Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl, By Jenny Wren

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The Independent Culture

A reprint of the pseudonymous Jenny Wren's 1891 response to Jerome K Jerome's Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, this collection of 12 humorous essays presents Miss Wren's thoughts on love (she has never been in love herself, and doesn't devote much thought to "the creature 'man'", for "I do not think him worth it," but makes caustic observations on love matches in the Bible, in literature, and among her own acquaintance); on Christmas ("such a prickly time"); on children and dogs (she has a decided preference for the latter); and on tennis (she would happily "injure the man who invented it").

There are droll descriptions, such as that of the man whose mouth was so oversized that he might have "whispered in his own ear", and views that must have been mildly shocking at the time – for instance, that matrimony would be preferable if one could change partners periodically, as at a dance.

Jenny Eclair's enjoyable foreword refers to Wren as "fabulously ballsy", which is perhaps pitching it a bit strong. But, though slight, this is a refreshingly cynical and independent-minded account of Victorian society, written with a charm, wit and lightness of touch to rival Jerome himself.