Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim makes Christopher and Columbus a joyous romp as twin orphans and their staunch friend who “would have been very handsome indeed if he hadn’t had a face” put their wits together to figure out how to survive in America’s 1916 anti-German hysteria.
Anna-Rose and Anna-Felicitas Twinkler, “very German outside and very English inside,” bravely call themselves Christopher and Columbus because they’re going to discover America.
The twin’s shipboard friend Edward Twist is “a born mother. The more trouble he was given the more attached he became.”
The 17-year-olds, happily rolling their r’s , give Mr. Twist a great deal of trouble indeed.
The first “family friend” to whom the girls are sent has just left her home and her husband.
Edward and his sister would give the girls a home, but their dragon of a mother spits fire at having the twins under her roof.
The twins take matters into their own hands, entrain for California, and find another closed door.
Edward goes to their rescue.
What a country, Mr. Twist had thought, fresh from his work in France, fresh from where people were profoundly occupied with the great business of surviving at all. Here he came back from a place where civilization toppled, where deadly misery, deadly bravery, heroism that couldn’t be uttered, staggered month after month among ruins, and found America untouched, comfortable, fat, still with time to worry over the suspected amorousness of the rich, still putting people into uniforms in order to buttonhole a man on landing and cross-question him as to his private purities.
Von Arnim crafts a tangled plot, peoples it with believable characters, and lards the pages with witty descriptions such as, “She was a lady whose figure seemed to be all meals.”
Don’t leave this 1919 charmer undiscovered.Christopher and Columbus by Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim 1919 bestseller #9 Project Gutenberg ebook #14646 My grade: B
© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni