Engaging, frank and utterly delightful—the irresistible compilation of one forthright Victorian lady’s opinions and sage advice on every conceivable subject.
Adultery, bunions, evolution and garlic: these are just a few of the topics that Christopher Rush’s great-great aunt Elspeth Marr expounded upon in a series of lifelong musings that were shockingly frank and progressive for her time.
Born in 1871, Elspeth Marr was married but childless (perhaps by choice) and lived in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland. Throughout her lifetime, she wrote copious letters and notes to an unnamed "young girl" about the nuts and bolts of life, as well as her views on more worldly matters. Never meant for publication, these notes languished in obscurity until Christopher Rush’s mother discovered them in a small brown suitcase long after his great-great aunt Epp passed away.
Sassy and opinionated, Aunt Epp was not afraid to voice her views and give her advice on topics ranging from adultery to wrinkles, God to genitals. In a time when mentioning such things would have been deemed unladylike and improper, Aunt Epp left nothing unsaid. Full of wit and erudition, not to mention homespun herbal remedies and witty verse, now Aunt Epp’s timeless wisdom can be shared and enjoyed by everyone.
Aches and Pains
Make a marinade out of half a dozen big heads of garlic and a pint of brandy, and keep it to hand. Drink a teaspoon of this as soon as you wake and immediately after your quick cold bath. This is a good way to oil yourself into the day and is a great remedy for ancient or aching bones. Once you have gone the way of all the earth, your brandied and be-garlicked bones will do the earth a power of good, and you will be at peace together.
Maintain a diary all your days. A diary is a doorway to a second life, running parallel to the one you live, and produces even a third life, for by recording the day’s events, you preserve the days like berries.
Never marry one. The golfer is extinct from his waist downwards and from his neck upwards, the main portion of him being concerned with placing his shot in the hole as fast as possible. Precision, not passion, characterises the golfer. A most uninteresting specimen, with a colossal lack of soul.
This is what you owe to the living: to the dead you owe only truth.