Just a reminder from a footnote in the previous chapter:
Pollygoggers stole slaves, who had formerly been rich or prominent as persons – to sell to their families, friends or enemies. (The name derives from polly – see chapter 11, note 1 and goggle meaning to look. A pollygogger was thus one who looked for pollies.) The pollygoggers’ business was often accomplished through an intermediary known as a head broker. Rich or prominent people would approach head brokers to secure the release of enslaved persons.
Our heroine snatched by the Pollygoggers to a Narrow Boat on the canal, we meet Dashin’ Daniel:
One end of the trellis arch was almost filled by a person’s back, clothed in a leather jerkin dyed bright pink. Perched above the vivid garment was an emerald green broad brimmed hat, decorated with a large purple feather. Beyond the figure swayed the rear end of a piebald ox – I was in an ox cart, the trellis work a frame designed to support an awning. When the driver turned to speak, a deep voice and a stubbly chin demonstrated that he was not a woman.
and we also meet Carp-eye and Juicelle. Mixed emotions and inferred mixed motives etc and further angst for Tuerqui. All tantalisingly yet clearly conveyed... a mark of this novel: complexity and clarity in symbiosis.
I also liked these two footnotes:
Heckpit was the abode of the wicked after death.
Breaking a mirror was said to bring seven years bad luck. The belief seems to relate to the idea that mirror reflections are spirits forced to mimic the actions of the population of the non-mirror world. Breaking the mirror released the spirits who then vented their spite on whoever had released them. After seven years, they would be sucked into another mirror.
But should it not be “seven years’ bad luck’” and ‘on whomever’ or ‘on whomsoever’?
And we possibly need a semi-colon or dash below rather than a comma:
Anything other was inconceivable, she radiated a degree of authority that no trained slave could defy.
I also liked passages below:
It’s munch as they pull for them on the towpath
However miserable I might be, I was also hungry and thirsty. The bread was freshly baked and thickly buttered, the cheese mild but with a sharp under taste. The salad was crisp and fresh, the pickle suitably spicy. Even the bitty ale was refreshing – neither too acrid nor too gassy.
The boat moved with surprisingly little effort – much more easily than Sam’s cart had done. It was easier, too, than my recollection of bow hauling Cap’n Gentle’s boats. There, probably, my perceptions were at fault – in those days I’d been unused to work. A memory returned to me, from years before, of Sir Thomas Shrew saying, in his pompous way – “Less power is required to move a body through an aqueous environment than over a dry one.”
And a wonderful chapter ending:
Pink from the sunset glowed increasingly faint on the bases of clouds. The planking of the hold felt rough under my back. A vixen cried, and disturbed ducks quacked their outrage on the water. Spiciness from the suppertime pickle lingered on my tongue.
Interesting look at discernible / discernable here:
I prefer 'discernible'.
'discernable' is used twice in this chapter.
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/odalisque.html