Burr wrote this journal while he was in exile in Europe (fleeing murder charges, etc.); he kept it as a letter and memory-aid, on the request of his oBurr wrote this journal while he was in exile in Europe (fleeing murder charges, etc.); he kept it as a letter and memory-aid, on the request of his only surviving child, Theodosia.
I love Burr so many times
- when he hates on himself. "To Miss Mallet. The most rational being I have seen. Staid a whole hour, and greatly pleased with her. Good breeding and social talents in a degree very rare. Why don't I go there oftener? Because I do nothing that I wish or intend."
-when he manages to find a mistress despite not sharing a common language except the language of love: "Being unable to communicate anything by the ear, we tried, successfully, all the other senses. Passed an hour."
-when he gets angry at people and doesn't regret it: "Left a note which I had written in case of not finding him. The note was rather dry, and may probably terminate our acquaintance."
-when he gets angry at people and immediately regrets it: "Yesterday I must have been possessed by the devil. A pretty little girl about 15 years old came into my room with a little guitarre in her hand and muttering a few words in German began to sing and play. Could you imagine anything more calculated to fascinate me? I drove her rudely out! To be sure, I did give her a gooden-groshen, which was probably much more than she expected; but I was unkind. One minute after, I was sorry and sent for her, but she was not to be found; and I have been all day looking out for her in vain." (To be fair, he is trolling for booty, here, but still.)
(The transcriber of the journal was apparently appalled that Burr would talk about sex with such frankness to his daughter, and says that Burr must have sent Theodosia an edited version of the journal. If so it must have been completely re-written, since there are several times when Burr is in the middle of relating an exploit and interrupts himself with a direct aside to T.)
-when he laughs at himself: "At 3am the streets were full of young people; people, indeed, of all ages and sexes, bearing green boughs, flowers, little Maypoles very prettily ornamented. They had all some good-natured wit at me. I retorted, neither comprehending a word, and we all laughed."
-when he does stupid shit out of pride, like when his daughter sent around word that Burr was interested in coins & embarrassed him to no end because he hates when people know about his feelings: "Le Ministre Baron de F., hearing that I was a coin and medal hunter (see again, you little villain, oh, I could choke you!) offered me several of the coins of Gotha, which are not now seen in circulation. These I peremptorily and constantly refused, though I did really wish to add them to my collection."
-when he trolls for sex: "Walked an hour seul in quest of adventure; got home without any, but with mischievous intentions."
-when he trolls polite society: "He saluted me very respectfully by the title of baron; said he had my works which he had read with great pleasure, &c; to all which I bowed. Who the devil can he take me for?"
-when he jokes about threatening to kill people: "Do remind me to give you a dissertation on locking doors. Every person of every sex and grade comes in without knocking; plump into your bedroom! (...) It took me six weeks to teach my old Anna (the maid) not to come in without knocking and finally it was only by appearing to get into a most violent passion and threatening to blow out her brains, which she had not the least doubt I would do without ceremony."
(Thus sayeth the man who is currently fleeing from murder charges)
-when he tries to convince the British government to give him safe harbor, because his father was a British citizen and therefore ... No quote for this, I lost my bookmark, but I imagine they reminded Burr that he was actually the Vice-Pesident of America, nice try
-when he resolves to stay away from pretty women, and utterly fails: "At 11 recollected a rendezvous foolishly made to Violette. You know how religious I am in the performance of all sorts of engagements, so went. Found M'lle in a state of expectation and disposed to be amiable. An hour; 6 francs; never better pleased with red [hair], which is my abhorrence in theory."
-when he complains about the price of every single thing and gives large amounts of money to the women he sleeps with: "Thence home, but alas! on my way a pair of demoiselles, and so 8 francs. How many curses have I heaped on poor [me], and yet he is rather to be pitied; only see how for the last fifteen days he has been so good and considering his habits, and considering, &c, &c. And so we will try to forget it."
(note: this is one of several instances our 54-year-old Burr has sex with three different women in the same day.)
-when he has a terrible sense of direction (so, constantly): "Pursued Madame de Castre to the mineral bath, but missed the way and wandered for two hours in the labryrinth."
-when he despairs: "Everything wears out; you will wear out. No, alas! You perish joyless in those infernal swamps. I wear out slowly. Really slowly, as you see."
-when he is terribly forthright: "I can never decide what to leave and what to take. If you were here -- ah, why are you not? -- you would settle all this in a single minute, and all would be right. But I take up a paper and hold it, turning and twisting it, for 10 minutes, and am still undecided."
-when he misses his daughter. "I bid you bon soir a dozen times before I shut [your picture] up in that dark case. I can never do it without regret. It seems as if I were burying you alive."
Burr worried often about his beloved Theodosia. She died just two years later, disappearing at sea en route to rejoin Burr in New York. Her only child died a few months before, and left Burr utterly alone....more
read to 100 pages and quit. this shit is dense. and I'm not afraid of density, but Fraser writes with no variation in tone or style; every single sentread to 100 pages and quit. this shit is dense. and I'm not afraid of density, but Fraser writes with no variation in tone or style; every single sentence is formed like the one before it and the one after it and it's just unrelenting and, honestly, not as interesting as I wanted it to be. He prefers sweeping statements (like "This affected the carriage makers, the taverns, the farmland both great and small" -- I paraphrase, I don't have the book nearby). After few dozen broad strokes I started to wonder wtf he was getting this precise information. Yanno?
The constant jump back-and-forth between timeframes wearied me too. It's the early 20th century! No, it's the mid 19th! No, it's the 17th! I get it, you're drawing parallels, but it also breaks up the narrative structure, which, let's face it, was pretty lightweight to start.
Two stars. A good effort, and good things even in the little that I read. I just can't get through the damn thing. And I'm not alone in that....more
delicious and slow; a perfect drowsy rainy-day book. (and lo, today it doth rain, and cast grey drops upon the window-screens.)
The creeping characterdelicious and slow; a perfect drowsy rainy-day book. (and lo, today it doth rain, and cast grey drops upon the window-screens.)
The creeping character advancement is the best part -- Margaret changing from a somewhat abrupt girl, Thornton developing alongside her, each in their own private grief and losses. (Speaking of which: poor Margaret! The people around her drop like flies. Someone should get her tested.)
Thornton was the only person fully drawn, I think; there's a bit too much Victorian Angel Of The Home clinging to Margaret, with the constant deaths and the whole handmaiden-to-the-poor bit; she never quite took breath for me. -- Except as she displaced her own needs again and again for other people, and finally found a place to express herself in quietness. There were so many tiny, tender views of her, but the most effective were always from an outsider: Thornton distracted by her bracelets as they fell down her arms; in deep mourning, palely upright on a sofa after someone died; her hands clasped in Frederick's hands as they waited at the train station. There's a power in these views, and Gaskell is very, very good at this sort of detail (at her best she is entirely modern and direct, like Katherine Mansfield) -- but she falls into didacticism, telling without showing; she doesn't seem to trust her own voice, or her own awareness & expression of it.
Still there are a million little things. Mrs Thornton and her different relationship to her children! Mrs Hale and her relationships! (When she tells a desolate Margaret something like "my first baby was prettier than you, and I prefer him even now" -- and later, Margaret's despair that she's lost her mother just when they were getting to understand and love each other ... I mean. Shit.
I never stopped wanting to punch Mr. Hale, though.
The romance is too brief and, yes, too delicate, to be stretched thin over such a framework (and WHAT IS WITH THAT ENDING WHAT). It's a damned shame. Loosen the reins, Gaskell. (I must read more of this.)...more
rather dry (pun); more scholarly reference than layperson's book. on occasion, intensely gruesome. i found it difficult to follow the individual storirather dry (pun); more scholarly reference than layperson's book. on occasion, intensely gruesome. i found it difficult to follow the individual stories -- maybe it was me? But Druett is wonderful, truly interested in her topic.
my sympathies, as usual, lie somewhat askew: I agree with the Captain who insisted that the surgeon replace the ill hands at their duties: "if the doctor wanted to avoid such labor, then all that was necessary was for him to make sure that none of the crew got sick." it's LOGIC okay....more