"A Triumph, My Dear, Another Triumph!"

Okay, so, I lied. I did manage to finish The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, rather to my surprise, so I have read thirty books this year (2011). That's a rather nice feeling, having read a pretty round number of books. Not a very large round number, but it's respectable. Numbers ought to be respectable, and I think thirty is. None of these errant variables larking about. Good, sound, whole, round numbers like thirty. Good note to end a year on.

I haven't been pushing myself too hard on Plenilune lately, since it is the holidays and my energies are needed elsewhere. It's rather odd: at a time when everyone is getting off something to have their holidays, I feel as if my holidays are being put on the shelf and the busy times are rolling out. I always was a bit backwards... But here are some snippets and cut-outs of what I have been scribbling for Plenilune. Enjoy, and happy plum-pudding! (Feel free to offer thoughts on the snippets, but please just eat the pudding.)

excerpts from Plenilune

Her cheeks cooled, still in her soul, Margaret turned at last from the window and sat on the edge of the bed to undress. She could still see a little of the landscape through the window: a pale, ghostly thumbnail of a picture, a gash of far upland cut level and coloured like the impassive face of a diamond. The wind moaned desolately, and seemed to get in through the chinks in her skin and blow about desolately in her soul as well. Down in the dale an owl hooted which, as her fingers fumbled in the weak light of her lamp with her dress, reminded her of the hunt, of the fox, of the fox in Rupert’s cellar. He would be sitting in a light much like this one, alone much like she was, looking out a dark like herself. Was the little red-coated coward thinking of her as she thought of him?

As Margaret stepped into the courtyard and to one side Skander’s courser, a big-boned blue dun with a mind of its own, was being brought out of its stall and was making a fuss about its handler and the presence of a lean yellow dog that had somehow got in. The dog began to bark, the blue dun went up in a twisting rear on its hindquarters—nearly wrenching free of the stableboy’s hand—and there was an enormous flutter of bodies as people ran to put out the fire that was about to blaze up between the horse, the dog, and the boy.

The singsong dog-snarl of the lord’s red clothing trembled through the garden as he came through the lower gateway and passed at a collected trot up the path. She could not get a clear sight of his face for the tree-branches until he was nearly beneath her—his horse seemed to hang a moment in hesitation at the upper gateway—and then she could see as clearly as if they were on level ground face to face what sort of face he had. It was a fleeting moment, one in which he was not on guard for her since he did not see her, and she saw him very nearly perfectly as he was. His hair was thin and pale grey, cropped close, his brows thick but pale grey too; his features were all heavily hung, and yet strangely empty, as if they had been big and full once, but time had sucked the life from them and left them cobweb-bare. Scarred, grey, wrinkled and haggard, but with a cold and ruthless spark in his eyes that would make Rupert look warm and rustic, Margaret thought that if Julius Caesar had lived a long life, he would have looked like this.

The evening was overcast, a delicate plum-colour, open in the west where the sunset made everything orange. Above the west the clouds were pierced, here and there and raggedly, as with a spear, and the sky in the gaps was, not blue, but a purest, brilliant moony-gold as though the Church had left the door to the Kingdom ajar and Heaven's light was flooding through.

6 ripostes:

  1. As always MARVELOUS excerpts.
    And, being a fan of the George C. Scott "Christmas Carol,"
    I think the title is very apt. :)

  2. "...and there was an enormous flutter of bodies as people ran to put out the fire that was about to blaze up between the horse, the dog, and the boy."

    I LOVE that line. It's exactly how I'd picture it. :)

  3. Beautiful, Jenny. :) "...his features were all heavily hung, and yet strangely empty, as if they had been big and full once, but time had sucked the life from them and left them cobweb-bare." Love that part, as I can all at once sense the cold-heart and proud soul beneath the countenance. Thanks for sharing, and have a very merry Christmas too! :)

  4. Very, VERY fine!

    No plum pudding for us, apple cake...
    Merry Christmas!

  5. I just wanted to thank you a million times for replying to my comment with a whole post! As i was reding it I was thinking Yes, yes, yes! It all works!! It was exactly the advice I needed. Thank you!!

    And your excerpt in this post is amazing. As per usual.

  6. Gwyn, I know there is a phrase which goes "the pleasure was all mine," but while I know that is meant to be charming, it seems to me to be rather selfish. So I will say instead that I am glad the pleasure was largely yours and equally mine. That seems to work rather better.

    All and sundry (near and far) I thank you for the response so far. It is never quite enough to write a good thing: it is only really and truly best when Shared By Others. To Rachel, I must say the faces of my characters (there are many) really took form in the scene of which that passage is only a peep. And just as well, I suppose, as this is the scene in which the prancing figures of Plenilune are first introduced to Margaret. As they are as new to you as they are to her, your reaction is something I wanted to see. To Marian, I must say that it's the little details, don't you think, that make things real? I revel in taking the time to look and see and jot down those little details, like the way a red ribbon in a courser's mane flutters out in the stillness of an awkward moment... Little things. Little things are important.

    Thank you all!