11/16/07

Distraction

I was distracted yesterday when reading a review of my beloved North & South, saying that the ending was too far-fetched. So I had to find it on Project Gutenberg and read it for myself, which meant the next two hours was spent reading favorite parts to see how Gaskell handled them. I really admire people like Andrew Davies who can take these old texts and make them speak to a new audience, which means I'm looking forward to his 6-hour miniseries adaptation of Sense & Sensibility, to be released next year. But some of the original passages make me happy too. This one is from the dinner party:

Some dispute arose, which was warmly contested; it was referred to Mr. Thornton, who had hardly spoken before; but who now gave an opinion, the grounds of which were so clearly stated that even the opponents yielded. Margaret's attention was thus called to her host; his whole manner as master of the house, and entertainer of his friends, was so straightforward, yet simple and modest, as to be thoroughly dignified. Margaret thought she had never seen him to so much advantage. When he had come to their house, there had been always something, either of over-eagerness or of that kind of vexed annoyance which seemed ready to pre-suppose that he was unjustly judged, and yet felt too proud to try and make himself better understood. But now, among his fellows, there was no uncertainty as to his position. He was regarded by them as a man of great force of character; of power in many ways. There was no need to struggle for their respect. He had it, and he knew it; and the security of this gave a fine grand quietness to his voice and ways, which Margaret had missed before.
Silly Margaret. And silly Elizabeth Gaskell for her complete disregard for the need to create shorter paragraphs. You couldn't get away with these monsters today.

Here's another, this time immediately after Margaret's rejection:

When Mr. Thornton had left the house that morning he was almost blinded by his baffled passion. He was as dizzy as if Margaret, instead of looking, and speaking, and moving like a tender graceful woman, had been a sturdy fish-wife, and given him a sound blow with her fists. He had positive bodily pain,--a violent headache, and a throbbing intermittent pulse. He could not bear the noise, the garish light, the continued rumble and movement of the street. He called himself a fool for suffering so; and yet he could not, at the moment, recollect the cause of his suffering, and whether it was adequate to the consequences it had produced. It would have been a relief to him, if he could have sat down and cried on a door-step by a little child, who was raging and storming, through his passionate tears, at some injury he had received. He said to himself, that he hated Margaret, but a wild, sharp sensation of love cleft his dull, thunderous feeling like lightning, even as he shaped the words expressive of hatred. His greatest comfort was in hugging his torment; and in feeling, as he had indeed said to her, that though she might despise him, contemn him, treat him with her proud sovereign indifference, he did not change one whit. She could not make him change. He loved her, and would love her; and defy her, and this miserable bodily pain.
Stupid cow Margaret!! Go kiss him already!

Sigh. Yeah, so that means my evening was wasted. I went and watched "Life"--I can't watch it when it airs on Wednesday nights because we only get airwaves, which means crap reception this close to the lake. I like taking my computer to bed instead, but it means I have to wait an extra day for NBC to upload it. I took munchies too, although I've gained three pounds for no apparent reason other than I've been eating too much. And with the holidays coming! Drat!

Today will be The Sux. I have 8,983 things to do before we drive to my parents' tonight. Then tomorrow Keven and I fly to DC to visit Richard & Jenny. We're staying three nights, making up for the missed Chicago trip in September.

Funny: In that post about the missed Chicago trip, what else was I blathering on about? North & South. I am so damn boring. Maybe I need a hobby...

There's a field nearby
With words written in stone:
My love will not die--
Please let be known.
"Distraction" by Angels & Airwaves

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