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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Green Mansions - by W. H. Hudson
Green Mansions by W. H. Hudson is a 1904 novel. (US Edition) (UK Edition) Hudson was born in Argentina to American parents and spent his adult life in England. I hope I do not prejudice you against this novel by saying it is about a female Tarzan. Because that is not a pejorative – I liked “Tarzan of the Apes.” This book actually pre-dates Tarzan. As you can see from the graphic, Audrey Hepburn played the mysterious Tarzan prototype in the movie.
These Indians wore necklets, like nearly all the Guayana savages; but one, I observed, possessed a necklet unlike that of the others, which greatly aroused my curiosity. It was made of thirteen gold plates, irregular in form, about as broad as a man’s thumb-nail, and linked together with fibres. I was allowed to examine it, and had no doubt that the pieces were of pure gold, beaten flat by the savages. When questioned about it, they said it was originally obtained from the Indians of Parahuari, and Parahuari, they further said, was a mountainous country west of the Orinoco. Every man and woman in that place, they assured me, had such a necklet. This report inflamed my mind to such a degree that I could not rest by night or day for dreaming golden dreams, and considering how to get to that rich district, unknown to civilized men.And so he journeys on and makes friends of another tribe:
I began to understand from their looks and the old man’s vague words that their fear of the wood was superstitious. If dangerous creatures had existed there tigers, or camoodis, or solitary murderous savages—they would have said so; but when I pressed them with questions they could only repeat that “something bad” existed in the place, that animals were abundant there because no Indian who valued his life dared venture into it. I replied that unless they gave me some more definite information I should certainly go again and put myself in the way of the danger they feared.Well, of course he must visit the forbidden area of the rain forest . . .where he discovers a young woman . . .
. . .only her eyes, wide open, with a surprised look in them, remained immovably fixed on my face. And then slowly, imperceptibly—for I did not notice the actual movement, so gradual and smooth it was, like the motion of a cloud of mist which changes its form and place, yet to the eye seems not to have moved—she rose to her knees, to her feet, retired, and with face still towards me, and eyes fixed on mine, finally disappeared, going as if she had melted away into the verdure. The leafage was there occupying the precise spot where she had been a moment before—the feathery foliage of an acacia shrub, and stems and broad, arrow-shaped leaves of an aquatic plant, and slim, drooping fern fronds, and they were motionless and seemed not to have been touched by something passing through them.
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Posted by Marilyn Litt at 12:44 AM