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EMMA, Vol. III Chapter X

Mr. Weston shows up one day to fetch Emma, telling her only that she is needed at Randalls, something has happened.

Emma goes with Mr. Weston at once, and pleads with him to tell her what has happened.

“Do not be impatient, Emma; it will all come out too soon.”

“Good God! Mr. Weston, tell me at once. Something has happened in Brunswick Square. I know it has . . . Mr. Weston, do not trifle with me.”

Brunswick Square is the London address of the Knightleys. Emma’s sister and brother-in-law and their children are there. More importantly, Mr. Knightley (George) has just left for Brunswick Square, alone, on horseback (How very dashing! How self wishes she, too, could leap on a horse and say, at a moment’s notice: Headed to London! Ta!)

Mr. Weston hastens to reassure Emma: “Upon my honour . . . It is not in the smallest degree connected with any human being of the name of Knightley.”

Indeed? The plot thickens!

Stay tuned.

High Comedy

EMMA: Volume II Chapter XV

Far be it for self to attempt to sum up the Immortal Jane, but time is short and self has a book (nay, many books!) to complete. If only self could keep up this arch language for a moment longer — so that she could finish her work-in-progress set in, naturally, Regency England!

But, she digresses.

A chapter or two ago, Mrs. Weston confided to Emma that she believes Mr. Knightley is in love with Jane Fairfax. This suggestion puts Emma in high dudgeon (even though she has never, hitherto, thought of Mr. Knightley in any way other than a brother)

So, Emma decides to probe about the nature of his feelings for Jane Fairfax (Among other things, Jane was the recipient of a piano from a mysterious benefactor. And, pianos being expensive, suspicion on the possible donor centers on Mr. Knightley). She asks him a direct question about Jane. What follows is a most delightful episode of “foot pressing.” Self never encountered the like in any of the Jane Austen novels she has read to date. You know, when someone is about to put her/his foot in her/his mouth and someone gives you a kick under the table? As a kind of warning?

Here’s the scene:

Mr. Knightley was hard at work upon the lower buttons of his thick leather gaiters, and either the exertion of getting them together, or some other cause, brought the colour into his face, as he answered,

“Oh, are you there? — But you are miserably behind-hand. Mr. Cole gave me a hint of it six weeks ago.”

He stopped. Emma felt her foot pressed by Mrs. Weston, and did not know herself what to think. In a moment he went on —

“That will never be, however, I can assure you. Miss Fairfax, I dare say, would not have me if I were to ask her — and I am very sure I shall never ask her.”

He becomes annoyed with Emma’s questions, and then thoughtful. Jane Fairfax, Mr. Knightley says, “has a fault. She has not the open temper which a man would wish for in a wife.”

!!!!! Emma, open your eyes! Open your eyes!

Stay tuned.

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.

 

 

Mr. Elton Explains To Emma Why He Is Not Interested in Harriet Smith

“Miss Smith is a very good sort of girl; and I should be very happy to see her respectably settled. I wish her extremely well: and, no doubt, there are men who might not object to — Everybody has their level. But as for myself, I am not, I think, quite so much at a loss. I need not so totally despair of an equal alliance, as to be addressing myself to Miss Smith!”

Translation: Miss Smith is beneath me!

So annoyed does Mr. Elton become with Emma for assuming he likes Miss Smith that, as soon as the carriage arrives at the Vicarage, he is out “before another syllable passed.”

What a boor!

Stay tuned.

How Mr. Elton’s Proposal Is Received: EMMA, Book I Chapter XV

Emma, riding alone with Mr. Elton in a carriage (What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know how unseemly it is for a young, unmarried woman to be riding alone in a carriage with a young, single man, late at night? Self would like to have a word with Mr. Woodhouse, Emma’s father!)

Emma to Mr. Elton: Mr. Elton, my astonishment is much beyond any thing I can express. After such behaviour, as I have witnessed during the last month, to Miss Smith — such attentions as I have been in the daily habit of observing — to be addressing me in this manner — this is an unsteadiness of character, indeed, which I had not supposed possible! Believe me, sir, I am far, very far, from gratified in being the object of such professions.

In other words, Emma declines Mr. Elton’s proposal.

She then goes on to say — since Mr. Elton is rather, shall we say, dense — “I have no thoughts of matrimony at present.”

lol

lol

lol

Stay tuned.

Anton Jelinek: MY ANTONIA, Book I, Chapter XV

Self is reading My Antonia in Philadelphia.

A very warm, muggy Philadelphia.

And she’s in a section of My Antonia that takes place in the middle of a hard Nebraska winter.

lol

In Chapter XV we meet a new character, Anton Jelinek, who the narrator, Jim Burden, cannot help admiring for his “frank, manly faith.” Jelinek’s business is to make coffins.

  • “The last time I made one of these, Mrs. Burden,” he said, as he sorted and tried his chisels, “was for a fellow in the Black Tiger mine, up above Silverton, Colorado. The mouth of that mine goes right into the face of the cliff, and they used to put us in a bucket and run us over on a trolley and shoot us into the shaft. The bucket traveled across a box cañon three hundred feet deep, and about a third full of water. Two Swedes had fell out of that bucket once, and hit the water, feet down. If you’ll believe it, they went to work the next day. You can’t kill a Swede. But in my time a little Eyetalian tried the high dive, and it turned out different with him. We was snowed in then, like we are now, and I happened to be the only man in camp that could make a coffin for him. It’s a handy thing to know, when you knock about like I’ve done.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Early Draft: Matias, 1746

Self found an old chapter of her novel-in-progress (which is right now 310 pages; it used to be 323 pages)

This chapter is titled “Education, 1746” and begins:

The Bishop schooled Matias carefully. He gave Matias instruction on the governance of the Islands, and the manner in which the archipelago had come under the tutelage of Spain.

And then the history of the Islands unfolds, from Magellan’s voyage to the succeeding century, and all is told in dialogue.

“I must rest,” the Bishop said. “We shall continue on this topic tomorrow.”

Matias returned to his room and lay, restless and wakeful, far into the night.

Self loves, loves, loves these early drafts. That is fine writing, even if it was done by herself (lol). There is almost no backstory. Matias, the young priest, is being schooled by the Bishop. And it is only the two of them, chapter after chapter. There is a garden, and an old house, and birds, and heat, and the Bishop sometimes takes middle-of-the-night walks in just his nightshirt, and Matias catches him, and there’s light from a thin moon. And then nothing.

The parts self added, she doesn’t really like that they spell out so much history. In fact, the only new parts self likes are the parts during the ship voyage from Cadiz to Manila. And the introduction of four soldiers who escort Matias to the island. But these soldiers serve absolutely no plot. They simply take Matias and leave him there, on the beach. Then an old woman emerges from the forest and dances for Matias, and leaves again. And Matias lives in a swamp with another old woman. And finally he meets a half-breed named Diego.

That’s it! There are no big, dramatic scenes. But maybe that’s the story self wanted to write. Maybe that’s the real story: colonization in a hypnotic state, with no drama.

Ugh, writing in long form is truly difficult. She has to get the words down, but those words mean nothing. It’s only after, when she has to carve them into some kind of meaning. She’s not talking about plot, she’s talking about meaning. Her kind of writing is truly writing without a safety net, for she never has a road map.

She has a friend, Caroline (a member of her writers group, and a fine, fine writer herself) who read her short story collection. Last week, Caroline and self met in a café and Caroline told her which stories in the collection could/should be expanded. Caroline is the mother of three young children (all still in grade school) and has just started a graduate program at St. Mary’s, yet she read almost 300 pages of self’s work. That kind of generosity is priceless. These stories are not new, but because of Caroline, self knows which ones she has to try and work on some more.

She hopes she can do all this work in Annaghmakerrig. If she can just. Get. There. Without. Falling. Apart.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Re-reading Robert E. Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power

An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lot more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings. — Robert Greene


Plus, from one of her old journals:

  • Today I had a massage . . . lol

Written, of course, in Bacolod. In Bacolod, self was always so mellow. She was never angry. A one-hour massage averaged 500 pesos, about $9. She had daily massage, over there. Heck, she could even have had two massages daily, if she felt like it. All the masahistas had strong, unerring hands. They seemed to know by instinct. Only once did self ever have a bad message in Bacolod: the woman just moved her hands skimmingly over the skin, didn’t really knead it. Ugh, self felt she’d spent a full hour just being tickled.

One night, during a massage, self kept hearing the distant, popping sounds of what she thought were gunshots. It made her so uneasy. The masahista said it was Firecrackers. Oh, it was New Year’s Eve? It had completely slipped self’s mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Opening Page, an Old Manuscript (244 pp) About World War II in Bacolod

It was mid-April. Honorato was sent to the mountains. He had just turned 18.

His parents worried because he was tall, because he was good-looking, because he was the eldest and bore his family’s hopes on his slender shoulders. So, hide, his father told him. Get as far away from here as you can.

How long must I stay in the mountains, Honorato asked.

As long as the Hapon are here, his father said. And don’t try to come back, not until the war is over. We will get word to you, somehow.

 

It was still dark when the enkargado knocked softly on the door of Honorato’s room. “‘Toto,” he called softly. “Time to get up.”

 

Still Reading THE DOOR

Self doesn’t know why, she is still reading The Door. She thought she’d be through yesterday, she only had 10 pages to go. But here it is, over a day later. And she can’t’t even skim the last 10 pages. No, she has to laboriously work through each page, feeling all the time like dying.

She hates Magda Szabo.

Narrator to Husband: “We are all traitors.”

Husband: “Not traitors. Just too many things to do.”

Aargh, aargh, aargh.

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