The book is about a young woman’s decadent period in Paris. The first chapter contains a flashback in which our heroine invites a wealthy uncle to bankroll her two years of freedom.
He agrees but on the proviso that she graduate from college first. It’s a nice passage:
One sees this sort of conversation not infrequently in books of the mid-twentieth century, so I presume they actually happened sometimes.
I wonder why this kind of permissiveness — even with strings attached — is so uncommon today. I mean, what would it cost parents and aunts and uncles to give a much-loved child some freedom?
Expense, I fear, is not the reason: it’s a now-established skepticism towards “doing nothing”. Two years off? But you’ll not be earning! You’ll not be pushing forward! You’ll fall behind! Worse, you might find out about something new and — gasp! — go off-course!
Having said that, how often do we ask? I know never did. Too proud. Too incapable of gratitude. Besides, I’d have been laughed out of the room.
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