Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fascinated as by a basilisk with three heads, I could not leave this clique

And we are DONE with Villette! Does everyone feel accomplished? I know I do. Now I need to figure out a way to bring this up during parties so I can brag about reading it. Even though I'm pretty sure most of the time would be explaining what the book is and the accomplishment itself would be overlooked entirely. Ugh, uncultured swine people in these imaginary parties. I'd say I need a higher class of imaginary party go-ers, but then they'd already have read this and still, my bragging would be in vain. I have gotten a bit off-track here (see my last post for reasons). But HEY Villette. Let's see how things turned out.

What the hell was that party Lucy ended up at?

To back up a bit, we get news that M Paul is going away, and Lucy deals with this news by being cruel to children.
I remember feeling a sentiment of impatience towards the pupils who sobbed. Indeed, their emotion was not of much value: it was only an hysteric agitation. I told them so unsparingly. I half ridiculed them. I was severe.
She acknowledges this was because she didn't know how to deal with the bad news herself, but doesn't really make it OK, does it? But then again, if there's one thing about Lucy throughout the book she is very human, and this is a very human reaction so well done, CB.

Mme Beck keeps trying to keep the two from saying goodbye to each other and eventually one night has Lucy drugged. They slipped her some opium but screwed up the dosage so instead of knocking her out it made her super awake. She's lucky screwing up the dosage of opium didn't result in death. Also, is there an amount of opium that wakes you up? Or is Mme Beck as good at drugging people as she is at sneaking around, so she actually stuck her meth or something?

Lucy goes wandering Villette in the middle of the night and stumbles upon a big party with Polly and Graham and Mme Beck and her kid and that angry lady with the fruit basket and Pere Silas and I spent a LOT of time assuming this was a fever dream. Or she was actually dead. Because whaaaaaaaaaat was even happening here?

Turns out the party is real and seems to be for M Paul who has not yet left for the West Indies. He's still heading there because he's in love with Lucy and lots of people do NOT ship it.

Mme Beck cos she's in love with him even though they're related.
Pere Silas cos Lucy is a heretic and he can't have his pupil mixed up with her.
Mme Walravens (angry fruit basket) cos something something, keeping Paul for themselves.

Then someone asks where Justine Marie is and what is the meaning of this? The dead nun isn't really dead? I was so excited to get to use this gif
But then it turns out this Justine Marie is not the nun. Instead this homely, fat girl (Lucy's words), way too young and too alive to be the dead nun shows up. "So much for ghosts and mystery" Even Lucy is disappointed in how this nun thing turned out. This is Justine Marie's niece (or would be her niece, if JM was alive) and she's with M Paul who has NOT left for anywhere. He's heading out on a different ship in a few weeks so he's still around for him and Lucy to have some reconciliation.

She doesn't say anything but instead sneaks back home and expects to get into her empty bed. Except the bed isn't empty. It's filled with...NUN!

Or rather the nun's clothing with a note that says Lucy can have the clothes of the nun in the attic. It turns out that there was no ghost. Clearly. It was Ginevra's former paramour/current husband Alfred de Hamal who was using the nun costume to sneak around the school to visit Ginevra. No ghostly ex-girlfriend nuns. Just late night booty calls. Ginevra had run off and eloped with the guy, though "Ginevra had written to her cousin Paulina, vaguely signifying her hymeneal intentions"
and does this mean what I think it means? Because Google just tells me this phrase is used in Villette and I'm not getting a whole lot of other information.

Ginevra is married, in part it seems to spite Polly (thinks she's so great, getting married to that boring old Dr. John) and secret marriage out of spite seems exactly like the type of thing Ginevra would do so I'm glad she continues to be entertaining to the end.

Back to Lucy and M Paul (I guess). M Paul comes to visit Lucy and tells her that he is going away for a few years but GUESS WHAT? He bought her a place so she can start her own school. He even got her some pupils to start out and awww that is sweet. Sure, one of them is Justine Marie (the live one) and Lucy is super pissed at the idea of teaching her and I can't quite tell if he agrees to it once M Paul professes his love. Then the next day he leaves.
M. Emanuel was away three years. Reader, they were the three happiest years of my life. Do you scout the paradox?
Yes, Lucy, I do scout said paradox. Maybe Lucy didn't like him all that well, after all. But no, she talks about writing back and forth with him, and getting money from that family of that old lady she took care of waaaay at the beginning of the book and buying an adjoining lot, but refusing to leave the place M Paul picked out for her. Things are working out pretty nicely for Lucy.

It ends with M Paul dying in a shipwreck on his way home.
That's what happened, right? Because happy endings are for suckers? Lucy gets in a few more digs at the Catholic church and her last lines are about how her three antagonists (Mme Beck, Pere Silas, Mme Walravens) lived long, healthy, prosperous lives.

So we don't see Lucy changing too much over the course of the book. At least not in the way that she deals with her constant ill-fortunes. But now she has her school, so somewhat of a happy ending? I guess depending on your thoughts on M Paul, the fact that they didn't end up together is also sort of happy.

This was a strange book that kept getting stranger and stranger. Thank you, Alice. I'm sure I would have never picked this up and POSITIVE I would have never stuck with it if it wasn't for this readalong.