Having loved the op-ed on Sissinghurst earlier this summer, I’m writing a review-essay on Adam Nicolson’s Sissinghurst, a very engaging book about his life as a donor-tenant on the NT site. How engaging is it? As an aristocrat who doesn’t use his title and who lives as a tenant in his grandma’s castle, Nicolson has a wonderfully wry sense of humor about other lords, as here, in a description of a National Trust committee meeting:
When a man called John Smith was proposed as a member, the chairman, Viscount Esher, said ‘I suppose it is a good thing to have a proletarian name on the Committee—anyone know him?’ ‘Yes,’ said the earl of Euston, ‘he is my brother-in-law.’
As the descendant of a long, long line of New Hampshire Smiths (I have the forehead to show it), I loved this.