Friday, January 29, 2010

What Ya Readin': Mrs Tim of the Regiment

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson was one of my Christmas books. I had been very excited to hear it had been republished, as early last year I read another D.E. Stevenson book - Miss Buncle's Book which I loved. Besides which, for an officer's wife a book about being an officer's wife held lots of appeal.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs Tim of the Regiment and am hoping the Bloomsbury will republish some others in the series. Though aspects of army life have changed since the 1930s, when the book was published, I was overwhelmed by the timelessness of many of the issues Mrs Tim encounters - my copy of the book is well tagged with post-it notes. And, there are some great lines about army life.....

'One of our dear C.O.'s most popular ideas,' adds the Child, 'Never knew a man to have so many popular ideas'. (p. 22)

'After some preliminary conversation Nora says that she particularly wanted to see me today, because.......she wonders if I can help her with a crossword......-'A word of nine letters meaning "Living in the abode of another",' she says firmly. Suggest 'Officer's wife', but Nora says that is too many letters, and the third must be Q.' (p. 12)

'It is only that you have nothing in common,' I interrupt him breathlessly. 'Guthrie, so listen to me, and believe that I know what I'm talking about - it wouldn't be quite so bad if you could marry and settle down in a home with friends round you, and each have your own interests and amusements, but Service people can't do that. They've got to be pals, making each other do for everything, finding their home, and their friends, and their interests all in each other'. (p. 242)

Actually the book is very similar in tone to the Provincial Lady books, possibly because both are diary form written around the same period. There are some very amusing lines.....

'Am bitterly aware that Tim is one of those men who do not understand clothes or women, but reflect afterwards that perhaps this is just as well in some ways. Men who understand women being sometimes too understanding of women other than their wives.' (p. 29)

'Major M, asks what on earth I am writing, and is informed by Tim that it is my strange custom (since 1st Januray) to record any daily doings in the enormous tome which he now beholds. Tim also volunteers information that the book is kept securely locked and that he doesn't 'think it will last long'. Realise that it is my perseverence he doubts (not the book's durability) and throw a sofa cushion at his head.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this - I loved the first half, and liked the second, but somehow it still took me about four months to read it!