18 December 2020

Wives and Mistresses

Which fictional character irritated his sister-in-law by wishing his wife to contiue to use her Maiden Name, because, so he claimed,  it would give him "the illusion that one has a Mistress as well as a Wife, which is obviously gratifying"?


Unknown said...

Joe Lunn in William Cooper's 1950 novel Scenes from Provincial life ?

A. S. Haley said...

That is the judgment expressed to Helen, Duchess of Denver, by her brother-in-law Lord Peter Wimsey -- about his bride Harriet Vane keeping her maiden name, under which she has published, so as not to confuse (or lose) her readership. (The book is Dorothy Sayers' unfinished last novel Thrones, Dominations, completed by Jill Paton Walsh.)

stephen cooper said...

Whoever it was, I hope he said it with an innocent intention to amuse.

In real life, all joking aside, the keeping of mistresses by married men is a filthy, sad, despicable thing. As is also, of course, the keeping of secretive lovers by married women. I have my faults, but I like to think there is not a single married woman who could seduce me, no matter how charming or beautiful.

My one guess - assuming I only get one guess - is that if it is not a character in one of the novels of Sayers who said it, it is a character in one of the great midcentury English novels by Powell. I don't think it is Waugh because I have read all of Waugh's novels except Helena and I don't remember the joke from any of those novels. But my memory is not good.