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In this excerpt, Sugar reads the discarded diaries of the woman she is working for:

"...Sugar opens another of Agnes Unwin's diaries and balances it on her lap....It's 1865 in Abbots Langley, and Agnes considers herself a Lady at last. By Sugar's standards, she hasn't yet done a single thing or thought a single grown-up thought, but in Agnes's view she is nearly 'finished'....

Eugenie was taken away from school today, in tears. She is to be married next month, to her secret correspondent from Switserland! In circumstances, I thought it would be mean to remind her about my water-colour brushes. Perhaps she will post them.

Sugar snorts aloud, a helpless exclamation of contempt....

In all the excitement, Eugenie has also forgotten her Scrapbook of kittens, writes the fourteen-year-old Miss Unwin. Some little darlings are not even paisted in yet! I do declare, if this Swiss banker loves Eugenie half as much as he says, he had better make sure she gets her Scrapbook back!

Now at last Sugar understands: this muddle-headed, minuetting adolescent is a lady, as fully adult as she'll ever be. Yes, and all the ladies Sugar has ever seen, all those patrician damsels dismounting imperiously from their carriages, or promenading under parasols in Hyde Park, or parading into the opera: they are children. Essentially unchanged from when they played with dolls and coloured pencils, they grown taller and gain a few 'accomplishments' until, at age fifteen or sixteen, still accustomed to being made to sit in a corner for failing to conjugate a verb or refusing to eat their pudding, they go home to their suitors. And who are they, these suitors? Self-assured young men who've already travelled the world, fathered illegitimate children and survived the pox. Bored with young men's pleasures, they turn their attention to the enterprise of marriage and, casting their eye over the new season's bloom of elaborately dressed children, they pick themselves a little wife."

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
naman
May. 31st, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
lol funny, but true of the times.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )