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as you dear readers may know, I am an old fan of the great English domestic novel, but I have noticed a disturbing phenomenon; as I grow older, I begin identifying less with the sweet young 15 year old heroines, and more with their mothers and aunts with all their peccadilloes of character and odd obsessions.
Do they ever grow tired of watching, aiding, and abetting the young females as they perform their elaborate mating dances, flirting and giggling till the wee hours of the morning at country dances while they, the older women, gossip and play cards? Do they ever tire of living vicariously through them, when their blood is pulsing just as quickly—or even more so--through their own veins? Do they ever wish their stolid, unimaginative, dependable husbands would shape up and be more attentive? As they sit in their boudoir among their pots of cream and scent, do they fantasize about a new romance, a new lover in their bedchamber, smelling their skin and nibbling their ears?
Similarly, do the lovely actresses who played these creatures in 80’s masterpiece theatre renditions of classic novels now feel sad to be cast in the role of the mothers now? Do they wish the roles were a bit more multi-dimensional, a bit more consonant with what they themselves feel, as lusty women in the prime of their life?
I think they do…
Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Lady Wigram courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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