Dotty as a Dumpling

by stephanietsaikarlik

From Roald Dahl’s Going Solo:

Miss Trefusis was all bones and grey skin, and when she walked her body was bent forward in a long curve like a boomerang. She told me she owned a small coffee farm in the highlands of Kenya and that she had known Baroness Blixen very well. I myself had read and loved both Out of Africa and Seven Gothic Tales, and I listened enthralled to everything Miss Trefusis told me about that fine writer who called herself Isak Dinesen.

“She was dotty, of course,” Miss Trefusis said. “Like all of us who live out there, she went completely dotty in the end.”

You aren’t dotty,” I said.

“Oh yes, I am,” she said firmly and very seriously. “Everyone on this ship is as dotty as as a dumpling. You don’t notice it because you’re young. Young people are not watchful. They only look at themselves.”

“I saw Major Griffiths and his wife running round the deck naked the other morning,” I said.

“You call that dotty?” Miss Trefusis said with a snort. “That’s normal.”

“I didn’t think so.”

“You’ve got a few shocks coming to you, young man, before you’re very much older, you mark my words,” she said. “People go quite barmy when they live too long in Africa. That’s where you’re off to, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I said.

“You’ll go barmy for sure,” she said, “like the rest of us.”