Dulltown, UK: Today’s Raymond Chandler quotation is from The High Window (1943):
I looked in the reception room. It was empty of everything except the smell of dust. I threw open another window, unlocked the communicating door and went into the room beyond. Three hard chairs and a swivel chair, flat desk with glass top, five green filing cases, three of them full of nothing, a calendar and a framed licence bond on the wall, a phone, a washbowl in a stained wood cupboard, a hat-rack, a carpet that was just something on the floor, and two open windows with net curtains that puckered in and out like the lips of a toothless old man sleeping.
Hm. 1943… But let’s nip back nine more years, and to the UK, and see what nice middle class people were busying themselves with.
Yes, it’s the Daily Express Enquire Within, another of my musty old cracked spine junk shop books. Here is a photograph of the title page – what do you think of the emblem dear reader?
This is a book of very useful information: cookery tips, legal stuff, words of wisdom, advice on how to deal with your servants, that sort of thing… Across the top of each page there is a homily or an uplifting proverb to keep you going as you thumb through – I will include these in today’s random selection:
Page 43. (Work, wives, in the house: work, men, out of it.)
Boiled turnip radishes.- Boil in plenty of salted water, and in about twenty-five minutes they will be tender; drain well and send them to the table with melted butter. Common radishes, when young, tied in bunches, boiled for twenty minutes and served on toast are excellent.
Page 168. (A waiting appetite kindles many a spite.)
Rules of Cribbage.
xiv. A player may not, except to “peg him” touch his adversary’s pegs, under penalty of two points. If the foremost peg has been displaced by accident, it must be placed in the hole behind the peg standing on the board.
xv. The peg once holed cannot be removed by either player till another point or points be gained.
Page 425. (Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.)
Trefoil Tatting.- This is done by drawing three loops up tightly, close together, and then leaving a short space before making more. The trefoil is sewed into shape afterwards with a needle.
Page 459. (Appetite comes with eating.)
Obtainable from Local Post Office.
Armorial bearings: One pound one shilling.
Ditto, if used on carriage: Two pounds two shillings.
Dog: Seven shillings and sixpence.
Male servant: Fifteen shillings.
Page 107. (Eggs badly boiled are good things spoiled.)
Coffee Milk (For the sick-room.)
Boil a dessertspoonful of ground coffee in nearly a pint of milk a quarter of an hour, then put into it a shaving of isinglass, and clear it; let it boil a few minutes and set it by the fire to clarify. This is a very fine breakfast beverage; but it should be sweetened with a sugar of good quality.
Page 415. (Morning for work, evening for contemplation.)
To clean Japanned waiters, urns &c.
Rub on with a sponge a little white soap and some lukewarm water, and wash the waiter or urn quite clean. Wipe dry, sprinkle with dry flour, leave for a little, and then dust off and polish. White heat marks on waiters are difficult to move; but rubbing them with a flannel dipped in sweet oil, and afterwards in spirits of wine my be tried.