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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A pinch of salts

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 17 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1706
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Small details in novels can sometimes evoke a chain of memories. For example, when I read of the smelling salts of Miss Doggett, the elderly spinster in Barbara Pym’s novel Crampton Hodnet (the last of her novels to be published but among the first to be written), I could not but recall my grandmother.

    My memories of her, I must admit, are indistinct, because she died when I was very young, and consist of an almost random concatenation of her characteristics. She wore a fur stole that ended at one end in a bouquet of tails and at the other in a medusoid mass of heads with glass eyes. …

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