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An abominable dancer

‘An abominable dancer, as I say,’ d’Aurigny said. ‘I lay no claim to excellence myself, but I promise you I am doing you a favour by exchanging for him.’

She stared at him, feeling her face go white.

‘You do me no favours of any kind, sir. There is only one you can do, which is to grant me freedom from your company.

Sarnia Cherie

‘Sarnia Cherie’, the anthem of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, was composed by George Deighton and Domenico Santangelo in 1911: Sarnia; dear Homeland, Gem of the sea. Island of beauty, my heart longs for thee. Thy...

First sight of the island

Sarnia went up on deck with the Jelains and stared about her. The morning was blue and still, the sea a deeper blue, with only the gentlest of swells on which the mail packet rocked,...

A woman’s place

‘The position of women in our society is a thing that troubles me deeply. For all the progress we have made and are making, for all the advancements of science, there are respects in which...

A capital idea

On Thursday, when Michael took Sarnia to luncheon, he said: ‘I have a capital idea for next Sunday. We will take the train to Brighton, and bathe in the sea.’ ‘I am afraid I cannot.’...

Chop House

They went to Stone’s Chop House in Holborn, and sat at a table at the rear. The place was full of its usual mid-day bustle of activity: waiters jostling down the narrow aisle with plates...

Not a true lady

It was Sarnia’s habit to cross the road by the entrance to Chancery Lane, where the sweeper was Gimpy Jimmy. He was a tall thin white-haired man who had left a leg in Spain, fighting under the Duke’s command. He would never accept a coin from her, and she had ceased to urge it on him. He was puzzled, she knew, by the fact that, although a lady in appearance, she went to work. He himself was not in need of money. The position was a good one, and he had lived frugally and saved over the years.


Hilary Ford on the genesis of Sarnia: I envisaged a woman of the late nineteenth century marrying into this milieu, finding it unendurable and fleeing back with her child to the more ordinary hazards of...