The mind of Waugh the writer was stimulated at Madresfield. He not only drank in the medievalism of the house, but also savoured his encounters with the aristocracy, studying their habits and developing 'perfect pitch' in describing their jargon. He was fascinated to learn that his friend's father, the 7th Earl, considered it middle class not to decant champagne into jugs; how effectively nicknames and idiosyncratic jargon could exclude an outsider; how scruffily dressed the aristocrat could be at home. With his ear for dialogue and his eye for mannerisms, Waugh absorbed them well enough to be able to reproduce them faultlessly - even reverentially - in his novels.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
An interesting article on the background to Waugh's Marchmain House.