I've been reading a junky novel that my friend Angela found for me somewhere or other. It's by Frances Hodgson Burnett, best known as the author of The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and The Little Princess. But this novel was written for adults; and while in many ways it's a standard American-girl-meets-English-lord romance, Burnett was clearly trying to do more. She's very interested in issues such as feminine independence, marital violence, the ambiguities of wealth and poverty, and (as in The Secret Garden) the eloquence of a lovingly cultivated landscape. It's not a good novel, but I'm enjoying it anyway, and I'm sympathetic with Burnett's sense of feminist urgency. Yes, her heroine is unbelievably gorgeous, but she also has a head for business and dislikes crying and walks twelve miles in a day and stands up to her brutish brother-in-law and isn't afraid of mice and rescues screaming passengers during a steamer accident, etc., etc.--all while wearing a whalebone corset. How impressive is that?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
It's hard to know what to write today as I recover from yesterday morning's burst of silliness. Harmony does nothing but rain. I'm longing to go out into the woods and look for more honey mushrooms, but the soaking-wet batch I picked on Sunday afternoon is still drying out over the woodstove. The thing about honey mushrooms is: you find one, you find a hundred. They grow in large overlapping clusters, meaning that I can fill a gallon pail in five minutes or less. Chanterelles are more delicious though also more discreet, but the honey mushrooms I pick and dry will last till next fall.