igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Ironically, although this final chapter is narrated from Christine's point of view it's really Gustave's backstory, just as the previous chapter was as much Christine's backstory as Raoul's...

Ch 4: Mort pour la France

Paris in the autumn was as busy as ever. The leaves on the trees were dusty as the streets and beginning to turn brown, and the sun through the windows of the tramcar struck hot on Christine’s cheek as it had not done all summer — or perhaps, she thought, adjusting her blue uniform cloak, perhaps it had, and she had not been in any condition to notice it.

She descended from the tram at the corner of the boulevard Mont-St-Fleury with a nod to the lady conductress — the war had changed many things — and began to walk rather slowly towards the little café further down. In the pocket of her dress, behind the red cross sewn at her breast, lay the letter that had brought her here, dragging at her steps like a weight from which she had believed herself cut free. She was tired: too tired to feel anything, she told herself, with a bone-deep weariness born of long nights of strain and endless exhausting days of labour over shattered bodies in improvised wards behind the lines.

There was nothing romantic in nursing; Raoul had been right — poor Raoul! But that reflex jolt of memory was nothing more than a dull echo now.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Well, I finally received one of the reviews I was holding out for on this (not sure if that was divine reproof for having doubted it or intervention for having mentioned it), so I now have no excuse whatsoever for not getting on with the next part...

Tweaked Raoul's reaction to the Phantom's death a little (previously he seemed to more or less ignore it). One thing that does strike me, reading over this after a lapse of time, is that it's really not made nearly so explicit as I thought it was that Gustave has taken up writing poetry in place of music :-(

Ch3: Some unknown grieving woman

Somewhere outside, a motor pulled up. Voices carried faintly through the window. Raoul glanced back up at the clock; down at what he had written, where a long blot straggled across the paper. After a moment he set his pen aside and tore up the unfinished page with unnecessary force.

He dipped the pen again, drew up a fresh sheet, and began to write, jerkily and with hesitation. Above the fireplace the ghost of a portrait looked down, as always. But it was not the shy young face painted by Boldini that was intruding upon his letter, but that of an older woman.

Fresh memories, these, from the near side of the howling swathe of steel that had swept across France. Her face danced between him and the phrase he sought, marked with lines of unhappiness and held high in defiance. He crossed out a word, cursed under his breath, and tried another.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I actually got a 'Please update' review on this the other night :-)

Not that I don't appreciate the involved, coherent, multi-sentence reviews I get from my regular reviewers, but there's an ironic cachet to discovering that you're apparently reaching the mass-market readers as well!

I'm currently trying to juggle three stories at once - this one, "Blue Remembered Hills" and my still-untitled "Gone With the Wind" one-shot, which is supposedly complete but I'm not entirely happy about (it feels very unfocused and random). So things are feeling a bit hectic. And it's slightly worrying that the more recent the material, the less happy I am with it; I actually found myself reading ahead in "Blue Remembered Hills" in preference to checking over this chapter...

Ch2: Make an end

Eight days of leave had done little to ease nerves rubbed raw by shellfire and snipers. A burnt coal fell through the grate with a rattle sharp as a rifle-shot, and Raoul had to stifle a sharp, instinctive movement that brought him halfway to his feet. The sleeve of his uniform caught against the decanter tray as he sank back, sending the glasses clattering together, and he was barely in time to field the nearest as it toppled. Thought caught up with reflex a moment later, still flinching in anticipation of the averted crash.

He stared down at the tremor in his hand, unsteady now as if it had been a grenade and not a wine-glass snatched from mid-air. There had been a time, once — a distant lifetime on the far side of this last winter — when violence had been an affront and not a familiar part of the world. A time when it was still something one expected to happen to other people.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I'm not sure this is as good as I thought it was when I started, but... well, I'm stuck with it now.

In Regret, Always

Eight years ago, Raoul left a letter for his wife, took Gustave, and set off to leave Coney Island. Now, as the clouds of war hang over France, the echoes of that night still haunt them all.

Ch1: The final wrong

It was still cold in this first spring of the war, despite the afternoon sun, and a bitter wind crept over the Paris rooftops and rattled the long shutters of the Hôtel de Chagny. There was a fire in the grate of the Vicomte’s study, as if to banish for a few final hours the memories of months of rain and freezing mud, and from the mantel above there came the sleepy ticking of the clock; but from time to time, as his pen paused for a moment in its steady travel across the page, the gusts outside seemed to hold the echo of great guns in Champagne and the Ardennes.

Raoul’s face held lines of strain now in addition to the bitter marks that belied his age, and the bright uniform of scarlet and sky-blue that had served France so well in parades and regimental balls had been discarded for the drab blue of this new way of fighting. Every so often, in an unconscious gesture, he would reach up to run two fingers round the inside of his collar. The uniform tunic was trim enough, but it had begun to hang a little loose on his frame, and there were hollows under his eyes that eight days’ leave had done nothing to redress.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Fanfiction.net appears to be malfunctioning again...

I discovered this yesterday, at the point where I was attempting to post about having a panic due to losing the notes I'd thought I'd made for a putative "Gone With the Wind" fan-fiction. It was an idea that came to me during an exchange of PMs after writing The Paths of the Living, several years ago now, and I thought I'd written down the salient text and tucked it into the front cover of the red leather notebook I was using at the time. When I actually got round to looking at the sheets in question, I discovered that they were notes for Lost and Found instead, which was also sparked off by a PM conversation at about the same time...
Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Finished rough-typing my final chapter of "In Regret Always", which comes out at 5,500 words; that makes the whole thing twenty-one and a half thousand, definitely one of my longer efforts. Unfortunately I wasn't particularly happy with Gustave's big flashback speech in this chapter: the actual scene is fine plotwise, the details of what happens are fine, but I'm not sure his wording is getting it across as vividly as I can see it in my mind's eye. I remember having a lot of trouble in writing that bit in the first place; I wasn't particularly happy with the outcome at the time, and sadly it hasn't improved with being away from it.Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Chapter two of "In Regret, Always" completed: i.e. typed, heavily tweaked in places in an attempt to make it work better, and proofread for transcription errors (in that order!)

It eventually came out at 5,800 words, which is probably the longest single chapter I've done -- actually longer than several of my existing multi-chapter stories in their entirety. If it hadn't been for the framing structure I'd probably have elected to simply to split it at "an equally brave lie", but I had enough trouble getting in and out of the frame in order to split off the first half of the scene (an extra 3,500 words; just as well I did :-p) In any case, I seem to remember that chapter 3 in the manuscript is going to be even longer... Read more... )

The end?

28 June 2017 03:11 am
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Right, I think I've come up with an end: Gustave's poetry, if I can get it right.

(If he does end up in the trenches, the suggestion is that he will be one of the 'war poets'; the other idea is that the story of his parents will at least offer the potential to be immortalised as tragic poetry, if nothing else. Not sure I'm succeeding in conveying either at the moment yet...)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
This is the summary I came across: http://www.placedauphine.net/projects/inheritancelaw.html

This is the actual law:
In the original French: https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Code_civil_des_Fran%C3%A7ais_1804/Livre_I,_Titre_VII

(Section relevant to Gustave's situation: VII.I.2 "De la paternité et de la filiation" ) 312. L’enfant conçu pendant le mariage, a pour père le mari. [...] 313.
Le mari ne pourra, en alléguant son impuissance naturelle, désavouer l’enfant : il ne pourra le désavouer même pour cause d’adultère, à moins que la naissance ne lui ait été cachée...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Well, we have a title. Not "The Two Letters" -- further letters having emerged in the plot -- but "In Regret, Always".
We also have a summary, provisionally at least, and about six hundred words of beginning (two days' concentrated work; at this rate, the story is going to take some time...)

Apparently I made several wrong assumptions so far as the WW1 stuff goes, partly due to cursory reading of inaccurate sources; there was no 'second wave' call-up of older men, so Raoul would have been involved right from the start. After several days' panic I worked out that the dates are about right for him to be on leave (assuming he's an officer; the first leave didn't come through for the general troops until considerably later), although this of course has knock-on effects on everything else. Gustave is rather further away from official call-up age (twenty in France) than I had imagined, although rather closer in reality than the official dates would suggest. And there was no American equivalent of the VAD for untrained women :-(

I hope I don't find any more nasty holes after I've written the material...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I'm still not especially happy about the confrontation with the Phantom in this hypothetical new story: the big idea was supposed to be that the henchmen try to chloroform Gustave instead of Raoul, much to both men's fury, thus rendering the boy conveniently unconscious so that the issue of his paternity can be argued outside his hearing while disposing of the chloroform so that it can't be used on Raoul. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
So apparently I am writing this story, then...
At any rate, I've got a framework for the beginning (Raoul with his old uniform from the Reserves, writing his second letter and getting flashes back from the first letter), an opening for the carriage scene (scratches from Meg--rumours about Gustave--future children--Christine with the Phantom--but he put her there), and the essential New Backstory for their estrangement and the gambling, as required for every LND story :-p

(He had married a woman, not an opera--he had denied her nothing in those days--when she wanted to go back to the stage, the child had affected her voice--gradual alienation from the avoidance of caresses that could go no further--cousin Rodolphe de Sessaies went to Monte Carlo--Christine encouraged him to go with them--a drunken girl staked her pearl necklet and he won it against his watch--to give to Christine, like a boy with a fairing--things were better for a while, and he went again, but it didn't stop there. He was a rich man, after all, richer than Rodolphe--he could afford to lose--and then he couldn't)

Then Gustave wakes to ask again about Christine -- she will hate me. Back to letter.

As I said, apparently I am writing this story, like it or not! So it looks as if I need to work out the deal with the Phantom (always my weak point).
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Tagging sprint, Round Two!

Finally created a Gustave tag and went all the way back to 2012 again (240 posts) looking for all the posts where I would have tagged him had the tag existed at the time. I found twenty-two — plus this one. A waste of a very considerable amount of time, since character tags are really not that helpful on Dreamwidth.

(But then very few of the others are either, once they get used sufficiently often to make it difficult to find the specific entry I'm looking for...)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
After my recent throwaway comment (à propos Christine's hostile reaction after Raoul's renunciation letter) to the effect that if Raoul had taken Gustave then a lot of tragedy all round would have been avoided, I ended up -- somewhat to my disbelief/dismay -- getting more LND plot nibbles...

I'd have to be careful, because this is actually a plotline I've seen done in fan-fiction, albeit in a somewhat different vein. plot elements so far )
Notes on French Army in WW1 )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I'm increasingly concerned that Raoul comes across as getting rather an 'easy ride' in this story — a magical snap of the author's fingers, and then he's the Perfect Father and Husband overnight. The trouble is, I think, that I'm basing these chapters on the corresponding scene in canon where he really does miraculously scrub up and vow to do better... but without the corresponding tension of the unspoken bet on his marriage, and without the Phantom lurking around in the background waiting to make his own claims on Christine. Having been prevented by a fluke from being taunted into his reprehensible bet in the first place, all that is left of the character here is his genuine attempts at reformation. Which makes it come across as if I arbitrarily decided that Raoul is really a Nice Guy because I want him to be :-(

I considered replacing "mon vieux" with "fiston" as Raoul's form of affectionate address to the child, having come across this in Violonaire's Fantômes -- but I'm just not confident enough with it, and a check on Google Ngrams suggests that while the term 'fiston' did exist in the literature of this period, it's a term that has only really taken off in the last generation or so. So I'd better stick with what I'm fairly sure of so far as the French goes!

Chapter 5: Before the Performance

There were police at the Manhattan Opera in the end, that night. Not in the auditorium or outside the gallery entrance — the Daaé had scribbled a note for McWhirter to enclose with the ticket, promising there would be no trap, and she was dead-set on keeping her word — but outside the star dressing room, where a couple of big cops tapped nightsticks lightly on their holsters like they were just spoiling for someone to start making trouble.

If Mr. Y took a fancy to try something, of course, it wouldn’t be that crude. Jos could have told them that, and Miss Daaé had to know it better than any. But if fixing up protection for her with the management made her husband feel warm and wanted — well, it was no business of his how the theater was run. For Jos Perlman, the job had ended at ten o’clock this morning, when he produced the missing artiste and her party at the door of McWhirter’s office, signed, sealed and delivered. Another foul-up cleared; another disaster averted. His specialty. He’d gotten a fat commission out of it, too... and if at half six that evening he found himself paying a backstage call at the opera house, then it was purely on his own account. Besides, he told himself, he had to make sure she’d gotten everything she needed after their little undercover exit.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

This has of course been done to death already... but here’s my own ‘repurposing’ of the finale to ‘Love Never Dies’, inspired by some discussion of the latest (Hamburg) production.

This is not a version of the characters I particularly endorse — but it’s one I can see Andrew Lloyd Webber accepting, at a pinch!

(And I still don't care for the present-tense viewpoint, but it's the best I can manage in order to convey a 'script' format in this context. I confidently expect this to be my last foray in that direction.)


Meg’s voice cracks in betrayal.

“Christine — always Christine!”

The tenuous threads of hope — of understanding — that the Phantom’s voice had sent spinning out around her are ripped asunder, and she springs back as if from a closing trap. The gun is levelled between them. It fires.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Various relevant excerpts from the Hamburg review -- so that I don't have to slog through translating it again -- with a disclaimer that my Russian is extremely rusty, there are chunks omitted, and there may be misunderstandings.

(Incidentally, I have to say that I've always loved the way the Russians spell "Raoul" in Cyrillic with a 'soft sign' ь at the end. I'm not sure it particularly reflects the French pronunciation -- it's more akin to appending a 'y' sound to the last letter -- but there's something very endearing about the convention!)

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Right, I sincerely hope this works, since I'm still unable to log in to fix broken syntax or do anything other than post new articles... If this lasts much longer I shall be forced to join the great majority on Dreamwidth. Which would be a pity, because there's a lot of history (most of it not mine) on LiveJournal.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned the site's new and endearing habit of apparently loading every page twice with about twenty seconds' delay between them, so that you have just typed several sentences into the browser form before the page rerenders and wipes everything...

So here we're into what is basically the epilogue of the story, from the point of view of Gustave who is essentially an optimistic and sunny-natured child, and who is busy forgetting all the less pleasant parts of the last couple of days. It's basically Raoul-and-Christine fluff being observed through the largely oblivious eyes of their ten-year-old son :-)

I tried to model my Edwardian boy's PoV on the various heroes of E. Nesbit's pre-War stories, which deal with such prosaic matters as comforting crying little sisters, explaining to grown-ups how your best clothes came to be soaked through, and various imaginative pursuits that made perfect sense at the time but get you into no end of trouble when reality intrudes. Although Gustave doesn't really have to deal with anything more than traumatised parents :-p

(Apparently I don't have a tag for Gustave. Well, under the circumstances I can't very well insert one retrospectively :-( ) [Edit April 2017: finally going through and inserting tags via Dreamwidth, two years later!]

Chapter 9: A Hero of Our Time

Mrs Morrison had been a lot more friendly this morning since their luggage had come. But Gustave couldn’t help remembering the way she’d looked at Mother last night as if she didn’t approve of her or of Father at all. He was polite, of course, and let the landlady ruffle his hair and smooth down his new jacket and tell his mother what a fine boy he was in a New York English so broad it might as well have been Flemish so far as they were concerned. But he was glad when the carriage she’d sent for finally arrived and they could load everything up again and get ready to leave. He wasn’t sure he entirely liked Mrs Morrison or her house.

It had been fun to sleep in his clothes and be tucked up at the foot of his mother’s bed and wake up in a strange little room with the sounds of the street outside. He could see it was the sort of adventure you got tired of quite quickly, though. And when they’d heard a heavy vehicle stopping outside and footsteps running up the stairs to come banging on their door, he’d seen his mother go white as a sheet.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

This was originally planned to be the end of the preceding chapter; but not only did the 'pier' scene overrun, it rapidly became obvious that the characters had an awful lot to sort out that wasn't appropriate to Gustave's presence. Also, having all been through the wringer by this stage, they were worn out.

The result was that the ending didn't come out at all the way I had originally anticipated, and a couple of completely new settings come into the story to accommodate the 'delayed matter'...

Chapter 5: The Seagull

Christine buried her face in Gustave’s hair again, nuzzling the warm small-boy scent of him and enveloping him in a tight embrace until he began at last to wriggle and pull away. She was still shaking with reaction.

She’d believed the Phantom fully capable of taking her son from her and keeping them apart to hold her to his will; but he would never have harmed him. Not the child he had so ardently believed to be his own — the boy in whose quick mind and talent he had seen an unmarred reflection of what he might have been. If she’d had any doubt of that, the man’s horror and distress when the boy was found missing from backstage had made it clear: Mr Y would never hurt Gustave, she was certain of it, even in heartbreak or despair.

Harm to Raoul... was a very different matter.

And so in those first few bewildered moments it had been Raoul’s life she feared for, cut short at the hands of some trap or over-zealous lackey when he’d plunged out after their son in the grip of blind misery and the desperate need to act. She’d been afraid for Gustave at the first when the boy had failed to return, and again when she understood that he was truly missing. But he’d wandered off before, caught up in the flush of some unforeseen interest or following a trail that no adult could make out: as a mother her worry was acute enough but tempered by the pangs of experience.

She had not truly panicked to begin with. Not until frenzied inquisition had brought to light Meg Giry’s hand in the whole affair, and a tumult of insecurity and rage at which Christine, horrified, had never guessed. Not until Meg’s mother, herself on the point of breakdown, had flung accusations that betrayed all too clearly the direction of poor Meg’s heart, as Christine’s presence stole everything from her that she had wanted or might have had. Not until the loaded gun that had been called for, against Christine’s protests, had turned up missing, with Meg Giry as the last to have entered the high Aerie without its Master’s knowledge...

Read more... )


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