In Tearing Haste
Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh FermorBook - 2008
In 1956, Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire, youngest of the six Mitford sisters, invited the writer and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor to visit Lismore Castle, in Ireland. This halcyon stay sparked off a deep friendship and a lifelong exchange of highly entertaining letters.
There can rarely have been such contrasting styles: Debo, unashamed philistine and self-professed illiterate, darts from subject to subject, dashing off letters but hitting the nail on the head again and again without even looking, while Paddy, polyglot, widely-read prose virtuoso, replies in his characteristic fluent, polished manner.
Prose notwithstanding, they have much in common: enjoyment of life, youthful high spirits, generosity and lack of malice. There are glimpses of President Kennedy's inauguration, weekends at Sandringham, filming with Erroll Flynn and, above all, of life at Chatsworth, which Debo spent much of her life restoring, and of Kardamyli, the home that Paddy built in his beloved Greece.