... it will always remain my private persuasion that Nature was absorbed in making cabbages when Mrs. Vesey was born, and that the good lady suffered the consequences of a vegetable preoccupation in the mind of the Mother of us all.
Chapter 8, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, (published 1860).
Which, besides making me smile and laugh a little at the harmless wit of Wilkie’s words, reminds me of something I noted as being very clever in another book. Give me a moment to fetch it from my shelf. This other book is one of my old favourites, bought from the grocery shop for $14 on a day that I felt like going with the flow (thus I also bought a chocolate bar). This other book is James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, (1961). In Chapter 2 he wrote:
Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short. She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth, and one of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage.
|Original illustration of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker by Quentin Blake|
Another piece of word wizardry that as a kid stopped me short and made me think. Isn’t it just wonderful when somebody uses exactly the right thing to describe something, and you can’t help but stop and think… “yeah, that’s right – that’s exactly what it’s like”, and it’s so perfect that you burst out laughing and never forget it!