W. S. GILBERT: An Elixir of Love
“From Amelia Orange Blossom. ‘I am a very pretty girl of fifteen. For upwards of fourteen years past I have been without a definitely declared admirer.’”
A presumably light-hearted, if not hilarious, account, involving the deployment in life’s mœurs of highly elaborate algebraic pretension and at the end the deployment of geometry, I infer, to ward off a mother-in-law. Deployments underpinning this story which, despite the quotation from it I chose above, tells of Stanley Gay, a curate who is left to fulfil the duties of a higher paid churchman, and of his theories of Levelling by Love, and of his own loving engagement to Jessie Lightly, and of their visit together to a magic shop where they buy gallons of Love Philtre, and of the apparently difficult repercussions of their scheming that really ended up for the best.
Not so much a Panglossian outcome, but more the panning out of x and y as z. And a new equation of inevitability that the act of over-selling something always detracts from its final value. So…
BEWARE SPOILERS —> Not to be taken lightly nor taken into account, therefore, are the wonderful characterisations of Zorah and Jessie’s Dad, nor presumably that Jessie later falls in love with the Bishop instead of Stanley.
Full context of above review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/04/12/penguin-books-of-british-short-stories/