mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Mistress Pat

My mother regularly gave me books for birthdays and Christmas and they were regularly books I enjoyed. Besides odd Louisa May Alcotts (Jack and Jill, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom) there were odd L.M. Montgomeries. Of course I had Anne of Green Gables, but none of the later Anne books- though my sister the TV child, who didn't read much, somehow wound up with Rilla of Ingleside. But the two I had, and reread to the point of memorization, were Jane of Lantern Hill and Mistress Pat. The latter was second in a series, the first of which I didn't get round to reading until two or three years ago. The lack of background didn't stop me liking the sequel, though. I think it was largely because Pat's reaction to places and houses was very much like mine, even if couched in higher-flown language than I would ever use, and with a degree of anthropomorphism I would never apply to any house at all. (Houses may have a feel, but they never have *feelings*.)

Probably I should have read that first book, which suggests a degree of pathology to Pat's dislike of change that's a bit toned down in the second book. Hating it when old trees fall down feels natural to me; having fits and cows when your father shaves off his moustache is a touch much.

I've no idea what happened to those good quality hardback children's books. Since not a few of them made it to here, I can only assume I ditched the others at some point or other, possibly even before we moved out of Bedford where most of them lived. But I found a copy of Mistress Pat in some front lawn library or wee free, and at a loose end on Sunday, read it in a sitting.

I'd have thought both Jane and Pat impervious to the Suck Fairy, as Anne was not. Ha. Not Pat, for sure. It's not the tweeness of language this time, as it was in the Anne books, but the sheer passive-aggressive Mr. Woodhouse nature of Pat's insistence that absolutely nothing be altered on the farm, and her languishing and dumps when unavoidable changes happened. Dear lord, what a horror of a character. And alas for the insight of maturity.
Tags: place, reading

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