Nemonymous (nemonymous) wrote,

'Odalisque' by PF Jeffery (DFL's Comments)

Chapter 42 – Intrigue


The novel remains not becalmed but ‘bebusied’ in the present relatively small time frame (story told mainly through dialogue) – to such an extent one wonders whether the earlier part of the narration is the (extended) Prologue and the current scenario in Lundin the Novel proper? 

The dialogue continues to be blessed with the most exquisite prose interludes that includes the start of this chapter:


Snow continued to lend the gloomy schoolroom an unaccustomed brightness. After two days without lessons, the metallic smell of ink was not very marked, but that of chalk dust persisted. Sunshine beyond the window, whilst allowing birds to sing from a blue sky, had done nothing to initiate a thaw. My bottom smarted less than it had before the weekend, but was not yet sufficiently recovered to sit comfortably on a wooden seat, polished by uneasy generations of strapped children.


This chapter is sown thickly with, indeed, intrigue plus lies, lies about lies, spying. disguise, passports, alibis, easy murder, crossed lines of innocence ...

A strangely coarsened (?) Fluff in giant rabbit slippers (now as Lady Bosset and surrogately pregnant temporarily replacing Miss Miles as Tuerqui’s Governess till the sour Miss Sweetman arrives) plus the loveable twins Queuti and Norti ... thus, characters continue to teem! All most delightful as well as pungent.


Enjoyed this:


Having soon exhausted plausible commonplaces, I started on the wild invention of romantic lies.


Intrigued by not being able even to have the relief  of *thinking* of loved ones when in bad places:


Hastily, I suppressed the drift of my reflections – there was a wrongness in thinking of my daughter in this viper’s lair.


Tuerqui seen almost as a co-equal in powerful conspirational oligarchy(?):


“I’m pleased you see it that way, Lady Margaret. You know, things have been going rather well for me. I do believe that I’m now the second most powerful man in Lundin. It seems to me that our interests could coincide more than you believe – you’ll see.”


One wonders how such ‘wickedness’ as ‘Surrenity’ can be considered to be so damning when, according to the novel’s narration, this ‘crime’ is so rampant among most women(!):


“He suspects that Miss Miles may be touched with the wickedness of Surrey[1]. It’s all very well in charge of the little girls – but surely not one of your daughter’s age.”

[1] Wickedness of Surrey – Surrenity, women pleasuring one another sexually. See Chapter 34, note 1 and Chapter 37, note 1.


I liked this footnote for personal reason (coming from Colchester, Essex as I do):


[1] Mitchal and Toppa were the god and goddess of Coal Chest in North Essex. Mitchal, represented as a man with face blackened by coal dust and wearing a tall gleaming hat, was the Lord of Coal. Toppa, represented as a showgirl, was the Lady of the Chest. Toppa remains the chief goddess of Coal Chest, although the worship of Mitchal has fallen into disuse. 


I don’t know if this is a typo, as it is contained in dialogue where the speaker may be the culprit of leaving out the ‘ in let’s:

 Lets make ourselves comfy


Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.

The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: 



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