Topic: "Zounds, you varlet"(4)
Although Sam is an aficianado of most things British, Frodo has long averred that the Empire collapsed because of the attraction that the male inhabitants seem to have for one another. This, despite the fact that former Prime Minister Blair was an Honors graduate of the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, in Frodo's opinion, is because almost all of the little buggers are carted off to sexually segregated boarding schools just about the time they note the flow of hemoglobin into the groin. The few exceptions to Frodo's observation generally tend to be from Wales, Scotland, or some other location where males drink something other than gin. Frodo was visibly shaken recently when he heard a member of the Fellowship proclaim admiration for the British actor, Hugh Grant. Frodo always assumed that Grant did his best acting whenever he touched a member of the opposite sex.
Frodo's distaste for most things British has generally included every wordsmith, save Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, since the Beatles broke up, Frodo has not been able to identify a single reason for paying any attention whatsoever to people who speak as if marbles were implanted in their dentures. Frodo refuses to peruse any British television show, movie, or audio tape not providing sub-titles.
This diatribe relents upon a delightful little book whose title stirred a query to Sam, the British weenie. "84 Charing Cross," (a gift, since Frodo would not have willingly supported the current exchange rate) sounded familiar, and Frodo was informed that the movie had starred Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft. Since Hopkins is now and forever Hannibal Lecter, and Bancroft made Frodo wish his name was Benjamin, reading this book did not seem unpatriotic. In fact, Frodo quickly determined that only half of the book had anything to do with the British, their polluted Isles, or their unforgivingly bad food. The book is merely letters written back-and-forth across the Atlantic after WWII and before the rise of Nixon's Southern Strategy.
Ah dear reader, but how brilliant was the author, who showcased her own wit (and, in Frodo's opinion, her weakness), by corresponding with the staff of a bookstore somewhere in the stovepipes of London. Over time, the correspondents, who had never met, got to know each other, and the reader, including you should you so choose, learned a lot about people struggling out of the changes wrought by War. Frodo learned, from the written words, that most of the Londoners existed on a meatless diet, well into the middle part of the 1950's. The destruction of War was so great that it changed their lives long after the killing ceased.
Frodo discussed the book with Sam, and learned that the movie, in typical Hollywood license, ended differently. Frodo is glad he read the book; it has a more appropriate ending. Frodo also probably got a little appreciation for the "Greatest Generation" of the Brits. Lest he again revert to his prior opinion, he also hopes that Hugh Grant is never cast in such a role.