The Vicar of Altarnun in JAMAICA INN

This vicar reminds self a bit of Magnus Bane in The Infernal Devices! Magnus, the eerily all-knowing, prescient warlock.

Self loves this novel’s strangeness and hyper-surrealism.


Chapter 10

“There will be a chain across England, Mary, that will be very hard to break. Now do you understand?”

He opened the door of the carriage and stepped out into the road. He bared his head under the rain, and she saw the thick white hair frame his face like a halo. He smiled again to her and bowed, and he reached for her hand once more and held it a moment. “Your troubles are over,” he said; “the wagon wheels will rust and the barred room at the end of the passage can be turned into a parlour. Your aunt will sleep in peace again, and your uncle will either drink himself to death and be a riddance to all of you, or he will turn Wesleyan and preach to travellers on the high-road. As for you, you will ride south again and find a lover.”

Holy Smokes, that Vicar!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mary Yellan, Jem Merlyn: JAMAICA INN, Ch. 9

He whistled as he approached her and flung a small package at her feet. “A Happy Christmas to you,” he said. “I had a silver piece in my pocket yesterday and it burnt a hole. There’s a new handkerchief for your head.”

She had meant to be curt and silent on meeting him, but his introduction made it difficult for her. “That’s very kind of you,” she said. “I’m afraid you’ve wasted your money all the same.”

“That doesn’t worry me, I’m used to it,” he told her, and he looked her up and down in the cool offensive way of his, and whistled a tuneless song.

Jamaica Inn continues dee-lish.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Before I Was Your Slave, Now I Am Your Master: REBECCA, Ch. 21


Having discovered that her husband is a murderer, the narrator is exhilarated because at last she has proof positive that he is not still in love with Rebecca!

Well-armoured with that knowledge, she goes calmly snipping roses in the rose-garden.

Then comes the moment of truth: the climactic confrontation with Mrs. Danvers.

It’s over that day’s menu.

The narrator finds it unsatisfactory, so she draws a pencil slash across the whole thing and sends it back to the kitchen. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Danvers materializes to ask why the menu has been sent back.

“I don’t understand,” (Mrs. Danver says)

I looked at her, a rose in my hand.

“Those cutlets and that salmon were sent in yesterday,” I said. “I saw them on the side-board. I should prefer something hot today. If they won’t eat the cold (leftovers) in the kitchen, you had better throw the stuff away. So much waste goes on in this house anyway that a little more won’t make any difference.”

She stared at me. She did not say anything. I put the rose in the vase with the others.

Excellent shade, Narrator. Methinks you are moving from being Alice in Wonderland to becoming Joan of Arc.

Stay tuned.

The Sea, the Dog, the Cove: Rebecca, Ch. 10

We bent down, passing underneath, and when I stood straight again, brushing the raindrops from my hair, I saw that the valley was behind us, and the azaleas, and the trees, and, as Maxim had described to me that afternoon many weeks ago in Monte Carlo, we were standing on a little narrow cove, the shingle hard and white under our feet, and the sea was breaking on the shore beyond us.

Maxim smiled down at me, watching the bewilderment on my face.

“It’s a shock, isn’t it?” he said, “no one ever expects it. The contrast is too sudden, it almost hurts.” He picked up a stone and threw it across the beach for Jasper. “Fetch it, good man,” and Jasper streaked away in search of the stone, his long black ears flapping in the wind.

The enchantment was no more, the spell was broken. We were mortal again, two people playing on a beach.

Well, I Never, Mr. de Winter! Rebecca, Ch. 6

“What are you going to have?” he said.

“I’ve had mine already,” I told him, “and I can only stay four minutes anyway.”

“Bring me coffee, a boiled egg, toast, marmalade, and a tangerine,” he said to the waiter. And he took an emery board out of his pocket and began filing his nails.




Ch. 4, Rebecca

What we have now — after the very stream-of-consciousness opening where the young narrator waxes on about how wonderful, how all-encompassing, her knowledge of the English countryside is — is a scene with the aloof Mr. de Winter.

Self is so in awe of Du Maurier. Note for note, the trapdoor is being set. She can feel it in every sentence, the engine of the plot is that strong. In fact, it’s rather relentless.

And yet, these are people, actual people, not caricatures. Oh, well, maybe Mr. de Winter is Mr. Rochester 2.0, but he’s a bit more sociable. More attractive, in self’s humble opinion. To be perfectly honest, self never found Mr. Rochester attractive, not in Jane Eyre and not even in Wide Sargasso Sea when he was younger and much more kinky. And Monte Carlo is a way more festive setting than Thornfield. There’s nothing the least bit gothic about Monte Carlo.

Apologies for the constant comparison of Rebecca to Jane Eyre, but self just can’t help it. For one thing, Daphne Du Maurier was very aware of the long shadow of Charlotte Bronte. Even though she wasn’t trying to re-write Jane Eyre, she was so aware of it.

The satire here, by the way, is quite delicious.

This is from the first conversation between the narrator and Mr. de Winter:

“Your friend,” he began, “she is very much older than you. Is she a relation? Have you known her long?” I saw he was still puzzled by us.

“She’s not really a friend,” I told him, “she’s an employer. She’s training me to be a thing called a companion, and she pays me ninety pounds a year.”

“I did not know one could buy companionship,” he said; “it sounds a primitive idea. Rather like the eastern slave market.”

“I looked up the word ‘companion’ once in the dictionary,” I admitted, “and it said ‘a companion is a friend of the bosom.’ “




Stay tuned.


Ch. 3, Rebecca: The Odious Mrs. Van Hopper

She paused, expecting him to smile, but he went on smoking his cigarette, and I noticed, faint as gossamer, the line between his brows. — Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

Cost of Paper, vol. 5 (published by 1888 Center, Orange, CA)


Sadly, both the AWP2019 panel proposals self was included in were rejected. One was a mixed-genre panel, the brainchild of Philadelphia poet Anne-Adele Wight. The other was a Quarterly West panel on experimental fiction.

Nevertheless, self still has much to celebrate. Such as, her story This Is End being in The Cost of Paper, vol. 5 (It’s the last story in the anthology). The anthology’s editor was Julianne Berokoff.

Self just had another story picked up for the Winter 2018 issue of Prairie Schooner, due out this December. And the two stories couldn’t be more different: the one in The Cost of Paper is space fantasy, the Prairie Schooner story is straight-up realism.

This Is End is the third story in a cycle about a boy named Dragon, a missing girl named Her, a teacher named Fire Lizard, a bully named Big, the bully’s friend Drinker, and a new student named Knot.

Dragon saw Big knock Her out cold (in the middle of a class, why). Her never came back to class, but sometimes Dragon thinks he sees her waving to him from a window of an abandoned space station called the Kobayashi Maru. Ever since then, he’s been itching for revenge.

Big doesn’t show up to class one day, Knot asks Dragon:

“Is it true? Tumor he had?”

We spot-check each other for tumors. We’re so afraid of it.

“Ecchymosis?” Knot persists.

Here’s a link to 1888 Center’s Bookstore.

Stay tuned.






Story # 11: “Security” (Olive is 72. Henry’s still catatonic. But, all is not lost: her only child is back on the East Coast!)

“So this is your house,” she said, and gave that laugh again, because she could have wept at the darkness, the smell of old dog hair and soiled laundry, a sourness that seemed to come from the walls.

Story # 4, OLIVE KITTREDGE: A Little Burst

Olive has been eavesdropping at her son’s wedding. Suzanne, her new daughter-in-law, and a guest are discussing her son:

“He’s had a hard time, you know. And being an only child — that really sucked for him.”

Seaweed murmurs, and Suzanne’s oar slices through the water again. “The expectations, you know.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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