Posts Tagged ‘creepiness’

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General Villette Style Creepiness

April 29, 2011

Last time I posted I was discussing the hiring practices of Lucy Snowe’s new boss, Madame Beck.  I posited that aforementioned practices were somewhat “relaxed”.  Well it seems that this lackadaisical attitude permeates all aspects of her life.  Here’s a description of the woman that Lucy will replace:

Beside a table, on which flared the remnant of a candle guttering to waste in the socket, a coarse woman, heterogeneously clad in a broad striped showy silk dress and a stiff apron, sat in a chair fast asleep.  To complete the picture, and leave no doubt as to the state of matters, a bottle and an empty glass stood at the sleeping beauty’s elbow.

Psst.  Madame Beck…I think maybe you should start checking references.  When you hire any wayfarer and wanderer that shows up to your door you end up hiring help that passes out in a drunken stupor when they are caring for your children.  AND she fell asleep with a candle burning–fire hazard!

And recall this previous conversation regarding Lucy’s predecessor went like this…

He gazed steadily.  “Do you need her services?”

“I could do with them.  You know I am disgusted with Madame Svini.”

Not, note, “Yes I could use a replacement for Madame Svini because she is a fall asleep tippler who doesn’t extinguish her candles and any minute she may endanger my children with her negligence and/or set my curtains on fire with her refusal to follow basic fire safety precautions.”

This beginning of Lucy’s new job did remind me of the first episode of Newsradio where Dave Foley’s Dave Nelson has to fire his predecessor on his first day at the studio.  I wonder how many subtle Villette references there were in that show?

But I’m not done discussing the oddity of Madame Beck.  Here’s the first night of Lucy’s stay in the maison de Beck

I was a light sleeper; in the dead of night I suddenly awoke.  All was hushed, but a white figure stood in the room — Madame in her night-dress.

Scary….or sexy?

Moving without perceptible sound, she visited the three children in the three beds;

Awww.  Sweet.

she approached me: I feigned sleep, and she studied me long.  A small pantomime ensued, curious enough.  I dare say she sat a quarter of an hour on the edge of the bed, gazing at my face.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!   AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! (Least fun pantomime ever)

She then drew nearer, bent closer over me; slightly raised my cap, and turned back the border so as to expose my hair; she looked at my hand lying on the bedclothes.

Get. Out. NOW!!!

Creepy right?  And just when you think it can’t get creepier Madame Beck discovers the locks of Miss Marchmont’s hair that Lucy carries around with her.

Ew.

What’s Bronte going to throw at us next?  Madame Beck forcing Lucy to polish her many jars of urine?  Lucy’s construction of fingernail effigies of the entire Beck family?

I’ll keep you posted,

Jon

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Regrets, I’ve Had Few

November 14, 2009

…but on of them isn’t reading Swann’s Way (by the way the subject post and this first sentence fragment should be sung to the tune of that Paul Anka/Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” or “Strangers in the Night”–just make sure its Sinatra!).

Well its Friday night and I’m home reading Proust.  I can’t decide if this makes me really intellectual and cultured or just nerdy.  I think I’ll let you make the call.

But part of the reason I’m spending my Friday night thusly is because I’m enjoying this book so much.  So far its a corker!  Sure there’s some room for complaint…let me enumerate

  • Not a lot happens. I’m on page 43 and this guy is still in bed.  At this rate this 450 page book is going to end at breakfast.  And where are the damn madeleines?  Bring on the cookies!
  • Some of the metaphors are a little…extended. For instance:

My mother did not come, and with no consideration for my pride (which was invested in her not denying the story that she was supposed to have asked me to let her know the results of some search) asked Francoise to say these words to me: “There is no answer,” words I have so often since then heard the doormen in grand hotels or the footmen in bawdy houses bring back to some poor girl who exclaims in surprise, “What, he said nothing? Why, that’s impossible! Did you really give him my note? All right, I’ll go on waiting.”  And–just as she invariably assures him she does not need the extra gas jet which the doorman wants to light for her, and remains there, hearing nothing further but the few remarks about the weather exchanged by the doorman and a lackey whom he sends off suddenly, when he notices the time, to put a customer’s drink on ice…

Um..what were we talking about?  What was that doorman like?

  • The narrator’s a little creepy. The little dude is staring at his mom’s face planning where he’s going to give her a kiss.  That’s a little weird.

But I like it…and I can’t decide if its because of the idiosyncracies listed above or in spite of them.

Here’s something I know I like.  The narrator as a little boy thinking “I had heard people say that George Sand was an exemplary novelist.”  What a delightfully nerdy little kid!  I’m probably just jealous because when I was little I wasn’t so much weighing the relative merits of gender-conflicted novelists as trying to be funny because I thought that when people on TV watched TV they were watching us.

And don’t worry…I’ve just come to expect that you identify with every major character in fiction from The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘s Quasimodo to The Secret Garden‘s Colin (I’ve told you…it’s not that noticeable).  And I imagine it will continue…when we read Moby Dick you’ll be Ahab, when we read Watership Down you’ll be a bunny.

Well I think I’ve written enough for one night (Proust makes me wordy…its contagious!).

Adieu,

Jon