Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons
Why you should buy a copy of your very own:
Well, it's one of my favorite books...what, don't you trust me? Fine, then. It's the story of a young woman named Flora Poste, who fights a brave battle to force her wackjob relatives to behave like normal human beings, rather than extras from a D.H. Lawrence novel.
In this scene...
Our heroine, Flora, and her cousin Reuben, are discussing Aunt Ada Doom. Aunt Ada Doom is the weirdest of the bunch, so there's a fair amount to discuss.
Fat and dark, the word lay between them in the indifferent air. Time, which had been behaving normally lately, suddenly began to spin upon a bright point in endless space. It never rains but it pours.
'Oh,' said Flora, thoughtfully.
So that was it. Aunt Ada Doom was mad. You would expect, by all the laws of probability, to find a mad grandmother at Cold Comfort, and for once the laws of probability had not done you down and a mad grandmother there was.
Flora observed, tapping her shoe with her walking stick, that it was very awkward.
'Aye,' said Rueben, ''Tes terrible. And her madness takes the form of wantin' to know everything as goes on. She has to see all the books twice a week: the milk book an' the chicken book an' the pig book and corn book. If we keeps the books back, she has an attack. 'Tes terrible. She's the head of the family, ye see. We mun keep her alive at all costs. She never comes down but twice a year-on the first of May and on the last day of the harvest festival. If anybody eats too much, she has an attack. 'Tes terrible.'
'It is indeed,' agreed Flora. It struck her that Aunt Ada Doom's madness had taken the most convenient form possible. If everybody who went mad could arrange in what way it was to take them, she felt pretty sure they would all choose to be mad like Ada Doom."
(c)Stella Gibbons, 1932