Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest by Charlotte Mary Yonge

For a change of pace, here is my 97 year old
mother deciding she likes the Kindle!

Before there was "Downton Abby," before there was the recent "Upstairs Downstairs," there was the original "Upstairs Downstairs" from the 1970's.  I recently started watching the original show again and Rose, the head house parlour maid, is shown reading The Dove in the Eagle's Nest by English author Charlotte Mary Yonge. (US Edition)  (UK Edition)

The novel dates from 1866 (although there is a preface dated 1836 - which is probably a typo.)  As the TV series is set at the beginning in 1903, it shows the staying power that books had in those days.  No doubt upstairs sent it downstairs!  

Let's see what Rose was so interested in.  She had precious little spare time for reading.  

Let me bring you up to date through the first few pages.  A scoundrel  leaves his baby with his brother and rides off; not to reappear until the baby is a young woman.

"Thou art not half the woman thy mother was—she was stately and straight as a column, and tall withal." 

"True!" replied Hausfrau Johanna, in a marked tone; "but both she and her poor babe had been so harassed and wasted with long journeys and hardships, that with all our care of our Christina, she has never been strong or well-grown. The marvel is that she lived at all." "Our Christina is not beautiful, we know," added her uncle, reassuringly taking her hand; "but she is a good and meek maiden."
 "Well, well," returned the Lanzknecht, "she will answer the purpose well enough, or better than if she were fair enough to set all our fellows together by the ears for her. Camilla, I say—no, what's her name, Christina?—put up thy gear and be ready to start with me to- morrow morning for Adlerstein." 

"For Adlerstein?" re-echoed the housemother, in a tone of horrified dismay; and Christina would have dropped on the floor but for her uncle's sustaining hand, and the cheering glance with which he met her imploring look.

Oh, now I see why Rose might have been short of sleep the next day!  The absentee scoundrel father didn't even know his child's name!  He mistreated her mother, who died from neglect, and now he has come to take his daughter who he has never shown any interest  in and who he can want for no good reason . .

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