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Although enhanced by the skilled, insightful, sometimes scurrilous, illustrations of Frank C. Papé, ‘Something About Eve – A comedy of Fig Leaves’ is not my favourite work of James Branch Cabell. I finished reading it yesterday evening.
I found it rather heavy going. The crossword setter in me was amused by the anagrams of the lands visited by our main protagonist in his journey from naive youth to mature age. These are Caer Omn (Romance), through Dersam (Dreams) and Lytreia (work it out for yourself) to Mispec Moor, where Compromise snags his search for the promised land. Eve comes in many forms, tempting and not so delightful. Gerald Musgrave tries them all in his sometimes thwarted efforts at copulation.
Finally, the book had not engaged me.
As usual the illustrations in this Bodley Head edition consist of tipped in plates, headers, end pieces, and vignettes among the text.
The golden engravings on the cover and the end-papers some up the essences of the tale.
I have chosen to present the frontispiece as it stands behind the protective tissue that covers each of these plates, the last of which shows our rake as a young man encountering his older self.
Here are one header and an end piece.
This morning Elizabeth drove us over to Mum’s, where we spent much of the day gardening. Jackie pruned needy shrubs, weeded rampant beds, and cleared the lawn edges, which, with a spade, I relined; Elizabeth cut the grass and tidied more edges.
After this, we repaired to The Wallhampton Arms where we partook of their excellent carvery. Jackie drank Amsrell, Elizabeth, Peroni and I, Flacks bitter.