Saturday, 6 June 2009

Sir George Sitwell

Sir George Sitwell, father of Osbert, Sacheverell and Edith, was a true English eccentric. He did not get on very well with his children, but Osbert's portrait of him in Left Hand, Right Hand, is extremely funny and not unkind. This is a letter (in its entirety) written by Sir George to Osbert: Dearest Osbert, Ye Rector and his attendants were travelling along an ancient ridgeway from Rotherham to Chesterfield, when, hearing cries for assistance, ye Rector was alarmed, and he hurried to the ditch (beneath an hedge of hawthorn, now blooming in palest pink and white over the lace of cow parsley, ragged robin, old man's beard and eglantine) and found ye olde fosse full of groaning villeins, dead and dying. By the side of the road was a yeoman, his stout staff beside him, with his dog lying dead at his feet. Both had passed away of ye Black Death. Even ye swine had caught ye infection! It seemed to ye Rector that the dread spectre was hidden on every hand. Voices from the sky called Beware! Ever, dear boy, your affectionate father, George R. Sitwell.

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