Monday, October 22, 2012

Nothing but parchment...

Abigail reminded me of the fact that there are such things as Character Letters in this life, and a much-needed thing they are, too. In fact, I believe it is safe to say that Character Letters are the perfect venue through which to familiarize yourself with your characters' voices when you get a tad out of touch with them. Or when you are wanting to get in touch with them, which is me in the case of Au Contraire. Thus I give to you a letter written by Corinne Garnier to her cousin, Renaud Tremaine. It has little bearing on the plot, and only serves to give you a feel for her character. She writes:

"My cousin,
       Perhaps you have scores of demimondaine who would address you as their "esteemed, beloved, magnificent Citoyen Tremaine", but though I might be an enfant terrible, you at least have the satisfaction of knowing I am entirely truthful. Of course a mistress would pamper and esteem you. But I do not esteem you any more than you esteem me. We have a perfect knowledge of our characters, you and I, and it seems to me that we are matched; en pantoufles. I do not call you noble or honorable. You do not call me a lady. We would be, both of us, en brochette-cooked on a skewer-if we were succumbed to the scrutiny of the aristocratic standard. Thank God that is not so and we've effectively silenced all such scrutiny--neither of us could survive the slight to our vanity it would be to be held to such a flame--we are nothing but parchment writ over with fierce, fiery script. Some a bit less ambitious than we would say our imaginings are nothing but folie a deux--a clinging to a delusional ideal. But, my dear cousin, here is the fun of it--they shall be the ones left pale and listless by and by while you and I swing higher on this glorious wave of Revolution.
      You will doubtless smile with your greatest condescension when we meet this afternoon. I feel in the highest of high spirits: viva la republique! and all that. I am lively enough to start a bread riot, only I am tired of bread. Perhaps a gateau riot would be more to the point. If we could demand an allay in cake-prices, what a glorious repartee that would be to that demimonde, Marie Antoinette's command to "let them eat cake." You have always been plagued by staircase-wit--store that one up for a later date and remember to thank me afterward.
     Sometimes, Renaud, I feel a queer idea in relation to you. I feel that we are so alike that I have but to look into your face and see my own soul--if we have souls yet, which many doubt in these wonderfully forward-thinking days. Do you have a soul, Renaud? Somehow I doubt it in your case as well as mine--and I am not sure whether to feel gaiety or terror over the idea. Come to me early this evening. I want to be mocked and taunted and mock and taunt in return and cease with everything soberminded. D'accord?
              Your chiton-fille,
                                Corinne Adele Garnier


Melissa Amateis said...

I used to write conversations between my characters and I all the time. Haven't done that for years, but I remember it being an excellent way to get "unstuck." :)

Carmel Elizabeth said...

I love how riddled with French this is, Rachel! I feel like my letters would end up like that, so often am I speaking French around the house. :)

Dieu vous benissent!

Rosamund Gregory said...

Thanks so much for joining in! Were you able to find the linky? It's rather hidden, as I keep neglecting to add it to the official page *blushes*. You can find it here:

Thanks so much! I love your letter...especially tout les plu de francais! Ils donnet de ce type de air!

Chloe M. Kookogey said...

I love this letter, Rachel! Corrine's personality cannot be limited to such things as ink and parchment; it comes right through the paper until I feel she is standing before me. The only comment I would make is that while Marie Antoinette is rumored for saying, "Let them eat cake!", it's not a truthful account. The original speaker was said to be only "a great princess", with no historical evidence that it was Marie Antoinette herself. As a matter of fact, when the quote was first recorded, Marie was only nine years old.

Elizabeth Rose