In Maid in Waiting John Galsworthy takes up the post-war fortunes and misfortunes of Dinny Charwell, a young woman with sense, humor, loyalty, breeding, and a big, extended family.
Although he is a marvelous writer, John Galsworthy isn’t an easy read. His characters talk about politics, religion, art, culture — everything except their personal miseries. There’s nothing of 21st century exhibitionism about these people, but they are delightfully real.
Dinny’s brother is facing extradition to Bolivia on murder charges in connection with an expedition mounted by an American, Hallorsen, who blamed Hubert for the trip’s failure.
Dinny pushes Hubert’s case with politicians, makes a match for Hubert with the rector’s daughter, and finds herself pursued by both the rector’s son and Hallorsen.
Meanwhile, the mentally ill husband of the woman Dinny’s Uncle Adrian loves has come home. Dinny stays with Diana until her husband flees the house to end his life at the bottom of a mining pit.
The British Home Office gets Hubert off, and Adrian goes abroad to give Diana a year to recover.
That leaves Dinny still waiting for love to come to her.
Readers of the ’30s wrote Galsworthy to let Dinny marry somebody nice.
You’ll feel that way, too.Maid in Waiting
By John Galsworthy,
Charles Scribner’s, 1931
My grade: A