Tuesday, 5 September 2017


The author Bertha M Clay used to intrigue one when one was much younger. Then one learned later on that such a writer hardly existed although the original author (pseudonym) lived in the 19th century, the daughter added more titles under the pen name, and MANY other writers would contribute to the title across time and generations.

Yet the titles and stories remain quaint, old fashioned and interesting in their own way; concerned with themes of love, class, genteel life with spiralling ramifications and the like. Love Works Wonders is a typical story (novel) under the title. We see the development or metamorphosis of a young lady, Pauline, from a "Bohemian" to an exemplary lady of "class".

And at the end we are proudly told: "Six years had changed Pauline Darrell from a beautiful girl to a magnificent woman; her beauty was of that grand queenly kind that of itself is a noble dowry. The years but had added to it. They had given to her beauty a charm that it had never worn in her younger days."

Apparently this is the perfect culmination of a process, as Pauline had been too raw and "unlady-like". As Sir Oswald stresses early on: "She (Pauline) has lived among the artists. She does not seem to have ever known any of her own sex. She is, I am sorry to use the word, a perfect Bohemian. Whether she can be transformed into anything faintly resembling a lady, I cannot tell. Will you undertake the task...?".

Hence eventually Miss Darrell of Darrell Court attains a refulgent height and stature...and being a Bertha M Clay work, she also finds happiness in love at the end. The lucky man is Vane, who clasps her in his "strong, manly arms, her haven of rest, her safe refuge, her earthly paradise, safely attained at last..." Are you clapping?
-         - Henry Ozogula

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