Of course, we come to laugh at the old bat, whose cover snap brings to mind Patrick Moore in a pink frock. Writing in 1962, at the time of the Beatles' first LP, Cartland insists that when two young people of the opposite sex are alone together, "There is an unwritten law that alcohol is not provided, unless it is a single bottle of innocuous wine."
She is more forthcoming when a relationship has been legitimised by marriage: "If a woman wants to make the ordinary man into a wonderful lover, she must praise him continually." On a less romantic note, Cartland issues a dire warning that "some women will strive by every means to avoid the 'monotony' of housework... Once they get a man to the sink, he is lost, for they will batten on his good nature relentlessly." And a marriage will fare better if the wife doesn't work, because "Love is far less liable to fly out of the door where there is poverty than... where the wife is too busy at work."
Equally daft is the injunction that: "Oysters must be swallowed, not chewed.² The illustrations by Francis Marshall of faux pas in SW7 are wonderful. Yet it is impossible not to acknowledge the good sense scattered through these pages. Cartland admirably declares that, "If someone is on a strict diet, it is better not to go out for meals". Pondering education, she insists, "Ignorance is a degrading form of servitude". In a country where learning is commonly denigrated, her words should be etched over every school.