Previous Entry Share Next Entry
_The Nine Tailors_
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
This book had fewer unusual words, but a great number of perfectly normal words put to the bizarre uses of bell-ringing jargon. One new word from the bell-ringing jargon was quite excellent, and should be more widely used: imbrangled.

Also, "fratchety". No online dictionary seems to know of it, but from context and construction, I take it to be a portmanteau of 'fractious' and 'crotchety'.

The story itself was agreeable, despite having relatively little Harriet Vane in it. Some people might say that it has *no* Harriet in it whatsoever. These people have been fooled by the clever way she used a time-machine and a pseudonym to appear as a seventeen-year-old named Hilary. Still, I think the Peter-Harriet relationship is unmistakable in this exchange:
"...I've been wondering, too. Uncle doesn't think it's nice of me to wonder anything of the sort. But it really makes things easier to do a little wondering, I mean, if you're once interested in a thing it makes it seem less real. That's not the right word, though."

"Less personal?"

"Yes; that's what I mean. You begin to imagine how it all happened, and gradually it gets to feel more like something you've made up."

"H'm!" said Wimsey. "If that's the way your mind works, you'll be a writer one day."

"Do you think so? How funny! That's what I want to be. But why?"

"Because you have the creative imagination, which works outwards, till finally you will be able to stand outside your own experience and see it as something you have made, existing independently of yourself. You're lucky."

"Do you really think so?" Hilary looked excited.

"Yes—but your luck will come more at the end of life than at the beginning, because the other sort of people won't understand the way your mind works. They will start by thinking you dreamy and romantic, and then they'll be surprised to discover that you are really hard and heartless. They'll be quite wrong both times—but they won't ever know it, and you won't know it at first, and it'll worry you."

"But that's just what the girls say at school. How did you know? . . . Though they're all idiots—mostly, that is."

"Most people are," said Wimsey, gravely, "but it isn't kind to tell them so. I expect you do tell them so. Have a heart; they can't help it..."
Tags:

  • 1
Imbrangled is not part of bellringing jargon. It is a wonderful word, though.
If you'd like to know more about change ringing (up to and including learning how to do it), we'd be happy to teach you at Old North Church or the Church of the Advent, the two local towers set up for it, or you could learn it on handbells at MIT.

There's a passing reference to this book in "Gaudy Night," as Harriet walks past the bell level in Magdelen College Tower on May Day - just her recollection that Peter had told her the story.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account