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DF Lewis
Sunday, 22 June 2008
ODALISQUE by PF Jeffery (Chapter 3)

Before the next chapter. Here's a bonus treat for you all. An example of the author's handwriting:
(And not being a fading gooseberry, here's mine:

Chapter 3 - Unease

A nice snippet (Lord Bustain again):

At this tense moment, Lord Bustain joined us. Approaching the table, his hand was down the front of his breeches – scratching, or I hoped that he was merely scratching. He took the chair next to Jenna’s – she shifted her seat in the opposite direction. Lord Bustain sniffed the fingers that had lately been in his breeches.

Two nifty footnotes:

Nazemen – an hirsute race originating in northern Essex. Now thought to have been fully human – if exceptionally ugly – at this time they were regarded as one of the species of semi-human tom-men.
Nazepork – the flesh of nazemen, served as meat. So called because of its similarity to pork.

Another tasty titbit:

It was at the Old Gate this morning. One guard skewered, another slit open from throat to willie. A third ’un missing – but that ain’t the most o’ it.” He seemed to be enjoying the grisly story.

No typos this time! damn!

As well as its grotesque and the sex-spiritual, I love this novel's sense of geographical place:

Jenna nodded from time to time as the cartographer’s finger traced a line across the map – through the Meadowlands, Mankash, Lankash and to the city of Leeds in distant Yocker.

Finally, a fuller example of the tangible fictions now made even meatier by this rewrite, a lovely section for you to read (although I'm not sure, without checking, whether this section has in fact changed much from 'Of Bondlings & Blesh'):

“Indeed, I think that you will very likely transfer to the black line. It is a wonderful device known as a rail way. Mighty steam engines are mounted upon iron bogies, and draw padded carriages, their wheels guided by metal rails.”

“Nonsense!” Sir Thomas snorted.

“Why is it nonsense, Sir Thomas?” I asked – finding the idea of a rail way exciting, in so far as I understood it.

“It is quite impossible for a steam engine to draw wheeled vehicles, Princess Margaret, and that is all there is to it.”

“But my father has boats powered by steam engines. If a boat, why not a wheeled vehicle?”

“I am afraid that Michaelson’s third law of motion is against you. Less power is required to move a body through an aqueous environment than over a dry one. Hence the ratio of weight to power in an engine allows it to move a body through water, but would be insufficient to move a vehicle over land. On firm ground, only the gods may fashion machines with sufficient power to move – that is to say persons, slaves and other beasts.”

With a sudden inspiration, I asked: “Have you heard of a flicker machine?”

“Yes, Princess Margaret, I know the device: it projects a shadow play onto the wall. Flicker rolls are turned by a small steam engine, the furnace also provides the light. Sometimes the shadows look like dancing people or beasts – more often they don’t. What of it?”

“Suppose a flicker machine was laid on its side. The steam engine would turn the flicker roll and it would act as a wheel. The thing would move like a miniature steam carriage.”

“Unfortunately not. The device is no more than a toy. More importantly, it simply would not work. It has enough power to move the flicker roll, which is light – but not to move its own weight.”

He took a memorandum book from his pocket and scribbled down some equations about power to weight ratios, velocity and inertia. None of it meant much to me – Miss Lace’s schoolroom strap had left me with few ideas on mathematics, apart from the fact of its being a branch of knowledge that stung my bottom. My attention turned from Sir Thomas’ voice to the song birds. It was far too nice a day to listen to my father’s pedants.

Although unable to argue with an Engineer in Ordinary, I hoped that he was wrong. It would be thrilling to ride in a carriage drawn by a giant flicker machine on its side. Clement Allan believed in the rail way. Who was to say that a cartographer’s opinion counted for less than an engineer’s?

The room smelt musty, with a faint suggestion that one of us might have farted. A shaft of light picked out dust motes circling lazily, the map spread upon the table was dappled with sunshine and shade. From beyond the window, the sound of birds rose to a crescendo – perhaps they were mobbing a hawk. Standing in the more shadowed part of the room, I felt a little chilly, and thought that it would’ve been a good idea to have slipped a cardigan over my sleeveless dress

That finishes the chapter in fine style. If you require to read more (even the whole finished novel) please ask for word attachments of each chapter as and when you read them.




Posted by weirdtongue at 8:23 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 22 June 2008 9:47 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink

Sunday, 22 June 2008 - 8:39 AM EDT

Name: "PFJ"

Thank you, Des. I think that most of your extended quote is only slightly changed since the previous version -- apart from the final paragraph which is entirely new. This sentence (which is true):

Less power is required to move a body through an aqueous environment than over a dry one.

is quoted in (I think) chapter 26 or 27.

As to whether Tuerqui is a semi-colon girl, I think that (in childhood) Miss Lace attempted to spank their correct use into her -- and Miss Miles may have subsequently repeated this exercise. Alas, their efforts in this regard were as futile as trying to teach her long division. Throughout her memoirs, she indicates divisions within sentences with the comma and em-dash. Nor do I believe that (lamentable as it may seem) Lady Isobel corrected her on this point. I hope this isn't a spoiler, but in Chapter 49 Tuerqui writes:

My mistress, who has kept her promise to correct my errors, deserves what praise there may be for this book. Were it permissible to think such a thing, I might sometimes have considered that she whipped me less than my prose deserved. My half-formed thought, here, is clearly wrong – as it would be a great wickedness for a slave to disagree with her mistress, and I hope that I’m never guilty of such a thing. Clearly, if I ever doubt her judgment, it’s because I’m an ignorant bondling who knows no better.

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