Monday, April 12, 2004

Burning Marguerite

I read somewhere once that innocence is not virtue. Perhaps that explains me, or rather describes the girl I was. For although I was innocent, I was never virtuous. My mother taught me that.
-from Burning Marguerite, by Elizabeth Inness-Brown

My friend E. gave me this novel for, well, for something halfway between Christmas and my birthday (the best kind of gift!). I read it in two sittings. When I finished it, on the train home today, I deeply longed to continue to know the characters, to travel with them. The story ends, but the setting and its people persist.

Here's another little bit, to pique your interest:

I showed her the things in the portfolio first. Bowls of fruit, stacks of old dishes, old hats. She nodded and made small, pleased sounds, but said nothng. Then I showed her the new one, still tacked to my drawing board, lifting the tissue from it for her to see. She gave a low whistle. "When did you do this?" she asked.

"Last night."

I looked at it with her. It was a drawing, primarily of what I later learned was the blossom of an Angel Trumpet, Datura wrightii. Huge, white, unfurled like a narrow umbrella--a horn, a trumpet, with sharp tips that marked where its petals would have been divided, had God chosen to divide them. I had drawn it largely by negation--by inking the leaves around it in black, as they had looked to me in the strange light of my lamps.


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