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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book and Radio Day

We watched a movie last night, "Pieces of April," a very original and charming, though hardly traditional, Thanksgiving story, and afterward, when I picked up Villette, David asked if I wanted to read aloud for a while. His timing was perfect, as I was only opening the book to the first page. We were both interested enough in the introduction for me to read, he to listen to, a bit of that before embarking on the first chapter. Neither of us, after all, has read this novel before. -- And has it, do you think, infected my style?

Not much happens in the early chapters, especially to young Miss Lucy Snowe, so most of what we covered last night had to do with the friendship between 16-year-old Graham and strange little six-year-old Polly, Lucy Snow serving only as observer and narrator. Today, however, I am got past (there! that sounds 19th-century, doesn't it?) Lucy's time with Mrs. Bretton and her subsequent post with Miss Marchmont, and she is crossing the Channel, with no destination in mind beyond that of the boat that carries her. Suddenly, with no home and no definite prospects, she is full of life! Between Miss Marchmont and the Channel, there was London, where Lucy stayed only briefly but long enough, it seems, to thaw from her cold, buttoned-up former self:

"Having breakfasted, out I went. Elation and pleasure were in my heart: to walk alone in London seemed of itself an adventure. Presently I found myself in Paternoster-row [here a footnote at the bottom of the page reads: ‘The street in London, north of St. Paul's Cathedral, famous in CB's day for its publishers' and booksellers' shops. The Chapter Coffee House, where the Brontës usually stayed on their rare visits to London, was situated in this street.'] -- classic ground this. I entered a bookseller's shop, kept by one Jones; I bought a little book -- a piece of extravagance I could ill afford; but I thought I would one day give or send it to Mrs. Barrett. Mr. Jones, a dried-in man of business, stood behind his desk; he seemed one of the greatest, and I one of the happiest, of beings." - Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Naturally, I love it that Lucy's first day of adventure and excitement took her to a bookshop!

Here at home, we have breakfasted, talked to a friend in Florida, dusted and vacuumed, put laundry in process, and I have homemade applesauce simmering in a double-boiler. There is music on the radio. Sarah is on the porch, watching for squirrels. (If her friend Kona comes visiting, I'll go outdoors with them and supervise a play-time.) We're all enjoying our day at home.

I do need to get out to the garden yet this afternoon to plant chard seeds, my variation (it will be experimental) on the early winter planting of spinach recommended to me by a friend for an early spring crop. -- I forgot to say that there is snow on the ground! Just enough to make the deer-hunters happy, I'm sure, and to lighten the atmospheric effects of a cold, damp, cloudy day, not too much to prevent my planting.

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