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Man, I hope I'm not the only one doing this this month, since I was so late and somewhat autocratic with the choice :p Anyhow, I've only read this book once, and that was a few years ago and I don't remember that much, so I'll be a bit odd probably in what I remember and what I don't. A lot of it will still seem new to me, I'm sure.


Y'know, as an aside, I think I see "portmanteau" referring to words a lot more often nowadays than the actual original item itself...

"Millie, her lymphatic aid"... y'know, in Christie books, the maids are often described as adenoidal. What is it with the British and their servants and their servants' glands?

So yeah, I guess even those who haven't read the book before will recognize the main character by his bundled-up appearance, in this day in age, due to cultural osmosis. I wonder how plain it would have been to the original reader though, given the name of the book, and adding things together?

What's with his pink, shiny nose? I forget what the explanation of that is... hrm. Also, if he's invisible, what's with the hair? Maybe it's a wig...

Gee, accidents happen in a moment... wonder what you're trying to figure out there, miss innkeeper woman?

In these first few pages, it's hard to tell who's more at fault in the abrupt conversations - "the stranger" is abrupt and rude, but then, Mrs. Hall is a Nosey Parker and not completely tactful. Of course, once he starts snapping at Henfrey it starts to get a bit more obvious... Although Teddy's quick enough to stir up some trouble, after it! Yeah, this seems like one of those books where every human being's a pain in the butt and not someone you'd want to actually know. :p

The 29th of February eh? Wonder if there's some supernatural significance to a leap year at the time, or something? Or if it's just meant to be something out of the ordinary, like the stranger, his luggage, etc. etc.?

And the good old signal of stories - the faithful pet, who instantly takes a dislike to a character and shows that they're not to be trusted.

Also, geez man, lock your door!

Bottles generically marked "Poison"? Really? Really really?

And good grief, the common idea of genetics at this time... piebald, because that's how it works in horses? Oof.

Anyone else flashing back to Jeckyll and Hyde already, what with the rudeness and the frenzied chemistry and all?


And for Wednesday, it's Chapters 4-6.

Comments

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vizsludraugas
Oct. 8th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Two sovs is a pretty good sum for the time. Figuring exactly how much it's worth depends on how you do it, but this gives either £177.00 (using price indexing) or £738.00 (if you compare average earnings).

Back in those days, it was quite legal to rent rooms without giving a name-but it drew suspicion nonetheless. (Compare to Dracula, who gives his name as "the Count de Ville" when he plops down his pile of sovs at one point.) And they didn't need cameras all over the place like they have now, at least in the countryside: people were discussing your business in the local pubs and tipping off the law on their own accord.

The reference to the 29th of February might just reflect when it was written: the book was published in 1897, so there is a good chance it was written in 1896.
khedron
Oct. 9th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
The hair is so crazy, I'm assuming it's a wig. I suppose it could also be the Mad Scientist's lack of care about his appearance?

I like Mrs. Hall. Not personally, so much, but she's drawn so quickly, and yet we have a good picture of her -- Nosy Parker, doesn't respect her maid (is the maid lazy? we don't have a reliable witness there), 1/4 empathetic overtures and 3/4ths busybody.


"Millie, her lymphatic aid"... y'know, in Christie books, the maids are often described as adenoidal. What is it with the British and their servants and their servants' glands?

I wonder if it has to do with the "bodily humors" and four temperaments? Anyway, I'm glad you commented on it, because at first I would've thought those were synonyms -- adenoids being part of the lymphatic system, after all. But Wordnik implies adenoidal meaning speaking nasally in this context, while lymphatic means lazy or sluggish.


As far as piebald goes, I have seen people like that, though rarely; I just took the horse analogy to be a quick definition for someone reading the book. But I could be wrong; that could be another part of how wells is drawing the small-town folks as being very provincial.
stormfeather
Oct. 10th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know some few people are piebald, I think probably due to chimerism, but the way it's put in the book, they sound like it should be the norm, just because that's how horses are.
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