Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Victorian Year #17

This week I continued reading Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

From Orley Farm:
It is easy to talk of repentance, but repentance will not come with a word.
The attorneys, as a rule, regarded her as guilty. To the policeman’s mind every man not a policeman is a guilty being, and the attorneys perhaps share something of this feeling.
Great was their faith in Mr. Furnival; great their faith in Solomon Aram; but greater than in all was their faith in Mr. Chaffanbrass.
“They’re paid for it; it’s their duties; just as it’s my duty to sell Hubbles and Grease’s sugar. It’s not for me to say the sugar’s bad, or the samples not equal to the last. My duty is to sell, and I sell; — and it’s their duty to get a verdict.”
If I were asked what point I’d best like to have in my favour I’d say, a deaf judge. Or if not that, one regularly tired out. I’ve sometimes thought I’d like to be a judge myself, merely to have the last word.
It would be wrong to say that she was in any degree a hypocrite. A man is no more a hypocrite because his manner and gait when he is alone are different from those which he assumes in company, than he is for wearing a dressing-gown in the morning, whereas he puts on a black coat in the evening.
Lady Mason in the present crisis of her life endeavoured to be true in all her dealings with Mrs. Orme; but nevertheless Mrs. Orme had not yet read her character.
Men have sinned deep as she had sinned, and, lepers though they have been, they have afterwards been clean. But that task of cleansing oneself is not an easy one; — the waters of that Jordan in which it is needful to wash are scalding hot. The cool neighbouring streams of life’s pleasant valleys will by no means suffice.
 From Little Women:
Then she remembered her mother’s promise and, slipping her hand under her pillow, drew out a little crimson-covered book. She knew it very well, for it was that beautiful old story of the best life ever lived, and Jo felt that it was a true guidebook for any pilgrim going on a long journey.
“Mother wants us to read and love and mind these books, and we must begin at once. We used to be faithful about it, but since Father went away and all this war trouble unsettled us, we have neglected many things. You can do as you please, but I shall keep my book on the table here and read a little every morning as soon as I wake, for I know it will do me good and help me through the day.”
“Merry Christmas, little daughters! I’m glad you began at once, and hope you will keep on. But I want to say one word before we sit down. Not far away from here lies a poor woman with a little newborn baby. Six children are huddled into one bed to keep from freezing, for they have no fire. There is nothing to eat over there, and the oldest boy came to tell me they were suffering hunger and cold. My girls, will you give them your breakfast as a Christmas present?”
“That’s loving our neighbor better than ourselves, and I like it,” said Meg, as they set out their presents while their mother was upstairs collecting clothes for the poor Hummels.
Meg’s high-heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, and Jo’s nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, which was not exactly comfortable, but, dear me, let us be elegant or die.
“I know I shall forget. If you see me doing anything wrong, just remind me by a wink, will you?” returned Jo, giving her collar a twitch and her head a hasty brush. “No, winking isn’t ladylike. I’ll lift my eyebrows if any thing is wrong, and nod if you are all right.
“How is your cat, Miss March?” asked the boy, trying to look sober while his black eyes shone with fun. “Nicely, thank you, Mr. Laurence. But I am not Miss March, I’m only Jo,” returned the young lady. “I’m not Mr. Laurence, I’m only Laurie.” “Laurie Laurence, what an odd name.”“My first name is Theodore, but I don’t like it, for the fellows called me Dora, so I made them say Laurie instead.” “I hate my name, too, so sentimental! I wish every one would say Jo instead of Josephine. How did you make the boys stop calling you Dora?”“I thrashed ’em.” “I can’t thrash Aunt March, so I suppose I shall have to bear it.” And Jo resigned herself with a sigh.
“Never mind that. I’ll tell you how we can manage. There’s a long hall out there, and we can dance grandly, and no one will see us. Please come.” The hall was empty, and they had a grand polka, for Laurie danced well, and taught her the German step, which delighted Jo, being full of swing and spring.
“I don’t believe fine young ladies enjoy themselves a bit more than we do, in spite of our burned hair, old gowns, one glove apiece and tight slippers that sprain our ankles when we are silly enough to wear them.” And I think Jo was quite right.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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