The first time they met, though they didn't know it, for they were unconscious of each other, was at The Immortal Hour, then playing to almost empty houses away at King's Cross; but they both went so often, and the audience at that time was so conspicuous because there was so little of it and so much room to put it in, that quite soon people who went frequently got to know each other by sight, and felt friendly and inclined to nod and smile, and this happened too to Christopher and Catherine.
When Michael Frere came to see Elizabeth about her autobiography All the Dogs of My Life she found him 'such a boring little man. But it is because we are all growing old, and the bones of our inadequate minds come through the flesh that hid them.' (Introduction)
When he went there she was five and he was thirty-four. Dear little child; he played with her. Presently she was fifteen, and he was forty-four. Sweet little maid; he prepared her for confirmation. Again presently she was eighteen, and he was forty-seven. Touching young bud of womanhood; he proposed to her.
It was quite unconscious, but as the weeks passed it became natural to love with fewer preliminary cooings - to bill, as it were, without remembering first to coo. (Introduction)
From the book jacket: Catherine becomes aware of Christopher on her fifth visit to "The Immortal Hour", playing to empty houses at King's Cross. It is his thirty-second. He is a glorious young man with flame-coloured hair. She is the sweetest little thing in a hat. Some performances later, they are sitting side by side and all seems set for the perfect romance -- but for the small matter of age. Chris is in the first flush of manhood and Catherine is just a little bit older. For a woman in her forties, with marriage and motherhood behind her, the notion of being thought younger than her years adds an extra thrill to courtship. But there are unforeseen obstacles to such pleasures... Beneath the humour of this engaging novel, originally published in 1925, lies a sharper note, as Elizabeth Von Arnim uncovers the hypocrisy of society and the codes it forces women to ascribe to in the name of 'love'.
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A gentle romance begins innocently enough in the stalls of a London theatre where Catherine is enhoying her ninth and Christopher his thirty-sixth visit to the same play. He is a magnificent young man with flame-coloured hair. She is the sweetiest little thing in a hat. There is just one complication: Christopher is twenty-five, while Catherine is just a little bit older. Flattered by the passionate attentions of youth, Catherine, with marriage and motherhood behind her, is at first circumspect, but finally succumbs to her lover's charms - container.… (more)