When I was a girl, Inspector, nobody ever mentioned the word stomach.

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Grablevskij

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This is from Greenshaw's Folly by Agatha Christie:

"I believe, madam, they are doing a season of James Barrie's plays."
"Barrie," said Miss Marple thoughtfully.
"What Every Woman Knows," said Inspector Welch, and then blushed. "Name of a play," he said quickly. "I'm not much of a theatre-goer myself," he added, "but the wife went along and saw it last week. Quite well done, she said it was."
"Barrie wrote some very charming plays," said Miss Marple, "though I must say that when I went with an old friend of mine, General Easterly, to see Barrie's Little Mary-" she shook her head sadly, "—neither of us knew where to look."
The inspector, unacquainted with the play Little Mary looked completely fogged. Miss Marple explained:
"When I was a girl, Inspector, nobody ever mentioned the word stomach."
The inspector looked even more at sea. Miss Marple was murmuring titles under her breath.
"The Admirable Crichton. Very clever. Mary Rose-a charming play. I cried, I remember. Quality Street I didn't care for so much. Then there was A Kiss for Cinderella. Oh, of course."
Inspector Welch had no time to waste on theatrical discussion. He returned to the matter in hand.
"The question is," he said, "did Alfred Pollock know that the old lady had made a will in his favour? Did she tell him?" He added:
"You see—
there's an archery club over at Boreham Lovell and Alfred
Pollock's a member.
He's a very good shot indeed with a bow and arrow."



Could you explain me what the matter is. I'm just like the inspector don't know what to think. Why stomach?

Michael
 

fromatto

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In Barrie's play, it transpired that Little Mary was in fact 'the stomach'. The conceit was that one could change one's life by what one ate.

This is a strange theme for a play and we can imagine that some people, especially sensitive people like Miss Marple, were shocked by this literary device.

Once members of the audience learnt that Little Mary was 'the stomach', they hardly knew where to look. In other words, they felt awkward.
 

Barb_D

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I think that Miss Marple was from a very gentle era, when polite people did not reference any part of their body in public at all. You did not refer to your leg, or your hip, or your stomach.

I don't think the literary device was so shocking as the fact that people were talking about body parts at all.

I haven't done the math, but I believe Miss Marple would have grown up in the late Victorian era, when people put skirts on the legs of their pianos so no one would see a "leg" -- even a wooden one.
 

Anglika

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I haven't done the math, but I believe Miss Marple would have grown up in the late Victorian era, when people put skirts on the legs of their pianos so no one would see a "leg" -- even a wooden one.

Myth! :lol:

Furniture was covered so that it did not fade in the sun. Pianos were expensive items and made of expensive materials.
 

Barb_D

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Darn, really? I love that myth!
 
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