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Monday, April 30, 2012

First Page Mondays: Heat And Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book 'Heat And Dust' by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. 

'Shortly after Olivia went away with the Nawab, Beth Crawford returned from Simla. This was in September 1923. Beth had to go down to Bombay to meet the boat on which her sister Tessie was arriving. Tessie was coming out to spend the cold season with the Crawfords. They had arranged all sorts of visits and expeditions for her, but she stayed mostly in Satipur because of Douglas. They went riding together and played croquet and tennis and she did her best to be good company for him. Not that he had much free time, for he kept himself as busy as ever in the district. He worked like a Trojan and never ceased to be calm and controlled, so that he was very much esteemed both by his colleagues and by the Indians. He was upright and just. Tessie stayed through that cold season, and through the next one as well, and then she sailed for home. A year later Douglas had his home leave and they met again in England. By the time his divorce came through, they were ready to get married. She went out to join him in India and, like her sister Beth, she led a full and happy life there. In course of time she became my grandmother - but of course by then everyone was back in England.

 I don't remember Douglas at all - he died when I was three - but I remember Grandmother Tessie and Great-Aunt Beth very well. They were cheerful women with a sensible and modern outlook on life: but nevertheless, so my parents told me, for years they could not be induced to talk about Olivia. They.....

 - Debolina Raja Gupta