Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chapter 14: This is what fall is about

I'm not usually one for gushing descriptions of nature. Marianne Dashwood and I are totally not on the same page about that.

But because I know what she's getting at here, I'm willing to accept a little empurpling of Speare's prose: "The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet."

A little bit of color, and suddenly Kit realizes this region isn't such a bad place after all. "No one had ever told her about autumn in New England."

And the whole back-to-nature gives Kit an opportunity to observe a brief interval of an emotion other than anger from Matthew:
"As Kit watched, her uncle bent slowly and scooped up a handful of brown dirt from the garden patch at his feet, and stood holding it with a curious reverence, as though it were some priceless substance. As it crumbled through his fingers his hand convulsed in a sudden passionate gesture."
But enough with the introspection. The Dolphin is back in town!
"The curving tail of the prow was chipped and dull, the hull was battered and knobby with barnacles, the canvas dark and weathered, yet how beautiful she was!"
The Dolphin, of course, means Nat. Who is a little miffed about some of the cargo he's carrying this time:
"Sixteen diamond-paned windows ordered from England by one William Ashby. They say he's building a house for his bride. A hoity-toity young lady from Barbados, I hear, and the best is none too good for her."
Did Speare let Kit and William get engaged without telling us? Not according to Kit:
"'You might have mentioned it, Kit,' he said, lowering his voice.

'There - there's nothing definite to tell.'

'That order looks definite enough.'"
And if the romantic polygon weren't enough, there's political upheaval as well, with the arrival of new royal governor Edmund Andros. Although Judith is dismissive ("Don't worry, Mother. The men can take care of the government."), but Speare is setting us up for one of Connecticut's foundational stories in the coming chapters.

But for that's only relevant as it relates to the interpersonal dramas. To wit: "Kit felt grateful to the unpopular Andros. Whatever he had done, he had saved her, for the moment at least, from any more of Judith's questions."

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