208–Bubbly; 209–The Shipping News

Heather

Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

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2 Responses

  1. Irina Novikova says:

    Heather, first of all – welcome to Virginia! I am thrilled that you are now _only_ 100 miles away from where I live! If you ever come to Williamsburg – and you should, because you and your boys will love it here! – please let me know!

    I actually have two comments. First – about the Glyde’s housekeeper. I actually didn’t find her annoying… In fact, I admire her behavior at the end. We now don’t have servants (especially in US), but from reading the books my understanding is that a good housekeeper should run the house according to the wishes and to the maximum pleasure of her master without expressing any of her personal opinions. And this is what she does. For the housekeeper Lord and Lady Glyde and their guests are above judgement, higher class. So it is actually surprising that Mrs. Michelson openly show her disapproval for the Glyde’s action later in her story. And as for her admiration for Fosco… I actually think that this is intentional. Remember that Fosco is described as a charming person, who can make everyone like him almost against their will. However, from main heroins Laura instinctively hates him, and Marian is too smart. So Wilki Collins uses the housekeeper to illustrate Fosco’s effect on women, showing how easy it is for him to make otherwise reasonable Mrs. Michelson to see no wrong in anything he does.

    And on another matter. I read this book several time when I was younger (it is actually still quite popular in Russia), and I always loved Marian, of coarse. Nevertheless, I don’t think Laura is weak and helpless… at least before the disaster strikes that breaks her. And this is not surprising. First of all, Laura is young – she is only 20 years old. Second, she lived all her premarital life surrounded by very good people who loved her and protected her. So she is naive, but only because she lived in a bubble of goodness and fairness and didn’t really have a chance to experience all the dirt and sorrow of real world.
    And this is not the case for Marian. For example, Marian loves her sister and don’t complain about her situation, but she is poor and does not really have means to support herself. This is not in the book but I have a feeling that finding her peace with that (somewhat humiliating) position was not easy for her when she was younger (I bet as a teenager she was not easy to handle).

    • Heather says:

      I totally agree with you on the Glyde/Fosco points you make. She is an example of an excellent housekeeper (who should have been better treated!) it was her over-moralizing in the beginning that I found tiresome, but also, I thought, probably a type-of-someone Collins’ had met.
      Ditto my agreement of Laura and Marian’s assessments. I also think Laura is shown to be a level-headed girl who wouldn’t have read penny-dreadfuls or pulp fiction (though this is a bit early for that, isn’t it) or anything to have warned her that people could possibly so ill-use someone.
      And BOY do I agree about Marian.