Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym

Some tame gazelle, or some gentle dove:
Something to love, oh, something to love!
Thomas Haynes Bayley

Happy Tuesday! Today, I'm joining in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, where readers can share the first paragraph of a book they are reading or thinking of reading soon.

Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym has the honor of being her first novel published in England (in 1950) but her last published in the United States (in 1983). I've chosen this novel as one of the reads for my participation in the Back to the Classics Challenge.

From Goodreads:

"The Misses Bede occupy the central crossroads of parish life. Then into their quiet lives come a famous librarian, Nathaniel Mold, and a bishop from South Africa, Theodore Grote--who each take to calling on the sisters for rather unsettling reasons."

Here is the first paragraph:

"The new curate seemed quite a nice young man, but what a pity it was that his combinations showed, tucked carelessly into his socks, when he sat down. Belinda had noticed it when they had met him for the first time at the vicarage last week and had felt quite embarrassed. Perhaps Harriet could say something to him about it. Her blunt jolly manner could carry off these little awkwardnesses much better than Belinda's timidity. Of course, he might think it none of their business, as indeed it was not, but Belinda rather doubted whether he thought at all, if one were to judge by the quality of his first sermon."

I have to admit that I didn't know what Pym meant by his combinations being tucked into his socks, and I learned that combinations were a kind of men's underwear of pants and a vest in one garment. 

What to you think about the opening? Would you keep reading? 



  1. What a great start and I can imagine if anybody has to say something it should be jolly Harriet! Here is my Tuesday post https://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/4158/

  2. I've read something by Pym, although I can't quite remember what now. I'd keep reading. Good choice. Here's Mine

  3. Oh, I love the sound of that, and I didn't know what "combinations" might be, either, but assumed it was some kind of "unmentionable." Cute! Thanks for sharing and for the clarification...and now I want to read this author.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. I liked the opening and figured combinations were like long underwear.

  5. Barbara Pym is always a treat. I remember looking up combinations when I read this paragraph, too. Enjoy!

  6. I didn't know what combinations were either - thanks for filling me in! I'm not sure this one is for me, though.

  7. Hilarious! Pym can be very funny. You will have to learn about jumpers and jumble sales if you read Pym. Like learning a whole new language.

  8. I liked this novel a lot, but then I'm a recent Barbara Pym fan. Have you read any of her other books? My favorite is definitely Excellent Women, but they're all good. Happy reading!

  9. I have this one on my shelf Monica, it sounds like it would be a nice change. I'd keep reading.

    So happy you joined us again this week. Thanks

  10. This sounds pretty good. I'd keep reading it.