Manny's Reviews > Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management

Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton
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Oct 01, 2011

bookshelves: celebrity-death-match

For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mary Poppins (32) versus Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16)

[Breakfast at the Banks's. MR BANKS eats his toast with an irritated expression]

MR BANKS: Winifred?

MRS BANKS: Yes dear?

MR BANKS: Don't you sometimes think that Mary Poppins is a little too, how shall I put it, magical?

MRS BANKS: Yes dear.

MR BANKS: Then don't you think we should do something about it?

MRS BANKS: Yes dear.

MR BANKS: Well, what are we going to do then?

MRS BANKS: Don't worry, dear, I've engaged a new nanny to help her. She's not magical at all. I'm sure you'll like her very much.

MR BANKS [deflated]: Oh. Good.

[JANE and MICHAEL rush in, followed by MARY POPPINS and MRS BEETON]

MRS BANKS: And here she is. Children, you have a big day ahead of you. Michael, have you taken your cod-liver oil?

MICHAEL [truculent scowl]: No. I don't like it.

MARY POPPINS: Now, Michael, remember what I always say. A spoonful of sugar...

[She has taken out a spoonful of white sugar. Michael eyes it disgustedly]

MRS BEETON: Ah, Mary, I think Michael might prefer some unrefined cane sugar, with just the smallest hint of vanilla. We tried it last night and he said it was a vast improvement. Here we are...

[She takes out a second spoonful. Michael swallows it avidly, followed by the cod-liver oil. MARY looks surprised]

MRS BEETON: But we must hurry, mustn't we? There was that tea-party we were going to attend...

[The scene rapidly flips to a tea party on UNCLE ALBERT's ceiling. MARY pours out the tea. JANE takes a sip and is visibly unimpressed]

BERT: What's wrong, Jane?

JANE: Where do I start? This is Earl Grey, and not my favourite brand either. The tea-pot hasn't been warmed. And the milk is off.

[UNCLE ALBERT, BERT and MARY look helpless. MRS BEETON reaches into her handbag]

MRS BEETON: As it happens, I do have a little Darjeeling here and a bottle of fresh milk. Please let me help.

[She tips out the offending tea, expertly makes a fresh pot and pours out new cups for everyone. JANE gazes at her with shining eyes, while MARY tries hard to seem unconcerned. The children drink their tea contentedly]

MARY POPPINS: I'm terribly sorry, we must go. You're visiting your father's bank.

CHILDREN: Awwww, already?

[The scene flips again to the street in front of Saint Paul's Cathedral. The BIRD WOMAN is selling bags of crumbs]

BIRD WOMAN: Feed the birds! Tuppence a bag!

MICHAEL: Can I buy one?

[MRS BEETON bends down, picks up a stray crumb and examines it carefully]

MRS BEETON: Well, this is simply monstrous! Cheap, stale, white bread, I'm sure it's giving those poor sparrows stomache-aches. And tuppence a bag must be at least a 1000% markup.

MICHAEL: But I want to feed the birds!

MRS BEETON: Fortunately, I came prepared. [She reaches into her bag again] The loaf I baked this morning, for a total cost of one ha'penny, was enough to make a bag for you [she gives one to MICHAEL], Jane, [one for JANE], your father [one for MR BANKS] and even one for this kind gentleman here [she hands one to THE OLDER MR DAWES, who has just joined them].

[Everyone feeds the birds, who can't get enough of the delicious bread]

THE OLDER MR DAWES [to MICHAEL]: So what brings you here, young fellow?

MICHAEL: I'd like to invest my tuppence in your bank, sir.

THE OLDER MR DAWES: Would you indeed!

MICHAEL: Yes, I would! Then I'll be part of... railways through Africa! Dams across the Nile!

JANE [whispers to MICHAEL]: The ships! Tell him about the ships!

MICHAEL: Fleets of ocean greyhounds! Plantations of ripening tea!

JANE: Darjeeling, of course.

MICHAEL: All for tuppence, prudently, carefully, invested in the...

THE OLDER MR DAWES: You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, young fellow. It must come from your father.

MICHAEL: No, from Mrs... [JANE kicks him], I mean, yes sir. Father's taught us all about finance. It's very interesting.

THE OLDER MR DAWES: Has he now? That reminds me, Banks, there's a place coming up on the Board. Perhaps we should talk about it.

MR BANKS: I'd be honoured, sir.

THE OLDER MR DAWES: Well, don't just stand there! Do come in [he ushers them into the bank], Banks, your two charming children, this delightful lady here [he gives a courtly bow to MRS BEETON], and, ah, wasn't there another member of the party?

[He looks around, surprised, but MARY POPPINS has unaccountably disappeared]
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Rolling on the ceiling laughing my, er, top hat off!

message 2: by Manny (new) - added it

Manny Thank you! Somehow, I just couldn't write a second pro-Poppins review...

message 3: by Hayes (new)

Hayes This one almost slipped by me ... better late than never!

message 4: by Manny (new) - added it

Manny Thank you! I'm beginning to feel Mrs B may yet defeat La Poppins...

message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Gibson brilliant review :-)

message 6: by Manny (new) - added it

Manny Thank you Melanie! The Celebrity Death Match Tournament was so much fun...

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