Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thus runs time

“I demand to know what your business is—why you sought us out. Prithee, what is this, sir?” It was not until later she realized she had lapsed into the graceful lilt of the Scarlettanian tongue."      -The Scarlet-Gypsy Song

A few thousand words back now in my Gypsy-Song I began to notice a strange thing occurring to my characters. At the start of the book--back in London, I mean--the Macefield children were very...childish, for lack of a better term. They were rambunctious children, irresponsible, naughty, cheeky. But as they tumbled out of our world and into Scarlettania something happened to them. Something imperceptible as it was definite.

 My children grew up.

At first I worried--what had happened to my characters? Should they remain as they were? And then I realized that the change had grown naturally out of the rhythm of the tale. As the plot progresses, so do the children. It is, therefore, not surprising that the dastardly Peter Quickenhelm should make advances toward Adelaide before finally kidnapping her. It is not surprising that Eugenie learns to talk and Fergus loses his lisp. It is not surprising that Charlotte becomes the sole caretaker of "the babies." It is not surprising that Darby and Bertram go off to war. How many ten and eight year-olds do you know that are manly enough to handle battle? None, I'll warrant. And yet they were somehow changed in that passage from Earth to Scarlettania. People grow stronger there. They grow older. There is nothing startling in the change but it is a change all the same. I think the change lies mostly within. The children are not noticeably taller and yet they are certainly wiser, wittier, capable of more. Why? Why? Certainly it is not the sweet waters of the River Rhune that made the change, nor the clear air of the East Striding. What then? And then I happened upon it. the change came with the expectations of the people of Scarlettania.
“You have been weighed in the balance and found lacking,” the king said... "But we Scarlettanian-folk specialize in just and noble weights and measures; and if one considers—in addition to the weights of your trespasses, which are heavy indeed—the weights of your lives’ experience, one must acknowledge that is not so grievous a matter after all. You have had a paltry dose of lessons in what matters in this world and your own.”

Once in this new world, the Macefields were required to have their faults weighed and balanced as grown-ups might. They were not treated as children any longer. With this new treatment came the change. When more than customary expectations are demanded from a person, his courage and character [ought to] rise to the occasion. That's what happened to the Macefield bunch. That's what happens to us if we see ourselves in the Lord's mirror for what we are. And then, when we look in the back of the mirror to see Christ's gift, we grow. We grow in ways imperceptible and visible. We grow in ways we'd never imagined. We grow and we are forever changed.

"...What say you, Adelaide-mine?" The long fingers closed around her arm and rooted her to the spot.
Adelaide's heart thundered in her chest but she would not show fear to this man. She raised her eyes to meet his with frank clarity. "I say to death with you. To death with your traitorous wolf-kind."  
-The Scarlet-Gypsy Song


Miss Dashwood said...

Rachel, I only wish I could write with the kind of depth that you do. By George, you've got it with this one!
I can't wait to read more of The Scarlet-Gypsy Song, and I can't wait to read more ABOUT it too. I adore your posts about this book, and I love how your writing is so much... well, so much deeper than I might have at first thought. "When more than customary expectations are demanded from a person, his courage and character [ought to] rise to the occasion."
This wasn't just pleasant reading, this was inspirational. I love this book. I need to read more!!

ashley tahg said...

This book, sounds lovely!!

Morgan said...

Yay! This is my favorite of your books so far!:)

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