Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Christmas Quotes: A Colonial Christmas

Quote comes from page 494 and 495 of Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman. The book is set in colonial India and the main character, Olivia, has just been reconciled with her cousin Estelle.

I find myself fascinated at the idea of colonial life in India. I think it is because one of my great-great grandfathers served there as a musician in the Army.

Here is a quote from Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman. I highly recommend this hard to find book and also the other book I read by her this year which was called Shalimar

It was the season of Christmas.

In the cosy downstairs parlour of the Birkhurst residence, the least formal of the reception-rooms, a tall conifer stood in a wooden tub, and it was splendidly decorated with coloured streamers, glass baubles, silver fairies in twinkling tinsel, gold stars, snowy white cotton wool, a cardboard Santa Claus and his rendeer, and banks of mistletoe and holly purchased with scandalous extravagance from Whiteaways. The house was filled with music and song and seldom heard gales of laughter. On Christmas Day the Donaldsons, the Humphries and, of course, Arthur Ransome had been guests at a veritable feast of trandational fare produced with uncanny skill by Rashid Ali andn the specially summoned Babulal. There had been gaily wrapped gifts for everyone, including the servants and their families, particularly the children. There had been crackers and fireworks, boisterous carol singing and generally uninhibited revelry such as had not been witnessed in years at the austere, under-inhabited mansion.

It was Olivia's second Christmas is India. And so different in spirit from that miserable occasion of twelve months ago in Barrackpore, which no one could now rustle up the courage to remember!

And then....

The Christmas festivities and frivolities had been her (Estelle's) idea. "A quiet Christmas?" She had echoed Olivia's desultory suggestion with horror. "Why, Amos will never forgive us that! If only for his sake, we must make it as merry as we can no matter what our own feelings." Olivia could not deny that she had been touched.

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