More of Mr. Knightley

After it was shown how Mr. Knightley dislikes Frank Churchill, self found herself developing quite a liking for Mr. Knightley (She read somewhere in the Introduction that he’s the richest man thereabouts, so while everyone is acting like a perfect bounder, Mr. Knightley giving himself no airs is very attractive. Just saying)

The next we see of him is when Emma accepts an invitation to an evening’s entertainment at the Coles’. Her carriage arrives at the Coles’ just ahead of another and it pleases Emma that the carriage ahead belongs to Mr. Knightley (quelle bonne chance!)

Self will just say the following passage in her own words because Austen takes too long to get to the point: the point being that it is Mr. Knightley who extends his hand to help Emma out of her carriage. The following conversation ensues, which self finds absolutely adorable and enchanting because Emma fusses so at Mr. Knightley, and he is 16 years her senior.

Emma: This is coming as you should do, like a gentleman.

Mr. Knightley: How lucky that we should arrive at the same moment! For, if we had met first in the drawing-room, I doubt whether you would have discerned me to be more of a gentleman than usual.

Thanks to Emma’s interior monologue (which Austen manages to pull off even though the point of view is third person), we know that Mr. Knightley, “having . . . a great deal of health, activity, and independence,” does not often resort to using his carriage.

Emma: There is always a look of consciousness or bustle when people come in a way which they know to be beneath them. You think you carry it off very well, I dare say, but with you it is a sort of bravado, an air of unaffected concern; I always observe it when I meet you under those circumstances.

Hmm, self wonders. Why did Mr. Knightley resort to his carriage? Could he be trying to show up Frank Churchill?

What is Mr. Knightley’s first name, anyway? It can’t be John, because that’s his brother’s name. It can’t be Frank, because then he would have the same first name as his ‘rival.’

It can’t be Edward because no Edwards are ever becoming. At least not in Regency fiction. Self thinks. Hopes.

Stay tuned.

 

 

Trees, Fall, Annaghmakerrig

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10 October 2018

Work-in-Progress: “Residents of the Deep”

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Map of Oceania

Self began this story on her very first visit to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig and has added to it, bit by bit, over the years. She was in Unit # 4 and there was an old maritime book in one of the cupboards.

She doesn’t worry about finishing this story. It will always be “in progress” — it will always exist in middle time, like her visits to this part of Ireland and beautiful Annaghmakerrig.

Here are the opening sentences:

There is something singularly impressive and affecting to the imagination when, in a perfectly calm tropical sea, under a vertical sun, one is able to look down through a depth of thousands of fathoms of clear water and see on the ocean bottom glimpses of the City and all its strange and wonderful objects. The discovery of a populous City existing under fathoms of ocean is an occurrence with no precedent in the annals of exploration, one that overshadows even the discovery of the Americas by Columbus.

Self’s stories are always birthed this way: with the opening sentences. No matter how many drafts her stories go through, the opening sentences never change. If the sentence is strong, it is like a fine, big engine that can power her through — even 20 or 25 pages later — all the way to the end. See the interview she gave to Bellingham Review, the Contributor Spotlight that accompanied their publication of self’s story, Ice. (The first four or five paragraphs of Ice were unchanged from first draft)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mr. Knightley: EMMA, Vol. II

Reading Emma has been hard going: there’s not a page that self doesn’t have to re-read (sentences so long!). Now, however, she’s developing quite an interest in the character of Mr. Knightley.

Emma’s sister, Isabella, is married to his brother John, making “Mr. Knightley” Emma’s brother-in-law. Mr. Knightley is 16 years older than Emma, and his presence in her life is that of benign older brother (It is a little hard for self to wrap her mind around Mr. Knightley as a romantic partner for Emma. If for nothing else than that humongous age gap!).

Emma and Mr. Knightley had their little tiffs in Vol. I, but he doesn’t remain angry at her and by the end of Vol. I they are on speaking terms again.

In Vol. II, with the appearance of a “stranger” — Frank Churchill — into Emma’s little world of Highbury, Mr. Knightley (he is never anything other than “Mr. Knightley” to Emma) suddenly appears in opposition:

  • There was one person among his new acquaintance in Surry, not so leniently disposed. In general he was judged, throughout the parishes of Donwell and Highbury, with great candour; liberal allowances were made for the little excesses of such a handsome young man — one who smiled so often and bowed so well; but there was one spirit among them not to be softened, from its power of censure, by bows or smiles — Mr. Knightley . . .  for the moment he was silent; but Emma heard him almost immediately afterwards say to himself, over a newspaper he held in his hand, “Hum! just the trifling, silly fellow I took him for.’ She had half a mind to resent; but an instant’s observation convinced her that it was really said only to relieve his own true feelings; and not meant to provoke; and therefore she let it pass.

Self can hardly wait for Mr. Knightley, Emma, and Frank Churchill to begin quarreling with each other!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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