One thought on “The Child Cephalina – Rebecca Lloyd


    “I would wait until Tetty summoned me with the kitchen bell to appear. From time to time a child was so filthy or lousy that she would put the little mite into the tub for a wash while the others ate, and there apply vinegar to its tatty head.”

    A tetty (têtey?) tatty head.
    This is a most engaging and literarily, if not literally, comfortable start to a novel, as I guess this to be. Mr Groves is the narrator in this large house belonging to his brother in 1851, London, who takes in children as waifs and strays that need shelter, living there alongside Tetty, a kindly officious sloppy woman, I infer, lodger or servant, or co-tenant, although I may change my opinion when I correct myself later about her! This day, the eponymous eleven year old (Mr Groves himself infers she is 11) arrives with the others herded into the kitchen. Although she seems separate and not in need of shelter judging by her appearance. The description we are given of this child is tantalising…
    I do not intend to itemise the plot of this book as I go through it, but to try to adumbrate my reactions to it and to any points of oddity that I may find — such as the Tetty business above! — towards a gestalt that perhaps even the author herself has not yet foreseen.

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