The Irish Times has collected what its correpondent Frank McNally considers a history of Ireland as told in the top 100 whinges. Waugh may come top whinger with a total of 9 to his credit:
37. “Among the countless blessings I thank God for, my failure to find a house in Ireland comes first”. (Evelyn Waugh, 1952)
38. “Unless one is mad or fox-hunting there is nothing to draw one”. (ditto)
39. “The houses […] are very shoddy in building and they none of them have servants’ bedrooms”. (ditto)
40. “The peasants are malevolent”. (Waugh, contd)
41. “All their smiles are false as hell”.
42. “Their priests are very suitable for them”.
43. “No coal at all”. (Still Waugh)
44. “Awful incompetence everywhere”.
45. “No native capable of doing the simplest job properly”. (That’s enough Waugh – Ed)
These whinges all come from a letter to Nancy Mitford, dated 1 May 1952. See also letter dated 10 May 1952 (Letters, pp. 373-74). If the editor hadn’t intervened, the list could have continued with:
No schools for children.
Detraction is their passion.
At George Moore commemoration, each literary figure demolishing bit by bit every corner of his reputation.
Waugh for several years previously had been looking for a home in Ireland. See previous post. In the end he stuck it out at Piers Court near Dursley in Gloucestershire until 1956 when he moved to Combe Florey near Taunton, Somerset.