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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Reading progress update: I've read 130 out of 190 pages.

The Solitary Summer - Elizabeth von Arnim

I've read through July to this point.  So far, it's the most consistently introspective section, and deals more with social questions concerning the differences in social classes, poverty, and morality.

 

The points that made me pause (for one reason or another):

 

"The idea of the June baby striding across the firmament and hurling the stars about as carelessly as though they were tennis-balls was so magnificent that it sent shivers of awe through me as I read.

 

"But if you break all your dolls," added April, turning severely to June, and eyeing the distorted remains in her hand, "I don't think lieber Gott will let you in at all. When you're big and have tiny Junes—real live Junes—I think you'll break them too, and lieber Gott doesn't love mummies what breaks their babies."

 

"But I must break my dolls," cried June, stung into indignation by what she evidently regarded as celestial injustice; "lieber Gott made me that way, so I can't help doing it, can I, mummy?"

 

On these occasions I keep my eyes fixed on my book, and put on an air of deep abstraction; and indeed, it is the only way of keeping out of theological disputes in which I am invariably worsted."

 

In Elizabeth's place, I too would feign deep abstraction if faced with this kind of logic.

 

 

"[...] something inside me had kept on saying aggressively all the morning, "Elizabeth, don't you know you are due in the village? Why don't you go then? When are you going? Don't you know you ought to go? Don't you feel you must? Elizabeth, pull yourself together and go" Strange effect of a grey sky and a cool wind! For I protest that if it had been warm and sunny my conscience would not have bothered about me at all. We had a short fight over it, in which I got all the knocks, as was evident by the immediate swelling of the bump alluded to above, and then I gave in, and by two o'clock in the afternoon was lifting the latch of the first door and asking the woman who lived behind it what she had given the family for dinner. "

 

Her conscience seems to have been reincarnated into my conscience, for this is exactly the voice I hear in my own head. 

 

 

"It is sin" he said shortly.

"Then the forgiveness is sure."

"Not if they do not seek it."

I was silent, for I wished to reply that I believed they would be forgiven in spite of themselves, that probably they were forgiven whether they sought it or not, and that you cannot limit things divine; but who can argue with a parson? These people do not seek forgiveness because it never enters their heads that they need it. The parson tells them so, it is true, but they regard him as a person bound by his profession to say that sort of thing, and are sharp enough to see that the consequences of their sin, foretold by him with such awful eloquence, never by any chance come off."

 

Truer words have never been spoken.

 

 

"Oh, the doctor—" said the mother with a shrug, "he's no use."

"You must do what he tells you, or he cannot help you."

"That last medicine he sent me all but killed me," she said, washing vigorously. "I'll never take any more of his, nor shall any child of mine."

"What medicine was it?"

She wiped her hand on her apron, and reaching across to the cupboard took out a little bottle. "I was in bed two days after it," she said, handing it to me—"as though I were dead, not knowing what was going on round me." The bottle had contained opium, and there were explicit directions written on it as to the number of drops to be taken and the length of the intervals between the taking.

"Did you do exactly what is written here?" I asked.

"I took it all at once. There wasn't much of it, and I was feeling bad."

"But then of course it nearly killed you. I wonder it didn't quite. What good is it our taking all the trouble we do to send that long distance for the doctor if you don't do as he orders?"

"I'll take no more of his medicine. If it had been any good and able to cure me, the more I took the quicker I ought to have been cured."

 

Oh.my.god.