TEMPORARY KINGS




Yesterday, Evelyn read
Temporary Kings, dividing the day so as best to savour its six sections. Today he is going to go through it again and make notes. The whole point of reading is to enable re-reading. What a deceptive cover though; looks more like Moscow in winter than Venice in summer.

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Cover of Heinemann edition of Temporary Kings, 1973

Castle Howard doesn't look much like Venice either. At one time there had been forty paintings of the city adorning its walls, many by Canaletto. But these had been sold at the end of the 19th Century, or destroyed in the fire, or sold in the big clear-out of 1944, and now there are just three. Evelyn doesn't particularly like any of them, preferring the grey pictures of Venice made by his old friend, Lord Berners. Nevertheless Evelyn walks the quiet corridors until he has a view of the three remaining pictures.

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Interior, Castle Howard

Actually, these three are quite grey as well. Gerald Berners would be in his element here. Clinking glasses with Quennell and Cyril. Ah well, he has missed his chance. Of course, in the Dance, it was the Quennell-based character, Mark Members, that persuaded Nick Jenkins to take a break from his novel-writing and enjoy the luxuries on offer at the conference in Venice. "Be a temporary king!" Members said.

'The smell of Venice suffused the night, lacustrine essences richly distilled.' Evelyn reckons that first sentence of Tony's novel would have been worthy of the Venetian section of Brideshead.

Temporary Kings came out in 1973, seven years after Evelyn's own death, written by a Tony Powell in his late sixties. Henry Yorke had stopped writing when he was about fifty. Evelyn had managed to write until he was about sixty. Why had Tony proven to have so much more stamina? Having a certain kind of woman behind him must have helped. Violet was a powerhouse, who took an enthusiastic interest in her husband's work. The same could not be said of either Dig or Laura.

Then Evelyn remembers that Graham Greene had also lasted the course. In short, Henry and Evelyn were also-rans, while Tony and Graham powered on towards the finishing line. Is Graham still in residence at Castle Howard? Evelyn doesn't think so. He doesn't think anybody is. Will Tony yet turn up? He just might. But for the moment, Evelyn is pretty sure he has the house to himself.

Temporary Kings is set in the late 1950s, ten years on from Books Do Furnish a Room. In other words, a much larger gap between books than hitherto in the series. Time is speeding up. And we know what happens, in human terms, when time speeds up. People slow down. They get old and drop dead. But, no, this novel, although touching on death, is not about death. Perhaps the last book in the series would be. Evelyn has not read that yet. If nothing else, he is going about his reading systematically.

Thanks to Mark Members, Nick Jenkins was in Venice to attend a literary conference. Just as Tony Powell had attended such a conference in 1958, which he had found nonsensical and boring. Which was how Evelyn had found a conference in Spain in 1947, which he had written up as the slight novel,
Scott King's Modern Europe. Slight in comparison with Temporary Kings, that's to say. Temporary Kings is a marvellous book, full of ideas explored with the restrained relish of a disciplined intellect.

In part one, Nick meets the American academic, Russell Gwinnett, who is described as follows.
'In fact he was almost impossible to engage, drying up entirely, altogether lacking in that reserve of light, reasonably well-informed social equipment, on the whole more characteristic of American than British academic life. This lapse into a torpid, almost surly reluctance to co-operate conversationally suggested an American version of the least flexible type of British don, that quiet egotism, self-applauding narrowness of vision, sometimes less than acceptable, even when buttressed with verified references and forward-looking views.' That paragraph burbles on, Evelyn loving every precise and insightful clause.

Gwinnett - who, rumour has it, has a death fixation - intends to write a biography of X. Trapnel, who has been dead for several years. He thinks it essential that he meets Pamela Widmerpool and Nick determines to help him with this, if he can, having come round to liking Gwinnett, despite his lack of small talk and an aura of brooding perversion.

The pair get talking to a Doctor Emily Brightman, who is also attending the conference, and whose conversation sparkles with learning and wit. They learn from a newspaper report about the death of a French author called Ferrand-Senesschal who had recently become an unlikely friend of Widmerpool. The latter had lost his Labour seat in the Commons in 1955, but had moved on to the House of Lords, thanks to a life peerage. The report suggested that Pamela Widmerpool had been in bed with the Frenchman when he died.

Evelyn has enjoyed his walk. But he is glad to be back in his room with
Temporary Kings in his hands again. He urgently needs to remind himself what happens in the second part, which he intends to browse at speed.

Nick Jenkins goes to Bragadin Palace with Russell Gwinnett, and they discuss a man who is a house-guest there, the American publisher turned film-maker, Louis Glober, who Nick knew from the early thirties in London. In particular he remembers organising the purchase of an Augustus John drawing for him. At the palace, an excited Emily Brightman takes Nick through to see the Tiepolo ceiling before the rest of the party. There they find Louis Glober and Pamela lying on the floor, looking up at the painted ceiling.

Evelyn puts down the book and dips into others, dotted around his room. In August 1958, it was a multimillionaire who showed Tony and fellow delegates around his elaborately restored Palazzo Labia, a baroque building with a vast, high-ceilinged ballroom frescoed by Tiepolo. Yes, Tiepolo, like Augustus John, was a real painter.

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Ballroom, Palazzo Labia

Nick and Pamela speak, guardedly, and Nick reminds Glober that they have met. In due course, the four front-runners are joined by the rest of the party, including Gwinnett. Gwinnett and Glober are too very different Americans, but Nick admires them both.

The mural is described in detail, as well as interpreted symbolically. As an actual image, Evelyn only has access to the Tiepolo that Tony saw in 1958, not the one he fictionalised in 1973. A mural not so different from the one on the inside of Castle Howard's grand dome. However, this is the one to be found still in Venice:

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Palazzo Labia, Venice. Tiepolo mural

For plot reasons, Tony's Tiepolo had to be very different from the real thing. Evelyn describes it to himself as follows. A king is waiting for his beautiful queen, who is naked. In the background there is another male figure, a voyeur. He is there at the invitation of the king, so that he can see how beautiful his queen is, and how enthusiastically she makes love.

Clever Emily Brightman does much of the describing of the mural for the others. Pamela seems mesmerised by it. All of the characters in the wonderful scene are described meticulously. Pamela is described as follows:

'She stood legs thrust apart, staring upward. White trousers, thin as gauze, stitched tightly across elegantly compact small haunches, challengingly exhibited, yet neatly formed; hard pointed breasts, no less contentious and smally compassed, under a shirt patterned in crimson and peacock blue, stuck out like delicately shaped bosses of a shield. These colours might have been expressly designed - by dissonance as much as harmony - for juxtaposition against those coming down in brilliant rays of light from the Tiepolo; subtle yet penetrating pinks and greys, light blue turning almost to lavender, rich saffrons and cinnamons melting into bronze and gold. Pamela's own tints hinted that she herself, only a moment before, had floated down out of those cloudy vertical perspectives, perhaps compelled to do so by the artist himself, displeased that the crimson and peacock shades struck too extravagant a note, one that disturbed rather than enriched the composition, which, for all its splendour, remained somehow tenebrous too. If so, reminder of her own expulsion from the scene, as she contemplated it again, increasingly enraged her.'

Evelyn strongly suspects that Mark Boxer, the artist for the cover of various paperback versions of
Temporary Kings from the mid-seventies, was indebted to this last paragraph for his cover drawing, if in a subtle way, and even if he was also thinking of a later scene in the book as well.

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Cover of Fontana edition of Temporary Kings, 1977

"Expelled from Heaven, Pam?"

"Aren't we all, Evelyn?"

Evelyn is aware that Pamela Widmerpool (born Flitton), was based on Barbra Skelton (implying Flitton), lover of Peter Quennell before becoming the second wife of Cyril Connolly. Famous for being very much her own woman, uncontrollable by any man, of whom there were many in her life. In 1987 she published a memoir, which brought many admirers, including Tony, even though it was obviously written at speed and with no regard for literary niceties, or, Evelyn would suggest, social norms.

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Tony comments in his Journal of 1987: 'Reviewed Barbara Skelton's Tears Before Bedtime, Memoir/Diary of her career until 1953, that is before she left Cyril Connolly as husband to marry George (Lord) Weidenfield. She puts down what happens with a good deal of ability, complete disregard for what anyone might think of her. Result extremely lively. Makes no bones about causing trouble for its own sake, indeed resemblance to Pamela Flitton could hardly be more emphasised. Cyril's similar taste for conflict met its match when they lived together, in due course married. Her account of Cyril lying in bed chewing the sheets vivid to a degree. I shall be interested to see how the book is received. She is fairly rude about Peter Quennell (who passed her on to Cyril, after apparently sharing her with several others at the same time during the war). There will probably be a chorus of shocked horror on the part of reviewers, amongst whom Quennell might easily figure.'

This encourages Evelyn to delve into the book. Here is the scene concerning Cyril and the sheets:

November 23, 1951
'This morning I woke to be told, "Why don't you drop down dead? That's all I wish, that you'd drop down dead." He was lying half-naked on the bed. "Is there anything you want?" "That you will drop down dead." Writs arrive by almost every post. The Waugh article has been abandoned. C. Just potters about the house in carpet slippers dusting his first editions and cluttering up the tables with cracked Sèvres and chipped faience.'

Evelyn soon gets absorbed in the strongly feminine text:

September 5, 1952
'This morning I go into Cyril's room with a cup of tea and see a fresh packet of biscuits lying beside the bed. A secret eater! "I shall be having a charcoal grill up here next," he says, very pleased with himself. He has invented four categories of fart. The 'dry goose', 'wet goose', 'chicken fart' and 'phosgene'; we remark on how frequently we both fart and put it down to boredom. "Do you think other people fart as much as us?" I ask. C. Says no.

Evelyn's antennae are out when he comes to this entry:

November 1952
'Ann Fleming has Joan and Paddy Leigh Fermor, the Duff Coopers and Evelyn Waugh to stay. She rings up and suggests to Cyril they come over for tea. After getting his silver teapot out of pawn especially for the occasion, Cyril spends all afternoon arranging the table. It is a cold and bleak day, almost dark when they get here. Waugh dressed in a black and white check suit. He has a check waistcoat and cap to match, and a ginger tweed overcoat, a flabby bulging stomach and a small aggressive gingerbread moustache. "Is she carnivorous?" He asks me, having heard that Kupy is a penis-eater. Kupy is cold and refuses to come out of her hut. Waugh removes his cap and coat. Lucian is discussed as usual. Waugh pulls a face. Peter Watson is mentioned. Waugh pulls a face again. He tries to be pleasant to me, looking down at my shabby grey checks and saying, "You have trousers like mine." "Mine are baggier," I reply, returning the amiability. As Paddy is leaving, he says, "Isn't Kupy lonely out there?" "Well, aren't we all?" I say. A few days later reports of the visit drift back. They were all disappointed (a) because they had expected our surroundings to have been more squalid (b) because Kupy had not come out of her hut and bitten someone's penis and (c) because I had not been thoroughly rude to everyone. But Waugh said he had enjoyed his tea, the new bread, the farm butter, the bought but home-made honey and the China tea out of the fluted silver teapot, though he had hoped to find me more exotic, a glamorous 'Lady of the Town' so to speak.'

Reading these entries, Evelyn realises how vastly he had underestimated this woman. And that Tony had spotted something that Evelyn hadn't. Oddly enough, Tony does not crop up in the book's index. Evelyn makes a note to read Tears Before Bedtime from start to finish. For the moment. a further entry from Tony's Journals of 1987 comes to mind. Apparently, Max Hastings asked him if Barbara Skelton had been the model for Pamela Flitton. 'I replied with guarded affirmative, adding I did not want a statement to that effect to appear in DT gossip column.'

This is intriguingly followed by Tony writing: 'At some stage after one of the Dance volumes, Barbara wrote: "Dear Tony, I am suing naturally, in the meantime can you advise me a good publisher for my new novel." I sent her to Roland Gant, but negotiations did not result in anything. I think this must have been the book eventually published by Alan Ross.'

Evelyn felt it would be interesting to work out when Barbara - mentioning suing, however ironically - had written to Tony. Her first novel, A Young Girl's Touch was published by Weidenfield and Nicholson, thanks to her second husband George Weidenfield, in 1956. Her second novel, A Love Match, was published in 1969 by Alan Ross, though it had to be withdrawn soon after because of legal difficulties of its own. This would suggest that Barbara's letter to Tony was following The Military Philosophers (1968) as she doesn't feature in The Soldier's Art (1966). And, yes, she plays a wrecking-ball role in The Military Philosophers: the loose cannon that she remains for the subsequent two books as well.

Barbara Skelton is quoted by William Stadium in
Too Rich: The High Life and Tragic Death of King Farouk, as saying about the ruler of Egypt: 'He wasn't a good lover at all, though he did kiss rather nicely. The sex was quick. He got a very quick erection. He lay on his back and I got on top of him. It gave me no pleasure whatsoever.' Skelton described Farouk as having an abnormally small penis, saying: 'It was tiny, but it did get hard, and he adored having it sucked. You know, he made jokes about absolutely everything, about his starting to get fat and losing his hair, about the British treating him so shabbily, but he never, ever joked about the size of his penis. Never.'

So the uniquely outrageous voice of Barbara Skelton goes around Evelyn's head, as he walks round his sumptuous room, as he dips in and out of the pages of reference books.

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Palazzo Labia. Tiepolo mural

Still in part two of Temporary Kings, under the Tiepolo ceiling, Widmerpool arrives on the scene wishing to have a private audience with his wife. Not granted. Instead Pamela mocks him, suggestively. Pages later, he reveals that his mother has died and he has missed her funeral in Scotland. How does Widmerpool put it? 'I couldn't be in Kirkcudbrightshire and Venice at the same time, and, little as I like the place, I had to come to Venice.' Evelyn enjoys the deadpan humour as much as the devastating admission.

Pamela seems intrigued by Gwinnett and is in favour of his proposed biography of Trapnel. But Glober is her currently intended lover and things will have to be negotiated. Perhaps the biography can be filmed by Glober, with Pamela starring as herself. A promising meeting then, promising further meetings.

In part three, Nick visits an old colleague in publishing, Dan Tokenhouse, now a socialist, and an amateur - if committed - painter. He lives in an obscure part of Venice. Not an easy man to compliment on his work.

"The browns, greys and blacks seem to create an effective recession,"

"Ah, you have misunderstood me. Having, so to speak, forged ahead politically myself, it is easy to forget other people remain content with old notions of painting, formalistic ones. I meant, of course, that it is not always plain sailing so far as political values are concerned. I am no longer interested in such purely technical achievements as correct recession, so called, or making a kind of pattern"

"Still, incorrect recession can surely play havoc - unless of course, deliberate distortion is in question. Was your change of technique gradual?"

Tokenhouse gave a restive intake of breath to show how wildly he had been misunderstood."


Evelyn smiles, thinking again of Lord Berners. Though dear old Gerald's politics were not at all similar to Tokenhouse's.

After the private view, as it were, they go together to see the official Bienalle. There they bump into Ada Leintwardine (who features in earlier books, working for Quiggin [Connolly] and Craggs) and Louis Glober. Glober suggests they lunch together and Tokenhouse - unused to wine at that time of day - talks compulsively. Glober then arranges to buy one of his paintings, though Widmerpool's turning up nearly scuppers that…Actually, a lot of characters come and go as the day wears on, Evelyn feels it's easier to cut to the chase rather than to go into the details.

So…Nick and Gwinnett dine together in the evening, then go for coffee at Florian's - an establishment mentioned in the Venice section of
Brideshead - where Pamela catches up with them. Pamela, who, at a previous meeting, grasped Gwinnett by the balls, again tries to put pressure on the American academic to obey her wishes. She wants a particular notebook and she wants Gwinnett to go about his job of writing up Trapnel's life in a way that suits her. Pam's handbag ends up being cast by herself into the lagoon, echoing the fate of Trapnel's novel and his death-head stick. End of part three. Two-thirds of the way through Temporary Kings. What next? Evelyn feels every bit as excited as the day before, when he'd read the compulsively readable novel for the first time.

Part four takes place in England. Several months have passed. It becomes obvious that Tony is still basing Nick Jenkins on his own life, Tony and his wife, Violet, moved out of London to The Chantry in Somerset in 1952, so this is the first book in the
Dance that means Nick has to come up to London for the day in order to meet people. He meets Gwinnett and is told of the strange goings on that took place when Gwinnett lodged with the Bagshaw family in order to replicate part of Trapnel's former existence. Pamela was found standing naked in the house one night in ambiguous circumstances. The scandal meant that Gwinnett felt obliged to change lodgings. Meanwhile, Widmerpool has been accused of spying (for an Eastern European country) and there is a scandal brewing about that, explaining his harassed behaviour in Venice.

To celebrate whizzing through part four of the novel in a couple of minutes, Evelyn lights himself a cigar. Things get dense again in part five so he needs to be ready for that. In fact, he needs to take a break. The last letter that Evelyn, in his former life, wrote to the Powells, was addressed to Violet. It thanks her for - after a chance meeting on the train from London to Somerset - insisting that he spend the night at the Chantry.
'It was the first time I had really taken in all you have done at the Chantry and the charming furniture and pictures. I do congratulate you.'

Evelyn has now learned - thanks to Tony's biographer, Hilary Spurling - that from exactly this moment, Tony began to make an extraordinary art installation in the basement of the Chantry. The photographs suggest that it was a major aesthetic achievement in itself. No wonder that Tony dwelt on the lives of artists as well as writers in his Dance. He had the sensibilities of one.

This is a 360-degree view of the boiler-room basement. Evelyn understands it to be completely covered by coloured figures cut from greetings cards and from colour magazines.

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© Copyright Hugh Gilbert, 2016

Apparently, in late 1964, Tony was working on
The Soldier's Art - the eighth book in the Dance, set in 1941 - in the morning, and he would work on the boiler-room collage in the afternoon, covering walls, pipework, doors and ceiling. What was Evelyn doing by this time at Combe Florey, within relatively easy visiting distance? He was longing for death. True, he had cut up illustrations from a volume of Canova in order to make illustrations for Love Among the Ruins, but that had been in 1953.

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© Copyright Hugh Gilbert, 2016

By 1965, trouble with his teeth meant that Evelyn had difficulty eating. His own daily domestic life revolved around drinking gin and completing the Times crossword. Just as it was the Sunday Times's newly launched colour supplement that supplied most of the raw material for Tony's collage.

It is said that Tony worked on the collage for decades. So it seems reasonable that he was working on it in 1972, when writing Temporary Kings. The ceiling is as densely covered as the other surfaces. Would that be Pamela Widmerpool up there on the right? Or on the left, but the wrong way round? Why not? And what's that in the bottom left corner? Tiepolo anyone?

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© Copyright Hugh Gilbert, 2016

Indeed what a place to both rest the mind and to inspire the mind's eye. After a few minutes, Evelyn feels he has got himself into the right mood for plunging back into Temporary Kings.

Part five. A musical evening, for charity, in a large house beside Regent's Park. Nick and Isobel are there, as are a great many characters that the readers of Tony's
Dance have come to know. The Widmerpools are there, he having been let off the hook re the alleged spying. After the show, the Widmerpools' car doesn't show up, so they join Glober's group. Glober is with his new, young, leading lady and Pamela speaks outrageously to the group of Glober's habit of collecting 'pussy' hair from those women he's 'stuffed'. She goes on to reveal to everyone that Widmerpool was in the room when the French author died while making love to Pamela. That was how her husband got his rocks off. Then she goes on to explain why her husband has got off the hook re the espionage charges.

Nick and Isobel have gone home in a taxi by this time, so Nick has to rely on the recollections of onlookers in describing what happened next. Widmerpool, driven mad by the cumulative impact of Pam's revelations, either puts his hand on her arm or around her throat. A man intervenes, who Widmerpool takes to be Glober. Widmerpool says something to him which caused Glober to punch him in the face. Not for the first time, Widmerpool's glasses come a cropper. At this point, the limo turns up and Widmerpool is bundled into it.

Evelyn reflects that this scene goes some way to explaining Pamela's fascination with the Tiepolo ceiling in Venice. One man allowing another man sight of his wife for his own sexual satisfaction. Widmerpool is a peeping Tom. The scene also makes it clear that Pamela's behaviour has now moved beyond what she can possibly get away with in society. Indeed at the end of it, Pam walks off saying that she will never see any of those in attendance again.

Part six is short. Evelyn has just re-read it at speed. Again Nick has to rely on what he is told by third party, in this case a letter from Gwinnett who has put his Trapnel biography on hold in the light of a tragic development. Pamela took a lethal dose of pills and then had sex with Gwinnett in his hotel, having at last tracked him down. Did Gwinnett know her state of imminent dying before having sex with her? Nick concludes that he must have done. Pamela had used his fascination with death as a way of getting what she wanted. But what had she wanted? Trapnel had said that, as a lover, Pamela was frigid, but that nevertheless she constantly wanted to have sex. A terrible combination that tormented both Pamela and any partner of hers. Perhaps by this stage, getting nothing in the way of satisfaction from her life, she simply wanted oblivion.

It's Widmerpool himself that principally fascinates Evelyn. The final scene in the book has Glober taking part in a vintage car rally near parliament. Coincidentally, Nick and Widmerpool independently observe him and each other. Widmerpool is not in a good state of mind, but he still has his seat in the Lords. He has lost his wife, but he still has a will to live himself. After talking in a Widmerpoolish way about British justice, he changes the subject by saying: "The squalor - the squalor of that hotel." Nick says nothing in reply. "The sheer ingratitude," says Widmerpool, which can be presumed to be a self-serving comment about poor Pam's behaviour.

Evelyn wonder at what stage in Widmerpool's life he began to obsess over letting other people have sex with his wife. Perhaps the masochistic urge had been there from the start. There is a scene in
A Question of Upbringing where Widmerpool seems to get pleasure from being hit in the face with a banana, if only because it had been thrown at him by a boy of high status.

In Evelyn's own case, an obsession with being cuckolded may have begun with John Heygate's relationship with She-Evelyn. In 1936, Heygate had written him a letter apologising for what he'd done. Evelyn had replied 'OK E.W.' But it hadn't been OK, not by a long chalk.

In 1938, in
a letter sent to Evelyn by Joyce Gill, his lover from the early thirties, she says:

'I do what you suggested and what - in my foolishness - I thought almost a crime. I think of you all the time when I am making love, until the word and Evelyn are almost synonymous!'

Now why had Evelyn suggested that to Joyce? He knows why. Because after 1929, whenever he was in bed with a woman, he couldn't help but imagine Heygate making love to her the whole time. While he stood by, watching. Until the word sex and Heygate were almost synonymous. Indeed, when Evelyn had been making love to Joyce, he had been visualising Heygate thrusting into her. While he watched from the side, masturbating.

Evelyn recalls his major work, the trilogy called Sword of Honour. Before
Men at Arms begins, Guy Crouchback had lost his wife, Virginia, when she'd declared that she'd fallen in love with another man. In Unconditional Surrender, Guy marries Virginia again, by which time she is pregnant with another man's child, a man who Guy Crouchback has absolutely no respect for. The child is christened 'Gervase', which has a 'Heygate' ring to it. Guy marries again, as Evelyn had done. His second wife, Domenica, has children with Guy, but it is Gervase who will inherit everything.

Actually, following letters of complaint from both Nancy Mitford and Tony Powell, Evelyn changed this aspect of the book. Domenica and Guy had no children of their own in the revised version, published as the single volume,
Sword of Honour. This made it crystal clear that the future belonged to Gervase. Not Guy' own non-existent offspring.

That bitter - though unconditionally accepting - ending was first written in 1961. The crucial, life-changing event that led to its construction, happened in 1929. Evelyn reflects about the ageing process. A man in his twenties, cut down in battle - end of story. But more commonly, if the defeat is a social - or psycho-sexual - one, the death is lingering. Evelyn only has to look at a photograph of himself as he was, aged sixty, to see a dead man walking. A dead man staggering to the music of time.

One book left to read in Tony's
Dance. Evelyn has no idea what is going to happen in it, except Widmerpool is going to die. Surely, he is. Evelyn realises that much.

He would read it tomorrow. Yes, Evelyn is going to enjoy one more day in this Castle Howard paradise.

Champagne? None left, not for days now, or was it weeks? Gin, then. See it glug-glug gloomily into the glass.

A toast? Why not? "
To Tony in the boiler-house at The Chantry. May your supple wrist guide your pen, smoothly, one more time."

That was hyperbole. For
a start, Tony didn't write in the basement of his house. Also, after twenty-five years of writing his Dance, Tony published the last volume in 1975. He would live another twenty-five years, writing two more novels, four volumes of memoirs and ten years of Journals covering his 77th to 87th years. Evelyn has to accept that Tony must have wanted to live that long. He was 94 when he died.

Penultimate words to Anthony Powell, then. Written in March of 1991, when he was 85 or 86.

'An extraordinary aspect of Evelyn revealed by the Diary is how soon he began to become an old man, in fact in his late forties, worn out by his sixties. This ageing, like his social transmogrification, seems to some extent to have been brought about by himself taking thought.'

Evelyn looks up a word. Transmogrification. 'To change or alter greatly, often with grotesque or humorous effect.'

A smile cracks Evelyn's crusty old-young face.

******************************************************************


Last chapter awaits
here.


Notes

1. More info about the Chantry's boiler-room collage, and a superbly detailed all-round view can be found here at the
Anthony Powell Society site

2. Thanks to Jeff Manley for keeping me right in respect of Barbara Skelton's timeline and Guy Crouchback's offspring.