In fact this chapter turns out to be shorter than the previous one, despite occupying considerably more pages in the book -- a combination of heavy crossing-out and shorter paragraphs, I think, but mainly the former!
( Photo under cut )
And since I've been doing the alternating trick to help keep my concentration -- ten minutes typing up one manuscript followed by ten minutes typing up from another, so that I actually welcome the opportunity to find out what happens next when I get to return to the first one so arbitrarily interrupted by the alarm -- I've managed to get another chapter of the infinitely-delayed "Blue Remembered Hills" onto the computer as well, which means I'm now up to fifteen unpublished chapters. With hindsight it might have been more immediately useful to have worked on "The Daaé Case" instead, but since it's actually in the same notebook as this one it would have meant an awful lot of page-flipping and finding my place again :-p
I'm pleased with how popular this story seems to have been on fanfiction.net, though the third chapter seems to have been a little less so than the others; I don't know if that is because people are too busy with Christmas to waste time on the Internet checking for story updates, or because reviewing a story every day starts to feel like too much hard work, or whether (as I strongly suspect) any explicitly R/C material tramples over people's Erik-allegiances although they're happy enough to read about Raoul in isolation so long as he poses no threat to their preferred 'pairing'... not much I can do about that, since the events in question are canon!
This final chapter, of course, isn't canon, although to be honest it's based on about as much detail from Leroux as most of its predecessors, which extrapolate from a mere sentence or two of backstory in the novel; Leroux simply says that Raoul and Christine eloped to enjoy their happiness in peace, and doesn't say anything about what happened next, save that 'the lonely wilds of the North echo with singing'. One feels that after what they'd been through, there must have been a bit of angst involved.
(The Astrid's accident happened to a vintage pond yacht of my own, albeit when sailing on Boxing Day rather than Christmas Day...)
Chapter 4: The boat on the lake
In Sweden the winter had come early this year, and cold, and the deep pool above their house had been frozen over since the start of December, with the stream that flowed down through it silenced in its bright chatter over the stones outside the back door. But two days ago Raoul had been woken in the night by the first faint tinkle of the thaw beneath the eaves, and sensed a change in what he had come to know as the hard tang of frost in the air.
He had slipped cautiously from beneath the quilts, avoiding the cradle, and gone to kneel by the tiny window, listening for the murmur of moving water. He heard nothing, and Christine turned over in sleepy complaint as her husband slid back to share the warmth of their bed, shivering; but in the morning when she went out to rinse the pans the stream had begun to chuckle quietly again between ice-fringed banks, and when Raoul ventured out cautiously onto the tarn it was no longer safe for skating.( Read more... )
Still on course for tomorrow's daily posting... just about...
But I found seven things this morning that needed changing in chapter 2 before I could post that to FFnet -- was it really only this morning? It feels a lifetime ago. But that's what you get for night after night of having to get up four or five hours after you finally got to bed :-(
Chapter 3: The girl at the opera
Comte Philippe looked up, with his fine smile, as his younger brother came rather sleepily into the breakfast-room. They had returned somewhat late from the Duchesse de Montémar’s ball the night before, and despite the Comte’s best attempts Raoul was not yet accustomed to keeping society hours.
His ship had returned to France at the end of September by way of Cape Horn, and the young man had been sent on leave with a commendation from his commanding officer that had been hailed by his brother with an almost embarrassing afflux of pride. But weeks of leave had extended to a month, and then one month into two, before he learned his next posting. The de Chagny influence could not move mountains; but it could, it transpired, achieve miracles where officialdom was concerned, especially when wielded by one so adept in the art as Comte Philippe. The Vicomte had been assigned aboard one of the most sought-after missions of the year: the relief effort in search of the d’Artois expedition, dispatched to explore the Arctic Circle some three years earlier and now overdue.( Read more... )
I'm more or less on schedule for daily posting of the Christmas story in that I've just completed typing and proofreading Ch2, and completed Ch4 in manuscript (with a great deal of crossing out; angst is easier than happy endings, and there was too much model-yachting detail, lovingly laboured over for hours) this afternoon. Whether I'm going to be able to type, edit and proof the whole of Ch3 tomorrow evening, when I shall have rather less free time versus more words to deal with, is another matter!
(Yes, the title change from 'The' to 'An' is deliberate; 'The' fits the pattern, but it doesn't look right.)
Chapter 2: The invitation in Africa
The vast African sky, bright and quivering overhead, seemed to vibrate taut as a drum, and the palm-fringed coast was fit to wilt in the heat. La Tauride lay at anchor in the roadstead of Assinie, tugging a little at her cables beneath a gentle onshore breeze, and the endless surf broke on the beach beyond, where a handful of pirogues lay drawn up under the sun. Another darted swiftly between the waves, guided by a few skilful strokes of the paddle from a dark-skinned native stripped to the waist. From his vantage point at the edge of the knot of officers gathered on the deck, the young Vicomte de Chagny watched it come, discreetly easing the prickle beneath the collar of his naval uniform with one finger and conscious of a certain envy.( Read more... )
I've almost finished the final chapter of this -- enough to have a good idea of where it's going, anyway, and I think I can safely enter the first chapter for its contest without the likelihood of needing to make any further amendments. It's so short that it barely qualifies as a chapter, and the second scene isn't much better; but they don't really belong together at all, and I don't think I can sensibly run them together as a single first chapter in order to enter them as a pair...
Raoul's December birthday has been a part of my head-canon for some time now in order to help with chronology. It had not previously occurred to me that this would imply that his mother's death fell just before Christmas, however, which would tend to drain any enjoyment out of the season in the minds of the rest of the family :-(
The title, of course, is pinched from my translation activities on Gefangene der Angst. (Well, it's better than 'Unhappy Christmases', I feel!) The chapter titles were an even more last-minute decision, but I think I can run them along the lines of 'the girl at the opera', 'the yacht on the pond', etc. 'The invitation in Africa'?
Christmas as it ought not to be
Chapter 1: The boy in the library
It was a cold, grey afternoon outside, and the neatly-clipped trees in their huge pots — each almost as tall as the boy who stood gazing out at them through the long windows — stretched away from the chateau towards an empty fountain that held only a thin layer of ice. The hands of the clock on the mantelpiece behind him, with its hurrying uneven tick, showed a little less than half-past three, but shadows were already gathering in the corners, and soon it would be too dark for the picture-book that lay abandoned on the hearthrug where he had left it, in front of an empty grate.
The window rattled a little on its hinges, and Raoul de Chagny pressed the tip of an upturned nose against the cold, smooth pane, feeling the draught stir the ends of his hair with icy fingers. He was a small, fair-haired child, and dressed from head to toe in black he seemed today smaller and frailer than ever.( Read more... )
It really didn't seem to make much sense to have a happy fluffy final chapter when one of the major characters in the previous chapter had died under traumatic circumstances in the interim. But it wasn't until Christine came up with an unfortunate comparison when trying to keep Raoul out of danger of drowning that this occurred to me. ( Read more... )