biography of the Strachey family (Lytton was the most famous brother, a great friend of Woolf and author of the terrific Eminent Victorians). Lytton's sister Pernel describes to her elder sister Pippa of a typical Newnham College nightly ritual:
I have got to go to a hideous entertainment called a cocoa; you are given one spoonful of powdery cocoa and one spoonful of ‘cow’ that is condensed milk. These you mix together in a cup of milk till they look like mud; boiling water is then poured on, the next process being to try and drink it. Weird cakes are also passed around. At 10 o’clock at night this depresses me somewhat.

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