Saturday, 12 April 2014

Jane Austen, or, Shades of grey?

"April had got into the way of reading Jane Austen less for pleasure than as a counteraction to those French books and Chinese and Egyptian prints and pictures which Barry liked her to study before he tried to follow out their instructions and illustrations in bed.  After his death she never knew how to get rid of his books -- too thick to burn and quite inappropriate for Oxfam  -- so they remained, parcelled up in their dreadful privacy on the top shelf of her wardrobe.  Hidden there they were as lost to her memory as were any occasional gleams of pleasure in past experience.  Happily now, she knew the value of her own bodily privacy.  She even enjoyed the privacy of her deafness, ignoring what she did not want to hear,  even when she happened to hear it.  In the same way she could contentedly block remembrance.

....with Tiger fumbling contentedly at her feet, she reopened Mansfield Park wondering, not for the first time, whether Fanny had not been rather more than an idiot to refuse Henry.  Perhaps so. Perhaps not.  Henry might easily have turned out to be an earlier Grange-Gorman.  She poked Tiger with her toe and read on peacefully."

Time After Time  Molly Keane

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