Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Next Up: Laughter on the Stairs

I have been merrily tripping along with Beverley Nichols at Merry Hall and now I am ready to move on to the next book about his life wrangling flowers, trees, cats and visitors -- Laughter on the Stairs.

I have long been quite enchanted with Mr. Nichols. He was a war correspondent, gardener, and author. In addition to his gardening books he wrote five mysteries, six novels, six plays, two books on cats, and six, yes count them, six, autobiographies. He penned others as well including political writings, children's books, and a treatise on the marriage of W. Somerset Maugham.

How did Mr. Nichols ever find time to mess about in the garden?

His first autobiography, Twenty-Five (Being a Young Man's Recollections of His Elders and Betters), was published in 1926 when he was a mere twenty-eight years old. Even at that age he had lived quite a bit and had met some stellar people in his travels. I happen to own a copy of the book. I found it in 2002 in a little book shop,  Rees & O'Neill, 27 Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road. I paid two pounds for it. 

In Merry Hall he writes a bit about his life as a journalist and comments about having to write to pay for the next extravagance for his garden and house.  I love that even when his (male) secretary hints that funds are running a bit low, Mr. Nichols throws caution to the wind in order to continue on with his next elegant plan.

I could practically quote the entire book; it is that entertaining. But then you must discover the delightful Mr. Nichols for yourself. 


  1. What a wonderful find for you in 2002, Belle, and on Charing Cross Road. Oh how i yearn to travel there, and, now, at the mere mention of Charing Cross Road, I feel yet another re-read of 84 Charing Cross Road. I love Beverly Nichols, though I haven't read quite as much of him as you. Something to remedy soon.

    1. Some people bring back pretty little dust catchers from vacations; I always seem to overload my suitcase with books. I don't believe that Mr. Rees and Mr. O'Neill still have a shop though.

      Oh, I adore 84 Charing Cross Road. The first time I read it was in a Reader's Digest book that was in my grandmother's house. A long time ago! Since then I have read the book countless times, seen the movie, and the play (in London on a trip in 1982). I do seem to have a history with it, don't I? I best pull it down from the shelf and add it to my pile.