Chapter 44 – Marriage
Essentially we have seen Tuerqui is a pragmatic woman, among other features, and the arranged marriage to Lord Up Minester and the various plots (leading to fake death and fake blood) represent another example. The marriage ceremony itself is hilarious and well scripted. Tuerqui’s later flattery of her husband is also brilliant. Indeed, with coxcombs and Shakesperean absurdity, there is much going on offstage described by on-stage dialogue. Shakesperean and ‘Carry on’ films–like. The fake death itself is however on-stage rather than off. All exquisitely handled, if sometimes confusing plotwise (for me). But I’m often confused by plots here and elsewhere!
Plus interesting biological concepts as shown below:
Taking the document from his hand, I read that the most powerful person in Surrey had not been pregnant but – as nearly as a woman could – fathered a child. Savants had produced a combination of the essences of two women, a substance called gynozoa – something which, I knew, had been the subject of research at the University of Pain. [...]This led to a conclusion that was easy enough to understand, that any child conceived through gynozoa would be a girl. The writer envisaged that the development might eventually lead to the disappearance of the human male. This was represented as an undesirable outcome but, in spite of my liking Bob Bosset and a few other men, made me think speed the day.
Something too politically correct in ‘mistress-minded’ (like calling a generic chairman a chair). I know this will possibly be rationalised in the author’s counter-comment below but it brought me up sharp and irritated me:
In a feat even more impressive, Tipsi mistress-minded their transformation into an excellent meal
Great passage of war preparation:
We watched again as a much larger body of infantry departed on the twenty-seventh. The return traffic of the injured and dead mounted. After seeing a man dragged home on a litter – missing both legs and coughing his life blood – I preferred not to look at the spectacle. There was little doubt that we would see enough grisly sights in the weeks to come without gawping at the war’s early casualties.
Left to my own devices, I would probably not have watched the departure of the main force, but my father insisted that I join him – and some other persons of importance – on a balcony. Saluting in our direction, a great body of soldiers passed below, most of them on horseback. Helmets and breast plates gleamed in the morning sunshine, bright banners shifting in the breeze. A band, decked out in scarlet and gold, played ‘Let the Surrey Foe Beware’.
Most magnificent of all, Sir Garrafad of the Mount rode at head of the column. A mass of blue, yellow and scarlet plumes sprouted from his helmet as flowers from a pot. The general’s mustachios were heavily waxed, protruding from his upper lip like a pair of stilettos. His breastplate was adorned with an image of an eagle – his personal symbol – worked in what was almost certainly real gold.
An alarming exchange below re cowards!
“Mr Lock has a good point,” my father said. “Enslave them – but have their entire regiments witness the branding and castration. That should help stiffen the men’s resolve.”
“Cowardice,” said the gaunt man who worked as Mr Lock’s chief assistant, “is the mark of a genetic slave. Natural justice demands that the cowards’ entire families should be enslaved.”
Am I right in saying Tuerqui’s brother is not often mentioned:
Peering at the assembled company, I saw that Bob Bosset, Fluff and the twins had been allocated a notably less prestigious place than Lord Higate or the Honourable Eric Marsh. No doubt this had to do with the Sergeant General’s humble origins. The most exulted positions, closest to the shrine, were occupied by the viscount on the groom’s side, and my brother on the bride’s.
This is probably right but wonder if it should be ‘dribbled’:
Drizzlemoon moisture dibbled down a window
And in this footnote extract is ‘invested’ correct?
She invested the city on Cornsprout 8th.
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/o