Archive for December 17th, 2009

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The Definite Object; A Romance of New York

December 17, 2009

The Definite Object is the second Jeffery Farnol book I’ve read. It’s also the second Jeffery Farnol book I’ve picked hoping to find out that it was an early regency romance in the vein of Georgette Heyer, as I’ve read that they ┬áco-created the genre. I guess I missed the subtitle. But I find myself wondering whether the regencies are any different. Do they also all feature disaffected millionaires going incognito in order to hang out with poor people? Perhaps someday I will find out.

The disaffected millionaire in The Definite Object is Geoffrey Ravenslee, who likes to race cars and box with his chauffeur and (apparently) be cheated by his servants. He realizes that he’s not doing anything with his life, so when he finds young Spike Chesterton attempting to burgle his home, he follows Spike home to Hell’s Kitchen, hoping to find someone to fall in love with. He finds Hermione Chesterton, Spike’s sister, who is of course exceptionally beautiful, as well as virtuous and hardworking.

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Christmas Stories: Christmas, A Happy Time; A Tale, Calculated for the Amusement and Instruction of Young Persons

December 17, 2009

Christmas, A Happy Time, by Alicia Catherine Mant (or, as the title page says, Miss Mant) is a typical children’s story of the 1830s, which means that nothing happens. Well, a dog dies, principally so that Miss Mant can make it clear just how important it is for children to obey their parents. Not that the children in this story do disobey their parents. It’s just — I really can’t see any point to this story. It’s not amusing, it’s not instructive, and it’s not Christmassy.

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Christmas Stories: The Burglar and the Blizzard

December 17, 2009

Last night I went to Project Gutenberg’s Christmas Bookshelf and downloaded six stories — seven, if you count Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Romance of a Christmas Card, which I’ve been wanting to reread since last Christmas. I read one story last night and one this morning, and honestly? They were kind of awful. I came to these stories expecting morals, and the significance of Christmas being blown out of proportion, but I was disappointed.

The Burglar and The Blizzard, by Alice Duer Miller, is the story of a young millionaire named Geoffrey Holland. He’s exactly the same as all young millionaires in stories from this era: tall, handsome, and well-built, but kind of apathetic. If he was aged ten years and switched with Geoffrey Ravenslee from Jeffrey Farnol’s The Definite Object, which I read last week, no one would know the difference.

Holland, his sister Mrs. May, and his millionaire friends all have country houses near a town called Hillsborough, and aside from Holland and Mrs. May, they’ve all been victims of a recent spate of burglaries. The burglar is notable for the fact that he takes only the most valuable objects in the house (at a house owned by a couple with bad taste, he finds nothing worth stealing). Mrs. May isn’t worried about her modest cottage being robbed, because the only things of value there are her silver tea set and her sable coat. Of course, by the end of the open chapter she’s received a telegram telling her that her house has been broken into and the coat and tea set are gone. You know: if the gun comes on in the first act, it goes off in the third, or whatever. Unfortunately, Miller forgets that rule after the first chapter.

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