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Tuesday, September 08, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 3, Lundin, Chapter 1



Jane and the other civil servants arrive in Lundin to 'divvy up' the army's prizes ... or loot or booty?  Evocative description of arrival at the Palace Victoria where they will staying.  Two previous slaves, Fech and Carrie – now freed as fluffily dressed Susan and Florence – are in attendance.


Talk of slavery and liberated slaves and a 'gene of slavery' ...  and the now defeated Usurper (who is rumoured to be holed up in a tower) ...plus pot shots at framed portraits of tax gatherers and of the Usurper (a mugshot shy?), commingled with amusing talk of the Usurper's image on banknotes and coins!  Much of this book's genius is to work by osmosis as well as by direct communication of the written word.  Talk of plumbers.


Two typos:

Usurper"  She (i.e. no full stop)

unable gain any confidence


An ethos of retribution that the 'good guys' in this book seem to harbour, e.g.:

"It wasn't too pleasant, Miss Frobisher, but I survived.  And now I have a few scores to settle… prisoners who deserve to suffer…  You know…"


Below is a telling passage of dialogue with yet another named character Jennifer Horton (why do all the characters, even very minor, passing ones, need actual names? Perhaps that will become clearer.):

"Does that mean," Myrtle said, clearly horrified by the idea, "that you used to work for Nadine Next, Miss Horton?  You were one of the rebels?  Treason is sister to blasphemy!"

"Miss Inch, wasn't it?" Miss Horton said slowly, sounding offended.  "I am neither a traitor nor a blasphemer, and I'll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your head, young lady."

"Many loyal subjects of Her Majesty," Coral added, "were once employed by her former political rivals.  There's no shame in that."

"As a matter of fact," Miss Horton said reflectively, "Nadine Next was still Her Majesty's ally when I was seized.  But for my enslavement, though, I might have found myself on the wrong side in the civil war.  Even the worst things can sometimes have their benefits…  Anyway – this is the dining room.  You take your food and drink from the counter at the far end." 


A hoot of a joke after a greasy breakfast about 'greasing the passage of money.'  The civil servants being bribed by a Full English?

Much talk of sausages.

And of now Major Modest Clay who is in the vicinity.



Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

Posted at 01:12 pm by Weirdmonger

PF Jeffery
September 17, 2009   07:51 PM PDT
Thank you for that!

And thank you for spotting the typos, which I have now corrected.

As to Modesty Clay now being a major, the epilogue of my former novel “Odalisque” has this to say:

“Having distinguished herself (with the rank of major) during the fourth battle of Lundin, Modesty Clay was promoted to colonel and given command of the Lundin Imperial Light Cavalry Regiment.”

While “The Warriors of Love” will not abide by everything stated in either the body, the footnotes or the epilogue of “Odalisque”, Modesty’s military career seems to be shaping up without change.

The stuff about the Usurper’s face on banknotes may have been inspired by the French revolution. According to the story, when Louis XVI attempted to flee Paris, he was recognised and seized because someone recognised him from his portrait on a banknote. Personally, I don’t believe that this tale is true. I own one of the banknotes with Louis XVI’s portrait, and cannot believe that he could have been recognised on the basis of that picture. All the same, it occurs to me to wonder whether this story is the reason Stalin never placed his portrait on a banknote.

Issuing now worthless banknotes to the troops would, of course, have cost nothing. Whether the Usurper would have proved more recognisable than Louis XVI on that basis is a matter hard to gauge.

Everyone in “Jane”, perhaps, harbours an ethos of retribution (not just the good guys, or should that be good girls?). In fact, I think that most people in the real world harbour such an ethos. We have, in our time, become accustomed to the idea of felons having “human rights”, but I think that such notions are very recent (and probably temporary). Put it to a public vote, I feel almost certain, and law breakers would be treated with less leniency. In fact, they are treated less leniently in much of the world today, including the USA. The Americans don’t, for example, release convicts on the grounds that they are (or are supposedly) dying.

This, from “Margaret” (“The Warriors of Love” Volume 2), may be about as liberal as anyone in Jane’s world is on this issue:

“And the robber deserves enslavement. Of course he does. Only another robber would disagree with that. All the same, just now, courts enslaving people is something that leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.”

The sour taste is in recalling someone unjustly enslaved by a court.

I think that some minor, and passing, characters in “Jane” remain unnamed. And it seems to me that Miss Horton does require a name, as she is mentioned in more than one chapter. In fact, if a character is mentioned more than once, it’s handy for the person to be named. Otherwise, how are we to know that the same character is intended on the second (or subsequent) mention? Apart from that, names are important. I think that any character worthy of the word “character” should be given a name. Including characters who are mentioned, but do not appear, and such fictions within fiction as Jacqui Blood, I think that there are 145 named characters in “Jane”. That averages seven and a quarter per chapter, maybe (come to think of it) that is quite a lot. On the other hand, since some characters will certainly figure in several volumes of “The Warriors of Love” there will probably end up being less that seven and a quarter named characters per chapter over the entire 12 volumes. Naming characters allows them to be carried over from volume to volume, of course, as well as from chapter to chapter.

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