More 'Mystery Story' atmosphere with the yellowing half-legible message found in a hole in the ex-schoolroom wall. Choice of coloured folders. Questions of address – Jane's use of 'Miss' to Coral Frobisher – as if enforced by the ex-schooloom's ambiance.
Typo: When in came to me
More war prize business as Jane's spywork continues to unfold under this business's guise – by visiting Jenna (near the Usurper's tower) and Lady Blanchet for them to choose their prizes.
This description of Palace Victoria seems to represent a mutant form of what I envisage the 'Warriors of Love' novels are going to be, mutant in the sense that the novels are not monstrous but nevertheless mazy by enticing us down its passages:-
<<"What the Palace Victoria?" Alison asked. "Or just this bit of it?"
"The whole palace, really. Who would have set out to create such a maze?"
"I don't suppose that anyone ever did. The oldest parts are supposed to have been built during the Old Time. Over the last thousand years, or two thousand, or however long it is, people have been adding to it, making changes. It's grown more like some monstrous vegetable than a set of buildings."
"Or a fungus," Nicola added, grimacing at a growth of mould near the ceiling.>>
More slave considerations:
<<Fuquibelle showed us out, holding herself erect, and stepping like a great lady. It occurred to me to wonder whether her enslavement had served to exaggerate her hauteur. With her status so changed, perhaps she clung with increasing ferocity to such outward signs of aristocracy as were permitted. While I didn't doubt that she was suffering just punishment for past crimes, I found myself on the edge of tears in contemplating her plight.>>
More Tuerqui historical references that I suspect are important to the rest of these novels.
Talk of Registered Brothel Stock ... whoredom volunteers.
Mass tumbles at Lady Blanchet's. Jane continues to 'grow'. All cleverly conveyed. This novel seems to a a sort of massive prologue as a whole rather than a novel proper with all its plottish groundwork and ambiance being set up. The test is whether readers will also enjoy it as a separate novel. Too early to ask this question, probably, as I have two more chapters to read.
I think this chapter has the first mention of "recreational sex" as a blatant acknowledgement of what we infer from all the 'tumbles' ... and I wonder about this. Does this sit well with the other emotions stemming from the Goddess and love themes? Only the whole set of novels will possibly answer this question ... eventually. There seems to be a 'Palace Victoria' map of emotion still yet to plumb.
This novel is the novel of 'rosehip tea', I've decided! Only rivalled by Proust in the importance of tea in fiction.
Links to all my JANE chapter comments:
Posted at 06:39 pm by Weirdmonger
October 2, 2009 11:00 PM PDT
Thank you for that!
And thank you for pointing out the typo – now corrected.
As I write these counter-comments, I have just completed work on Chapter 10 of “Margaret” (“Warriors of Love” Volume 2). At the end of that chapter, Margaret arrives at the Palace Victoria (albeit about twelve and a half years before Jane, and in very different circumstances). The next 8 chapters of “Margaret” are to be set in and around the Palace Victoria, so I am currently about to further explore its mazes. At start of “Margaret” Chapter 11 someone says: “the palace is a maze that it might take years to explore”.
I think that the Palace Victoria may be partially inspired by my vague memories of “Gormanghast” (which I read over thirty years ago and don’t recall very clearly). There may also be something of the Temple of Karnak, which expanded for a thousand years or so, and became the world’s largest religious building (if we may regard it as a single building). I think that elements of many buildings, real and fictitious, may have contributed to the Palace Victoria. Its location is approximately that currently occupied by the British Museum (a large and complex structure that may be part of the inspiration). It’s just across the street from Lady Blanchet’s house on Bedfoot Square (= Bedford Square, which may be located, by anyone who cares to do so, in the London A-Z street atlas).
Fuquibelle forms the first study in slavery in “The Warriors of Love”, but she will not be the last. Her slave name seems a common one, there will be several different slaves called Fuquibelle in the ensuing volumes.
The material about Registered Brothel Stock looks forward to “Tuerqui”, which will form Volume 5 of “The Warriors of Love”.
In a sense, “Jane” is a massive prologue to “The Warriors of Love”. Particularly towards the end of the novel, quite a lot of material looks forward to subsequent volumes. I suppose this is inevitable if the twelve volumes are to form an organic whole.
I covered the subject of sex at some length in counter-comment on Book 3 Chapter 3. Here, I will merely add that I think there is a tension in “Jane” between recreational sex and emotional involvement.
There is certainly plenty of rosehip tea drunk in “Jane”, not least by Jane herself. In “The Warriors of Love”, there is (evidently) little long distance trade. There is no mention of anyone eating or drinking anything that could not be grown in England. Hence there is no tea in the sense of the familiar beverage made from leaves grown in India, Ceylon or China. Coffee is also missing. Of the beverages available to her, rosehip tea is Jane’s favourite, with plenty of honey. She has a sweet tooth, and – no doubt – chocolate is unavailable to her.