01 October 2007

Book Review: The Diary of Iris Vaughan

And what I like most about blogging............

Sue discovered a second hand book shop recently and after doing some severe damage to the credit card, came home with some classics. One of them being the diary of Iris Vaughan. This has to be one of my all time favourites.

I am now reading it for the third time. The book comes complete with spelling mistakes and lack of punctuation – but that adds to the charm.

Iris Vaughan was the daughter an Eastern Cape Magistrate and started her diary at the age of eleven. Written at the time of the Anglo-Boer War, the diary gives a delightful account of life seen through the eyes of a child.

The reason her father gave her the diary is best explained by Iris……..

Every one should have a diery. Becos life is too hard with the things one must say to be perlite and the things one must not say to lie. This is something I can never get right. If I say you are an ugly old man, that is bad manners, and if I say you are not an ugly old man I am telling a lie and not speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. That is what the peopel say in the witness box when they are at a case in the courthouse. When they say this is a great sin to tell a lie. Pop says to the witness who is to speak about the prisoner what you are to say is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and the witness says so Help me God. Then he tells the truth and is not punished. But in our house it is not like that. The other day when Mr O. was eating with us he said You are my little sweetheart, and I said NO and he said Why not and I said So help me God becos you are such an ugly old man with hair on your face. For what I was sent to bed without any more dinner even jelly and had a good jawing about perliteness. All the time I said I was telling the truth Mom said Nonsense, you are just a rude little girl. So Pop said you have a diary and and write all the truth in it and when you cant speak the truth its better hold your tongue. That is why I am writing. Charles says it is all too much trubbel. Don’t ever talk and you wont be punished. But my tongue is an unruly member Pop says and will cause me to suffer much being a female.
The book is full of delightful anecdotes about the school choir, the arrival of the boer troops, and subjects such as the “Circus”, the “foto-taking man” and the “horse that escaped seizure in a female cell" .

Iris would probably have been a good blogger with her observations of life and delightful style of writing.

For me blogging is like keeping a journal of my life and writing about things that interest me. What I like about blogging David is that it is a personal journey, but one that can be shared. In the process I also get to meet a lot of interesting people – albeit in cyberspace. And unlike poor Iris I can tell the “the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and get away with it.


mrsnesbitt said...

Agree, whole heartedly!

It is great to meet and connect with people in the blogging world we know!

Great to get to knoe people like you Max.


mrsnesbitt said...


Jenty said...

I must agree with you. I love blogging, and before I started I never saw the thrill in it. I love that I can write what I want with little (well some) regard to what others think because it's MY space to vent.

Max-e said...

Hi MrsN
Thanks for kind words great to get to know you too.

Max-e said...

Hi Jenty
Thanks for stopping in. I started my first blog in about October last year. Did one post and then forgot about it until July. Only problem was I lost it in cyberspace and started this one. Somewhere out there is a lonely blog awaiting my return, which is never going to happen.
I find it great fun

david mcmahon said...

I love secondhand book stores. And yes, I agree with your point about blogging. The interaction is amazing.

Neva said...

What is the old saying???"Out of the mougth of babes" =Your Iris seems to have a handle on that...I am sure I would love her diary....very charming.

Max-e said...

Hi David
I am afraid to go to the bookshop -I wll probably do more damage to the old credit card.
Thanks for the comments

Max-e said...

Hi Neva,
If you can get a copy it is absolutely delightful. It is probably out of print now

karoline said...

wonderful post max and thankyou for pointing me in the direction of this book..i shall keep my eyes open for it, it sounds like a wonderful book!


Max-e said...

Hi Karoline
It is a delightful book and if you get a copy it is a worthwhile read.
Some of the terminology might not be politically correct, but given the time when the book was written, that can be over looked

Annie Carter said...

I have a dog eared copy of this book, and treasure it, especially as I lived in the Eastern Cape very close to Adelaide. I could really relate to her life, her homes and her thoughts. A lovely nostalgic read.