Sunday, April 22, 2012



As you can see, my gif-craft is severely behind the times
(1) Alice has already commented on the backwards geography in this book, specifically the North being friendly and homey while the South is sinister and hostile. Well, now we have added the East End of London being industrious, safe, and nonthreatening.

There! That's my intelligent comment done.

(2) Mr Fairlie's narrative is the best thing in the English language. Hyperbole? NO.
Let me do the girl justice. Her shoes did NOT creak. But why do Young Persons in service all perspire at the hands? Why have they all got fat noses and hard cheeks? And why are their faces so sadly unfinished, especially around the corners of the eyelids? I am not strong enough to think deeply myself on any subject, but I appeal to professional men, who are. Why have we no variety in our breed of Young Persons?

It was as I was reading this and thinking, hot damn, that I also thought how unfortunate it was that the book starts out with certified milquetoast Walter Hartright. And then I thought: what if that was on purpose. Remember (of course you do) how I thought that first section read like a parody of a Victorian novel? What if???

I don't think I'm prepared to give Wilkie credit for self-parody, but I will give him credit for hiding his immense talents more successfully than he hid his immense forehead. (Like Rick Astley, I will never give that up.)


(3) It is officially a Fiction Pet Peeve of mine when people are obviously drugged and don't realize it. So the maid drinks something, passes out, and when she wakes up the top-secret letter in her bodice is crumpled. That's not suspicious!

"Do you suppose there are any secrets going on here?" he broke out suddenly; "there are none--there is nothing underhand, nothing kept from you or from any one." After speaking those strange words loudly and sternly, he filled himself another glass of wine and asked Lady Glyde what she wanted of him.
That's not suspicious!

I looked carefully at the entry. It was at the bottom of a page, and was for want of room compressed into a smaller space than that occupied by the marriages above.... The register of the marriage of Sir Felix Glyde was in no respect remarkable except for the narrowness of the space into which it was compressed at the bottom of the page.
That's not suspicious! (I hope this turns out to be suspicious, or I'll be embarassed.)

(6) HOLY CRAP ON A STICK LAURA'S ALIVE! I love how the lawyer appeals to the inscription on the tombstone as proof that she's dead. "They carved it in stone, Mr Hartright! In stone! Case. Closed."

"Walter!" she whispered, "my own darling! my heart is heavy for you. Oh, my son! my son! try to remember that I am still left!"
This... is kind of a creepy, upsetting way to tell your son that his true love is dead, right?


I reached home on foot, taking the precaution, before I approached our own door, of walking round by the loneliest street in the neighborhood, and there stopping and looking back more than once over the open space behind me. I had first learnt to use this stratagem against suspected treachery in the wilds of Central America--and now I was practicing it again, with the same purpose and with even greater caution, in the heart of civilised London!
 Wait, so how does that work in the jungle?

Her drawings, as she finished them, or tried to finish them, were placed in my hands. Marian took them from me and hid them carefully, and I set aside a little weekly tribute from my earnings, to be offered to her as the price paid by strangers for the poor, faint, valueless sketches, of which I was the only purchaser.
Yeah, deception! That's worked so well in the past! Certainly no one in this book has been traumatized by being lied to! Meanwhile, Hartright is disgusted by the idea of wearing a disguise when he goes out.

Also, why does he give them to Marian to hide? Doesn't he live on a separate floor? Hartright, you're such an idiot.

(11) Mrs Catherick! What a badass.
"Your information would be more satisfactory if you were willing to explain how you became possessed of it. However, it justifies me, I suppose, in going into mourning. There is not much alteration necessary in my dress, as you see. When I have changed my mittens, I shall be all in black." She searched in the pocket of her gown, drew out a pair of black lace mittens, put them on with the stoniest and steadiest composure, and then quietly crossed her hands in her lap. "I wish you good morning," she said.
DAMN THAT'S COLD. Did you know mittens could be so heartless?

(12) I am so looking forward to finishing this book, not because I want it to be over but because I want to see what the Wilkster has for us. YEAH THE WILKSTER, WE ARE BROS NOW. Although, I can hardly imagine how the ending could live up to the rest of the story.

(13) I CANNOT EVEN talk to you about the MIND-BLOWING ENDING of this section (Sir Percival, the vestry; I know this sounds like a lie, but my jaw dropped). Once again, here we have some seriously rigorous standards for proving death: "No, I haven't actually ever met this man before but you need someone to identify the body? Sure! What the hell. I've got time." Do you think he's going to pull a Laura? Do you think this was orchestrated by the Count? Did Sir Percival not know about the copy of the register despite the chattiness of that dude? AHHHHHHH SEE YOU NEXT WEEK AHHHHHHHH.


  1. SO MANY THINGS TO COMMENT ON. Ok. First of all, Sir Percival HAS to be dead, because Laura and Hartright have to get married. So there's that.

    Secondly, you made fun of the jungley part I was so fond of! There are JUNGLE PATHS, JULIE. He OBVIOUSLY took a different one than he was used to.

    Also I totes highlighted that section where Sir Percival's all "I have done nothing wrong! Nothing! If you think anything here is suspicious, well oh-ho-ho, you'd be wrong yourself!" Because subtle, sir. Subtle.

    Goooood point about the East side! It does seem rather innocuous and unstinky, doesn't it? Just nice, industrious people and big open quiet squares.

    Man, I'm looking forward to how this all wraps up.

  2. Nice job on picking a Mr Fairlie quote! I didn't even want to go down that path because, hello two pages of quotes! HE'S THE GREATEST EVER!

    Also, Mrs Catherick is SO nasty! I think I literally hate her worse than anyone else in the book, even Percy. What a bitch.

    ALSO, I'm excited for the end too, even though it will be the end and that will be sad. BUT I MUST KNOW THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN!

    Finally, on a related note, it has amused me that Alice has called the East End the East Side. Because, no. No no no no no. Silly American ;)

  3. So much to say. First I LOVE the Willy Wonka image and it made me laugh out loud, which I had to try to mask as a cough. It wasn't convincing but that was wonderful.

    Mr. Fairlie's section is so amazing and I could have easily just quoted the whole thing.

    Mrs. Catherick is awful and mittens are supposed to be whimsical outerwear!! She is misusing the spirit of mittens!

    1. Misusing the spirit of mittens! I love that. It should be engraved on her tombstone.

  4. I WAS GOING TO COMMENT ON THAT THING THAT HIS MOTHER SAID! Like, oh my darling, your best beloved is gone, but I YOUR MOTHER AM STILL HERE AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE DEAR OEDIPUS! But then I forgot, or blocked it from memory, or SOMETHING.

    I love Mrs Catherick. She is a stone-cold B.

  5. Seriously, Hartright is such an idiot sometimes. Oh, let me hide these drawings in the same apartment in which the person I'm hiding them from is CONFINED ALL DAY. Give her some credit, Walter -- she's not THAT stupid.

    Mrs. Hartright was totally creepy when she broke the news to him. I imagine his sister was in the next room, rolling her eyes. (We get one scene with her and she's AWESOME -- bring her back, Wilkie!)

  6. I did not think Walter's mommy moment was creepy. It made me AW...OUT LOUD. Sometimes a boy just needs to be reminded that his best gal will always be his mother. . . . OK. I've talked my way over to your side of the matter. Gross.

    Mrs. Catherick is all I hoped she would be and more. That whole paragraph where she went on about how respected she is in the town and her proof is that the clergyman BOWS to her...and then she hustles to the window TWICE in Walter's presence to eye-flirt with said clergyman. Point MADE, Mrs. Catherick. We shall never doubt your social standing again.

  7. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes at your Willy Wonka image. Sublime.

    There is an amazing amount of cluelessness in this book that you have illuminated so well in this book. So many suspicious things that people are just being blind to.

    And I'm American, but I did have a little what hey? about the positive description of the East End.

    That mittens moment was just so damn cold. Mrs. Catherick in a nutshell basically.