Sunday, May 17, 2009
Hunting for Mallards'
A notable writer who set his novels in Rye was E.F. Benson. He lived just at the top of Mermaid Street, in Lamb House, renamed Mallards in his Mapp and Lucia novels. Here, Queen Lucia held reign. The streets and settings were all unchanged by time, just as Benson described them. I counted houses to where Georgie Pillson would have lived before he became – in name only – Lucia’s husband. I picked out the places where my favorite characters had done their marketing. The street corners where they sniped and spied and gently but cruelly admonished one another, scoring points where they could, forming alliances and fighting social battles much to the delight of generations of fans.