...in Dickens' David Copperfield in which the young David arrives home from school, and finds that the horrible Murdstones are away for a short while, and he is able to spend a lovely evening with his mother and Peggoty, just like the old times...they read a favourite old book, and sit together at the old table and eat a happy family supper...
Suddenly, this evening in a dark and rainy London, I had a glimpse of that. Somehow, in the cold and the dark, buses feel friendlier, people are kind and jokey. We laughed a bit, and people said silly things said about the weather and everything being uncomfortable and inconvenient. There wasn't that awkward are-we-being-politically-correct? feel that so often pervades modern life. .
A feature in last week's Spectator asked why people today are so unhappy. Where did the merriment go? Remember Morecambe and Wise? And where did gallantry go? Remember when people would make cheery remarks, perhaps when picking up something that had been dropped, or helping some one with a suitcase? Today, it's somehow correct to emphasise one's victimhood - never to put a cheery face on things or use that old expression "Musn't grumble!" And people feel on edge about paying a compliment - or admitting a mistake - in case it is somehow used against them in some legalistic way.
I came home through the icy rain and the house was warm and I made tea and buttered toast, and did some sewing, and listened to an old radio recording of a "Father Brown" story. A sort Copperfield evening.