I first read Decline and Fall, the first published novel (in 1928) of Evelyn Waugh, whilst I was around 14 or 15 – 45+ years ago. Of course parts are dated, but reading it again, I’m pleased to report there are some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments. The main character is the impoverished teacher Paul Pennyfeather, who becomes engaged to a rich widow, the Honourable Mrs Margot Beste-Chetwynde. The latter is interviewing young ladies for work in South America – Pennyfeather has no clue as to the nature of the “work” – and we get to this paragraph:
Paul sat in the corner – on a chair made in the shape of an inflated Channel swimmer – enraptured by her business ability. All her vagueness had left her; she sat upright at the table, which was covered with Balmoral tartan, her pen poised over an inkpot, which was set in a stuffed grouse, the very embodiment of the Feminist movement.