By D. J. Taylor
Because the shadows prolong over the June grass, all England is heading for Epsom Downs - excessive lifestyles and coffee lifestyles, society beauties and Whitechapel highway ladies, bookmakers and gypsies, hawkers and acrobats, punters and thieves. complete households circulation alongside the Surrey back-roads, in the direction of the best race of the 12 months. Hopes are excessive, nerves are taut, hats are tossed within the air - this can be Derby Day.
For months humans were ready and plotting for this present day. Even in darkish November, while the wind whistles throughout the foggy London courts, the alehouses and gentlemen's golf equipment echo to the sound of disputed odds. In Belgrave sq. previous Mr Gresham is baffled by means of his tigerish daughter Rebecca, whose intentions he can't fathom. within the golf equipment of St James's rakish Mr Happerton performs billiards together with his crony Captain Raff, whereas in darkest Lincolnshire unhappy Mr Davenant broods over his monetary embarrassments and waits for his daughter's new governess. around the channel the veteran burglar Mr Pardew is packing his luggage to come back, to the consternation of the stalwart detective Captain McTurk. in all places cash jingles and plans are laid. Uniting all of them is the champion horse Tiberius, on whose functionality part a dozen destinies depend.
In this wealthy and exuberant novel, rife with the idioms of Victorian England, the mysteries pile excessive, propelling us in the direction of the day of the good race, and we wait with bated breath because the tale gallops to a end that nobody expects.
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Extra info for Derby Day
She read a lot, chiefly Mill's and Boon's light romances. I don't remember any other books in the cottage, but I do that remember a bright blue carpet in the living room and a profusion of china ornaments. I don't know why suspicion is she wasn't happy with my father; my that she was lonely. She considered herself several cuts above her working-class neighbors, and the few middle-class residents of the village considered themselves several cuts above her. Looking back at Engelsea, and relawas the Great Good Place from which where she had high tions, she saw it status and plenty of friends marriage had exiled her.
It started existence, like most seaside resorts, as a fishing village; most of the fishermen still live on the site of the original village in the Old Quarter east of the town. It would be agreeable to write glowingly of my boyhood by the sea and making friends with the fishermen's children and listening open-mouthed to some old salt's story far of adventure as in the picture of Raleigh's boyhood. But, in fact, I and the only old never talked to a fisherman in salt who was 28 my life, ever observed telling stories JOHN BRAINE / 29 was eventually jailed for tampering with them.
Quarter wasn't Street in fact really turesque, though the narrow streets with their alleys pic- and courtyards did have a certain charm. There were a few owned by fishermen old cottages nearby; they weren't but by retired people. Virtually all the buildings in the fishermen's quarter had been built in the 1850's by one of my ancestors — Martin Knossington—who had, uncharac- teristically for a Knossington, lost most of his profits in speculation. The were of local stone with no attempt at any kind of ornamentation.
Derby Day by D. J. Taylor