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Inclinations
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Miss O'Brookomore became evasive. "I want you to repress yourself a little for a few days. Be more discreet." "Because ----" "Professor and Mrs. Cowsend have the rooms next ours..." "Buz! Let them!" "Also, the Arbanels are here on their honeymoon....You never saw such ghosts on their rambles." "Who is Mr. Arbanel?" "He's very blase." Miss Collins clasped her hands. "I'd give almost anything to be blase." Young Mabel Collins, naively wily-wise before her very tender years, daughter of a dreaded and dull Yorkshire estate, needs experience - needs to get out into the world. At her first soiree, she is introduced to the renowned eccentric biographer Geraldine O'Brookomore, who is just about to start out for Greece on the trail of her latest quarry, the romantic early traveller Catherine "Kitty" Kettler. It is decided that Mabel will be the perfect companion for her trip. Ronald Firbank's wildly accentuated style, brimful of strange exclamations and bursts of hilariously intense conversation, takes us with them as they move around the famous Greek landscape, meeting along the way many English and European expatriates with equally striking preoccupations and attitudes: "I heard the flowers scream as I picked them!" Mrs. Erso-Ennis was saying as she scattered a shower of blossoms upon the floor. Their whole escapade cannot help but be eventful: Across a vivid, a perfectly pirate sea, Salamis showed shimmering in the sun. Miss Arne held out arms towards it. "It's like a happy ending!" she breathed. There will be no such happy ending for their friend, the actress Miss Arne. Salamis' sea will be a witness to....what? An accident? A murder? Mabel, though, has something else on her mind: the dashing Count Pastorelli, disapproved of heartily by Geraldine, has been pursuing her... This, Firbank's second novel, with its hints of the Sapphic and the scandalous, was first published in 1916. The Glasgow Herald's reviewer said "Mr. Ronald Firbank's fiction bears a strong resemblance to the work of the Futurists in painting." He certainly was, in the oddness of his depiction and in his stripping-down of narrative and conversation to their bizarre bare bones, a master of the avant-garde well before his time. This edition includes an extra chapter, written much later in 1925.
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