Clermont by Regina Maria Roche - lyzard tutoring SqueakyChu - Part 2

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Clermont by Regina Maria Roche - lyzard tutoring SqueakyChu - Part 2

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Jul 8, 2012, 11:25 pm

In which Madeline (SqueakyChu) continues to follow Madeline (Clermont) through the labyrinth that is the hallmark of a really good Gothic novel...

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 12:03 am

Clermont (Volume 3) - Chapter 6 - Part 1

...wherein Madeline and Count Julian meet with the Marquis de Montmorenci

Ends with...
" give Madeline a better opportunity of examining it"


1. Counting melancholies...
"the melancholy pleasure"
"heightened the melancholy"
"nor was her melancholy decreased"

2. Why does the author of this book have to refer to Clermont as St. Julian now? It is because that is his rightly bestown title, and she doesn't care if her readers get confused? ;)

3. "(cried the good man)"

Who was "the good man" in this case?

4. Does the Marquis only want to make amends with Clermont now because his other son (who I assume was his favorite) is no longer alive?

5. Aha! I was wondering when de Sevigne would again show up! He's in a painting, but that also counts. :)

6. Was the Marchioness the Marquis's wife? Is "Marchioness" the female equivalent of Marquis?

7. Was "Lord Phillipe" the Marchioness's son, but not the son of the Marquis?

Edited: Jul 9, 2012, 10:45 pm

2. Yes, and yes. Mostly the first yes. :)

Social distinctions and titles were so important at the time, that if you could use them you did use them. Even within families, people were usually called by their titles rather than their names.

3. The "good man" is the monk who heard the Marquis's confession; "my son" is used here in the religious sense, priest to parishioner.

4. Well... We could just say "yes", cynically; but I think we're expected to accept that his second son's death has made the Marquis sincerely (not just conveniently) repent over his treatment of his first wife and son. He's not just repenting now that the real Count St. Julian has turned up, he's been repenting for seventeen years (hence his gloom and his refusal to go into society).

5. Certainly!

6. Yes, a Marquis's wife is called a Marchioness. (Of course in this case, the marriage was bigamous...)

7. No---what we have here is a servant having been in the family so long that she remembers the three generations living together: the Marquis (the grandfather), Count St. Julian (the father) and Lord Philippe (the grandson), so she still thinks of the youngest as "Lord Philippe" even though he later became Count St. Julian, when his grandfather died. This is the dead second son.

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 12:09 am

So de Sevignie (or what looks like de Sevignie in the picture) is the former Lord Philippe and the dead (former, but not legitimate) Count St. Julian?

*still confused*

...or maybe de Sevignie is not the former Lord Phillipe at all?

I hope you now know why I'd never tackle a novel such as this one alone!

Jul 10, 2012, 12:28 am

The portrait is of Lord Phillipe, the second son of the Marquis and the false Count St. Julian. It was (obviously) painted before his death and was therefore painted about twenty years earlier. So certainly de Sevignie is not Lord Philippe, in spite of the resemblance that Madeline sees.

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 12:50 am

Thanks for clarifying that for me.

The fun will now come in finding out how de Sevignie is (or is not) related to the false Count St. Julian (since they so closely resemble one another)!

Edited: Jul 10, 2012, 11:43 pm

Clermont (Volume 3) - Chapter 6 - Part 2 which Madeline hears a groaning in the next room


1. Counting melancholies
"his melancholy fate"
"more conspicuous than melancholy"

2. "...reseated herself by the toilette"

Was a toilette like a dressing table?

3. "...a change which removed from the memory of her grandmother the obloquy that had been so long attached to it"

What is "obloquy"?

4. So the chapter ends with the idea that the rightful Count St. Julian might have murdered the wrongful Count St. Julian." Hmmm? Mysterious! :)

5. Were those really groans that came from the next room or only Madeline's imagination?

End of Volume 3!

I'm good, so far! :)

Jul 11, 2012, 12:19 am

2. Yes. The term "toilette" or "toilet" at the time referred to a person's dressing and grooming; today's meaning was very late arriving on the scene (and makes some 18th and 19th century novels a bit awkward to read!).

3. Scandal or shame. The "obloquy" on the memory of Madeline's grandmother is that she was believed to have been Count St. Julian's mistress rather than his wife, and to have borne his illegitimate child.

4. That's the suggestion...

5. Wait and see (or hear)!

End of Volume 3!

Well done!!

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 12:23 am

Looking forward to volume 4...

Jul 11, 2012, 12:36 am

How do we know we're reading a Gothic novel?

The heroine has presentiments:

"She told me (cried Madeline) and her lips knew nor falsehood, that the calamities of his life were unprecedented; that its characters were marked by horror, and stained with blood;---but in the view he gave me of it, no such calamities, no such characters met my eye; tis therefore too evident, that much of it remained concealed.---Oh! may that concealment now continue, (she proceeded); Oh! may no hand more daring than mine withdraw the veil I have been so often cautioned against raising; may no untoward circumstance reveal a mystery, whose elucidation I have now a presentiment would fill me wih horror!"

Melancholy count: 5
Tally: 72

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 10:51 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 1 which a hand points to Count St. Julian


This chapter was too easy for me to understand. I'm guessing that things get complicated once again later.

1. If no one saw the dead Phillipe, perhaps he is still alive?

2. Madeline picked a convenient time to faint!

3. Was that really someone's hand which pointed at Count St. Julian?

4. How did Madeline's father know what she was thinking just because she looked disheveled?

Jul 11, 2012, 11:07 pm

Make the most of the opportunity to catch your breath... :)

I don't think I'll respond to any of that except to say to (4) that he already knew what she was thinking from a dozen different half-sentences; the fact that she was unable to pull herself together just confirmed it for him: "The best proof, therefore, you can give me of your regard, is by endeavouring to recover your spirits."

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 11:13 pm

Ah! - okay, I think a heads-up is in order, because one aspect of the rest of the novel I found horribly confusing:

We are about to be introduced to - let's see, how should I put this? - the father of the husband of the daughter of the Countess Elvira - which is to say, Monsieur D'Alembert's father.

Unfortunately, Monsieur D'Alembert's father is also called Monsieur D'Alembert. Sometimes Roche distinguishes them by calling the "the Older" and "the Younger", but a lot of the time she doesn't, and it's very easy to lose track of which one is being spoken about.

The two of them do not tend to be in the same place, with the same people, at the same time---so I can only advise you to pay careful attention to where a particular scene is taking place.

Edited: Jul 11, 2012, 11:47 pm

Thanks for that heads up! It's a useful one, I'm sure.

"...the father of the husband of the daughter of the..."


My two-hundred-year-old family tree with hundreds of people in it is, by far, simpler than the characters of this novel. :)

At least my last name is not Clermont! :)

Jul 12, 2012, 12:08 am

Neither is Clermont's. :)

Jul 12, 2012, 12:26 am


Edited: Jul 12, 2012, 11:12 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 2 which Madeline goes walking in the woods at dusk


1. Why does Madeline always time her walks so that she ends up being in the woods at nightfall?

2. I still don't know if Madeline is seeing ghosts or parts of real people. I guess that's part of the mystery of this story.

3. Do we know from what kind of illness Madame' D'Alembert is suffering?

4. Counting melancholies...
"the melancholy eye"

5. Count St. Julian has settled himself rather quickly into the good life, don't you thinK?

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 6:19 pm

1. It was now the still, the dewy hour of eve, an hour in which she particularly loved to walk...

Because dusk is "romantic" and "melancholy".

Because this is a Gothic novel. :)

2. Wait and see...

3. Novels of this period rarely give details about illnesses; it wasn't considered "nice".

5. Well, back into it: he was raised amongst the nobility, before retiring to his cottage.

But one thing that you do find in these sorts of novels, which often manifests in the form of peasants who obviously aren't really peasants (as in The Castle Of Otranto), is that belonging to the aristocracy is a sort of "genetic" condition, with certain individuals obviously at home there (and others obviously not).

Edited: Jul 12, 2012, 11:46 pm

Because dusk is "romantic" and "melancholy".

Because this is a Gothic novel.


Novels of this period rarely give details about illnesses; it wasn't considered "nice".

Well, this Madeline is a nurse, and illness arouses my curiosity!

that belonging to the aristocracy is a sort of "genetic" condition, with certain individuals obviously at home there (and others obviously not).

Well, it must be "genetic" because even simple Madeline does not seem to be too troubled by having so many servants at her disposal and living in such an esteemed place.

Edited: Jul 12, 2012, 11:32 pm

I could do with a little of that myself...

Edited: Jul 13, 2012, 11:14 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 4

in which Madeline receives a proposal of marriage


1. Counting melancholies...
"the melancholy intelligence'
"her melancholy meditations"
"beholding his increasing melancholy"

2. I'm thinking that this proposal of marriage is only so that the fortunes of Montmercenci can be tied into the D'Alembert family.

3. "a plan of felicity"

I knew that had to be a plan for marrying Madeline off. How is it that men always think they know what will make a woman happy?

4. "would I immure myself for ever within the walls of a cloister..."

What is "immure" ?

5. I think that M. D'Alembert (Jr. ) has had designs on Madeline all this while.

6. I wonder if Madame D'Alembert (Viola) wa really ill at all (or simply "heartsick").

I may be back too late tomorrow night to do my reading. If so, I'll continue on Sunday night. Saturday night is party time! :)

Edited: Jul 13, 2012, 11:36 pm

2. Bingo. The D'Alemberts were the heirs to Montmorenci before Clermont / Count St. Julian showed up. Thwarted one way, they're taking an indirect route to the same point.

3. Well, until quite recently, fathers had absolute power to dispose of their daughters ("dispose of" being the right way of looking at it, in my opinion), and it was usually more about family connections and fortune than happiness - or rather, the idea that family connections + fortune = happiness. The woman was just the means by which the men aggrandised themselves (or as one writer put it, women were merely a conduit for the transmission of money between men).

Even a father who was supposed to have his daughter's best interests at heart was likely to think that those interests should be served via titles and money.

In this case, Clermont is a bit exasperated because he thinks Madeline should have gotten over de Sevignie by now (since he was unworthy of her).

4. Imprison.

6. You'd hardly blame her if the latter...

Sure, enjoy your Saturday - we'll pick it up the day after!

Edited: Jul 14, 2012, 12:09 pm

I found some time to read a chapter this morning so...

Jul 14, 2012, 12:09 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 4 which Madeline is given a rusty dagger


1. Why are all the daggers rusty in this book? ;)

2. I like that (twice in this chapter!) Madeline picks up a book for comfort. :)

3. Counting melancholies...
"terror and melancholy"

4. I knew that the person who grabbed Madeline was not going to murder her. However, I thought it was going to turn out to be M. D'Alembert (Junior).

5. I think it was very nasty of M. D'Alembert (Senior) to blackmail Madeline's father in order to get his way. What an evil part of that family!

6. What is a "morning-dress"? Like a housecoat or a robe?

7. I liked the drama of the dagger dropping in full view of Madeline's father!

8. " will work me up to frenzy."

Ha! St. Julian already was worked up to a frenzy.

9. Finally! We are about to hear "the story"...

Jul 14, 2012, 7:00 pm

1. Mostly because they're left lying around in crumbling castles. :)

But you need to be on the lookout, because in novels like this "rusty" is often a euphemism for "bloodstained".

6. It was a comparatively simple dress, usually with a plain skirt and a short jacket buttoned to the waist. An evening-dress was much more elaborate and complicated.

9. And I would advise you to go slowly, pay close attention, and ask questions if necessary! :)

Edited: Jul 14, 2012, 7:08 pm

How do we know we're reading a Gothic novel?

Shocking family secrets!---

"I will no longer delay revealing my sad story to you (said St. Julian); perhaps after hearing it, some other expedient than a marriage with D'Alembert may strike you for preserving me. You expect, no doubt (resumed her after he had secured the doors, and seated himself by her), a tale of horrors; alas! that expectation will be but too dreadfully fulfilled!"

Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 2): 1
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 3): 3
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 4): 1
Tally: 77

Jul 14, 2012, 7:09 pm

I find it amusing that he's so careful about securing the doors, in a castle where every room apparently has a secret entrance...

Jul 14, 2012, 9:21 pm

> 25

Mostly because they're left lying around in crumbling castles.


But you need to be on the lookout, because in novels like this "rusty" is often a euphemism for "bloodstained".

Didn't Lubin have a rusty dagger at the beginning of this book as well?
Would his have had blood on it?
Does blood really rust a dagger?
Wouldn't someone wash the blood off of his dagger, if only to keep it in perfect working order? :)

6. So did women not want to be seen in their morning dresses?

9. I'll heed your advice to go slowly. Going sowly has only added to my appreciation and understanding of this book so far. Thanks for the warning. I haven't had any problems asking questions so far. :)

Jul 14, 2012, 9:23 pm

I find it amusing that he's so careful about securing the doors, in a castle where every room apparently has a secret entrance...

Plus there are already people hidden in each room... :D

Jul 14, 2012, 10:12 pm


Lubin had a rusty sword, but that probably was just rusty, since he took it down from a bracket on a wall.

Blood doesn't rust, it just looks like rust when it dries. And yes, you'd think people would clean their weapons, either to keep them in good order or at least to destroy the evidence, but perhaps there's a reason that didn't happen...

A morning-dress was quite respectable, but it was usually what you wore for doing housework, etc., rather than for going out or receiving guests. (Madeline isn't planning on leaving her room.)

Jul 15, 2012, 10:27 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 5 - Part 1 which Geraldine reveals her story

End with "...of visiting you much oftener than I could otherwise do."


1. Counting melancholies...
"in a melancholy manor..."

2. "If a real woman (said I to myself), she will be glad of an opportunity to communicate a secret.

Harumph! Why is this characteristic attributed only to women? Here it is Claude who wants in on a secret!

3. "injured her honor"

Which means what? Raped her? Had consensual sex with her? Were woman at that time not supposed to want to have sex with a man? Was this considered a racy story?

4. Who is the narrator here? I thought it was Claude, but then, all of a sudden, it is Blanche who is talking. I forgot who Blanche was.

5. So is this what happened:

Count St. Julianne (now known as Lord Philippe) visited Claude's godfather where he encountered Geraldine (one of two sisters), made her pregnant, but then did not want to marry her because she was not the right status. He arranged for his brother, Lausane, to marry the pregnant Geraldine by bribing him with money. The timing of the birth would be of no importance as Count St. Julian would be feigning illness and nowhere around at that time.

6. I can't go on any farther until I'm sure I understand correctly what is happening so far. Thanks! :(

Jul 16, 2012, 12:31 am

Missing you, Liz. Hope all is okay!

Jul 16, 2012, 12:35 am

Oops, sorry - I'm late today; been out and about.

2. don't gossip, either. {*rolls eyes*}

3. "Injured her honour" can mean anything from doing something to hurt a girl's reputation, up to rape. In this context it means that he seduced her under a promise of marriage; she is pregnant as a consequence.

4. This is one a real "chain letter": Blanche, the maid to the two sisters, tells a story to her boyfriend, Claude, who repeats it to his friend, Josephe, and is overheard by Lausane / Clermont.

5. You're almost right: they're not bribing Lausane - they are trying to lure him into falling in love with Geraldine and marrying her, so that he will think that the baby is his.

We don't get quite this far, but in the next stretch we learn that the Count is faking his illness, knowing that Lausane will leave Geraldine and come to him. The plan is for the baby to be born while Lausane is away from home, so that he won't realise how "early" it has come (or why).

Jul 16, 2012, 8:37 pm

Just a heads-up: I will likely be late responding to you today, too. Carry on, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Jul 17, 2012, 12:13 am

Sorry. I didn't get a chance to do any reading tonight. I'll try to get some reading in tomorrow night.

Edited: Jul 17, 2012, 10:47 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 5 - Part 2 which Lord Phillipe is slain

ends with ...
"to plague the sons of men and tempt them to destruction?"


1. Lord Phillipe has a son? I'm guessing it's DeSevigne.

2. We now know who killed Lord Phillipe.

3. Am I correct in thinking that someone overheard the wrong information so that the "buzz" about Geraldine was really the news about Elenora (the older sister)?

I want to go slowly here so that I do understand what's going on. It's so confusing, but I think I might still be on track.

Edited: Jul 17, 2012, 11:11 pm

Umm...what you are commenting on / asking about gets cleared up eventally, so I think I'll fall back upon that old favourite, wait and see. :)

Generally you're on the right track; the things you don't understand you're mostly not meant to understand just yet.

Jul 17, 2012, 11:24 pm

Okay. I'll trust you... :)

Edited: Jul 18, 2012, 11:54 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 5 - Part 3 which Lausane tells the monk his story

End with:
'...the Earl and the infant are to follow"


1. "He raised her from the ground, and chafed her hands and temples, in a few minutes she shewed signs of returning life".

Was it that hard to tell a living person from a dead person?

What does "chafed" mean?

2. I don't understand the "hand guilt" versus the "heart guilt". Is it that the monk believes that the death was not Count St. Julian's fault, and that Count St. Julian had been tricked into killing Lord Phillipe?

3. Why is the monk trying to protect a murderer?

4. If the body was not found, that means a death could not be proven.

5. What is a "vine-dresser"? That word makes me think of a cross dresser! :)

6. Blanche and Claude are in this together. Their plotting has had some evil repercussions. She is gone, and he is gone. Meanwhile LaFroy is trying to cover for his brother.

7. This is all so complicated!

Jul 18, 2012, 11:45 pm

1. A faint was often regarded in these novels as a kind of almost dying (my pet novelist, Catherine Cuthbertson, favours the death-like swoon) - not so unreasonable in a context where people are constantly dying of grief and shock and broken hearts... :)

"Chafe" means to rub.

2. Yes, basically, although it's not really an argument you'd expect to find a monk making! (Sounds more like a defence lawyer!)

3. Partly because he doesn't believe that the murder was really his fault, and partly because he is the Dunlere family's confessor and therefore thinks of himself as a member of the family. (Although again, not very monk-ly!)

4. Not in 1740. :)

5. It's someone employed at a vineyard, to look after the vines.

6. & 7. Evil conspiracies: the heart of the Gothic novel!

Jul 18, 2012, 11:50 pm

By the way, I've been having a good laugh over the biological ignorance on display here, whether Roche's own or the presumed ignorance of her (young, female?) readership:

According to the conspirators, Geraldine was supposed to be about to give birth to Philippe's child...and her husband couldn't tell!?

Since she is now pregnant with his child, obviously at some point he'd, um, gotten up close and personal. You'd think he would have noticed that bump in between!

Jul 19, 2012, 12:01 am

> 40

Not in 1740


Since she is now pregnant with his child, obviously at some point he'd, um, gotten up close and personal. You'd think he would have noticed that bump in between!

She might not be that pregnant yet. I didn't get the idea that the birth was imminent.

Edited: Jul 19, 2012, 12:31 am

No, she actually isn't; but according to the conspirators, Lausane was being gotten out of the way so she could give birth to Philippe's illegitimate child; that bump, you'd think he would have noticed...or at least, have noticed that there wasn't one, before he killed his brother on that basis.

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 12:31 am

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 5 - Part 4 which Count St. Julian has an idea for how to keep Madeline from having to marry M. D'Alembert (Junior)


1. This is such a lengthy, convoluted story! How in the world did the author think this up?

2. Did Geraldine die in childbirth?

3. Was Claude's making up a fake story and telling it to Blanche who then told someone else (whom? I already forgot!) the real reason that Count St. Julian killed his brother?

4."But I will not...lengthen out my story."

He won't?!

5. Why hasn't Phillipe's body been found yet? :)

6. After all this trouble to get back his title, Count St. Julian is now ready to give it back up? Can't he just say "No!" to M. D'Alembert in regard to Madeline's marrying him?

7. It seems that so much of society, as it as written in this story, is simply about status as related to wealth. It also seems as if the peasants are much happier than the richer folks. They bear less of a burden of having to behave a particular way just for show.

8. I must be missing a lot of the details of this story, but I don't know what other questions to ask at this time. Now I'm waiting to see when de Sevigne will show up again, when Phillipe will show up again, and when something bad will befall father and son M. D'Alembert! :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 6:23 pm

1. Long winter nights with no television or internet.

2. Yes.

3. Well, the content of the story was; although there should be a lesson in here somewhere (there isn't really) about looking before you leap. :)

4. I've known novels of this vintage where the flashback / explanation runs a volume and a half!

5. Any number of reasons. Wolves, for instance...

6. He can say no, but if he does he'll be arrested for his brother's murder. Don't forget that this is what D'Alembert Sr threatened Madeline with in the first place, the exposure and ruin (and in this period, the torture and execution) of her father.

7. It's kind of weird, though, as if people didn't actually realise it (or preferred not to), because it's always put in terms of "honourable old families", as that meant something...

Of course, peasant life at the time wasn't quite as "picturesque" as these novels make it seem, but was often one of brutal poverty and exploitation. Still, happiness in a cottage was one of the recurrent themes of novels like this.

8. It's if you don't understand after you've had all the explanations that we'll worry about questions. :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 6:23 pm

Oh! Heh.

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh...

The next chapter is the one that gave me fits of hysterical laughter when I was reading Clermont.

Remember when we were reading Northanger Abbey, and you were disappointed that Mrs Tilney was actually dead, instead of being chained up in a dungeon somewhere, as Catherine suspected, and I told you that if you wanted a subplot like that, you'd have to read a real Gothic novel..? :)

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 12:35 am

I've known novels of this vintage where the flashback / explanation runs a volume and a half!

Oh, no!!

Any number of reasons. Wolves, for instance...

"...and lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!" :)

Don't forget that this is what D'Alembert Sr threatened Madeline with in the first place

That's right. There's just too much going on here for my tired brain to remember everything. Maybe I shouldn't be reading parts of this book when I get home from work at night. Oh, well. You're here to remind me of what I forget.

It's if you don't understand after you've had all the explanations that we'll worry about questions

Sounds good to me!

Jul 20, 2012, 12:34 am

> 46

Now I can't wait for the next chapter...

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 10:22 am

Though this novel is lots of fun to read, it is *so* dense and unlike anything I usually read. There is so much going on in it with characters, half of whom either have the same name or have taken the same name as other characters. How did you ever get me to read this? More than that, though, how did you ever get me to like it? Was it the promise of "the gothic novel" that captured me right from the start? :)

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 1:10 am

As I recall, it was Jane Austen's doing... :)

(In my own defence, I hadn't read this particular novel before we started, so I wasn't in a position to warn you!)

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 6:05 pm

At the very least, in this exeriment with my own reading, I have grown to develop a true appreciation for Jane Austen and her work (at least what I know fo it so far). After Clermont, I'll probably find Austen's novels easy reading! ;)

I have often wondered why so much emphasis has been put on classic literature in schools at the expense of more contemporary literature in English classes. Now I can see several reasons for doing this.

One is that it is important to see in what ways literature has changed over the years. In order to do this effectively, we need to go back to examine older literature.

Another reason is that classic literature bring history into context. It is one thing to read about how people used to live in a textbook, but it'squite another to read how people most likely acted (okay, so sometimes it's exaggerated!) in
the context of a classic novel.

A final, but perhaps equally important reason, is that such literature might seem unapproachable to an individual (ahem!), but, with help, an interesting and entertaining story might be discovered. Bingo! :D

Edited: Jul 20, 2012, 11:19 am

Off topic:

By the way, Valancourt Books is about to publish another novel by Bram Stoker. I don't know if you can access the graphic of its book cover design on Facebook, but it's wild...

Jul 20, 2012, 11:54 am

Clermont (Voume 4) - Chapter 6 - Part 1

... in which Madeline receives a letter

Ends with
"...think only how you may avoid their malice"


1. How can a promise of secrecy by M. D'Alembert (Senior) be believed - especially in this story and especially from this nasty, nasty man? (The "nasty, nasty man" expression comes from the doll Malveen of Duma Key by Stephen King. I *loved* that book.) :)

2. Counting melancholies...
"the deepest melancholy"
"the very picture of melancholy"

3. Women could absent themselves from meals for any trivial reason, but not so men. Why?

4. Haha! Madame D'Alembert (the younger) come to life again. :O

5. Who was the man who delivered the letter?

6. What is a "gulph"? An abyss?

7. At this point, how can anyone believe anything - whether by spoken word or by written word? I'd say that, as the old saying goes, "seeing is believing". :)

Jul 20, 2012, 5:29 pm


Aww, that's lovely!

The progressive evolution of the novel is one of my fixations, of course.

Another reason is that classic literature bring history into context.

This is exactly how I feel - and it's why I particularly enjoy the novels of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, who were both such acute observers of the society around them - the details as well as the big picture. Trollope even got criticised for that during his lifetime - they said he didn't write novels, he just reported what he saw around him - but it's exactly that that makes his work so valuable today.

That, of course, in conjunction with an acute understanding of character and beautiful use of the language. :)


Ooh, gorgeous!

Amused to see some very familiar names amongst the "likers"!

Jul 20, 2012, 5:39 pm

1. Well---in theory a solemn oath to God could be relied upon no matter who makes it. That is why Madeline makes D'Alembert kneel down and swear.

3. Social obligations were quite strict - so you didn't fail to show up at the dinner-table because you were doing something else (like trying to finish a novel) - but of course, women were helpless fragile things who were always collapsing and tottering, so they got more leniency in that respect.

4. Told ya!

5. Wait and see.

6. It's an alternative spelling of "gulf", so yes, an abyss. (In context, a euphemism for hell.)

7. They can't, which is one of the classic techniques of the Gothic novel, in which the heroine doesn't know what to believe or who to trust, and must find a way of navigating out of the maze.

Seeing is believing, unless you're seeing ghosts and hands from behind tapestries... :)

Jul 21, 2012, 10:19 pm

Clermont (Voume 4) - Chapter 6 - Part 1 which Count St. Julian is helped to escape


1. Counting melancholies...
"heightened if possilbe her melancholy"

2. "...every torture, every suffering"

How would a woman be tortured?

3. I thought that for a woman to escape to a convent would be a safe place. Would a man be allowed to force a woman away from its secure confines?

4. Can we trust LaFroy? I don't know whom to trust any more!

Jul 21, 2012, 10:51 pm

2. Any way you can imagine---we're not talking here about "professional" torturers, like the Inquisition, who did have specific ways of making you talk.

3. You have to allow for the prejudiced English Protestant view of convents---in most novels like this they are regarded as part of a corrupt system that has nothing to do with religion. They are often used as prisons, where women are locked up as punishment or to get them out of the way; or alternatively, either through bribery or political intervention (as here), someone who had entered a convent as a refuge would be handed over to her enemies.

I don't know whom to trust any more!

"Then my work here is done!"---Regina Maria Roche.

Edited: Jul 22, 2012, 10:28 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 7

... in which Madeline is taken to her new hiding place


1. We found him! We found de Sevigne!! He's the son of La Froy's friend Oliver. I knew de Sevigne would be around here somewhere. :)

2. filling out a bumper for herself

What is a "bumper"?

3. Counting melancholies...
"so much melancholy"
"her melancholy reflections"
"one's melancholy"

4. Oh, no! Now even Madeline has a different name! It's Mademoiselle Jernac. :(

5. Dupont will surely turn out to be someone we know. Perhaps he is M. D'Alembert (Junior), and La Froy was in on a plot to help him.

6. Yuck! Dupont forced his kiss onto Madeline's hand.

7. Madame Fleury is rather nasty as well. :(

8. It sure is convenient for all those who are in on this plot to have Madeline's father far, far away.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 6:25 pm

1. Yes, but---that ain't good news, socially speaking.

2. A bumper is a glass that is filled to the brim. Here it is with wine, but often in novels of this time you see the phrase "a bumper" being used to indicate something less reputable, like gin.

3. De Sevignie retuins, and so do the melancholy-s...

4. Well, it's only fair. :)

5. / 6. / 7. / 8. Not convenient at all - I'm sure it took a lot of hard work!

Edited: Jul 24, 2012, 12:31 am

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 8 which Madeline discovers that Dupont is really M. D'Alembert (Junior)


1. I can't believe that Madeline caused the woman to faint.

2. Who was that woman?

I know...wait and see.

3. How did the wretched woman even know that Madeline needed to escape?

I guess I must assume that the woman knew who Madeline was.

4. I was right about La Froy and Dupont! I would not have guessed that Madeline's father was also at the castle, though. That horrified me.

5. De Sevignie is Madeline's hero! Oh, how sweet!

This was such a melodramatic and great chapter!!

Jul 24, 2012, 12:25 am

1. / 2. There's a reason for her fainting other than the immediate shock,'ll have to wait and see. :)

3. ...or that she's used to women who need to escape being in that house! :(

4. They are experienced and thorough plotters.

5. It's a nice reveal, I think - you know he's going to show up sometime, but you don't necessarily expect it just then!

This is, of course, the chapter I referred to early on, in which Madeline reads someone else's letters---a huge no-no ordinarily, but permissible under the circumstances.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 12:00 am

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 9 - Part 1 which the plot is revealed

Ends with ...
"...whose dispositions too much resembled his own to make him fear any thing from them."


I'm lost! This plot is way too complicated for me to understand.

Here are some high points that I did get:
1. Philippe is still alive and being hidden. Ha! At least I figured that out.
2. The plan was for the elder M. D'Alembert to get rid of the Marquis's two sons so that he would be heir to the fortunes.
3. La Froy wanted in on this action as well and decided not to kill Philippe but to nurture him so that Philipe's son would marry into La Froy's family? What?! I'm confusing something here.
4. The plan orginally was for Lausane to kill his brother. Unfortunately for the elder M. D'Alembert, Lausane did not do a good job of it.

Can you help me out here? I'm afraid to read any further as everything is in a complete knot in my mind.

5. I know that La Froy is a bad guy, and Blanche is a gossip with a big mouth.
6. I'm really not sure what M. D'Alembert is being discussed in these few pages. The father? The son? Both?

I am going to have to reread these pages tomorrow night to see if I can follow the plot better than I've done tonight. The end might be slow going, but I want to put in the effort to understand it thoroughly.


Jul 24, 2012, 11:55 pm

I'm really not sure what M. D'Alembert is being discussed in these few pages. The father? The son? Both?

See!? See!? I warned you! :)

1. As I recall, my final Gothic novel rule was "Don't assume someone is dead just because everyone says they are"...

2. Yup.

3. Two things:

(1) Lafroy wanted something to hold over D'Alembert Sr's head, in case things went wrong, so instead of murdering the baby of Philippe and Elenora, he kept him alive but hidden. He saves Philippe's life for more or less the same reason.

(2) Yes, Lafroy plans to "aggrandize" or raise himself and his family in the world by forcing a marriage between the boy - who he passes off as his own nephew - and the daughter of D'Alembert Sr, by threatening to expose D'Alembert Sr's evil schemes to the Marquis. (See Point 1.)

4. This novel's handling of Lausane / Clermont's guilt, or otherwise, is rather interesting - particularly in view of all the lectures about fortitude and virtue that Lausane / Clermont has spouted all the way through. It's all very well to go on about "hand-guilt" and "heart-guilt", but the fact is he did try to murder his half-brother, and it's no thanks to him that he didn't! Gothic novels are usually much more cut-and-dried in their morality than this.

5. No argument; but Blanche certainly got even more than her desserts.

6. It is D'Alembert Sr all the way through this passage (so far).

We get some interlocking of the different parts of our flashbacks here - D'Alembert Sr, posing as a law officer, frightens the monk attached to the Dunlere family so badly that the monk concocts the cover story of Lausane dying, which saves Lausane not from being tried for his brother's murder (as the monk thinks) but from being murdered himself.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 12:13 am

See!? See!? I warned you! :)

Well, you were right!

(2) Which character is the daughter of M. D'Lambert (senior)?

(2) How can La Froy think he would be able to pass off the young Philippe as his nephew? Everyone would recognize Philippe as himself!

(2) If La Froy were the uncle of a man who married into wealth, would that necessarily improve La Froy's wealth or good name?

4. It doesn't matter if it were hand guilt or heart guilt, it had been attempted murder either way.

6. It is D'Alembert Sr all the way through this passage (so far).

Okay. That's what I thought, but I'm still going to reread all of this tomorrow night.

I had to read your last sentence three times, but I got what you just said. The monk inadvertently saved Lausane's life through his lie about Lausane's death.

Is this plot exceptionally complicated, or is this a typical gothic novel of that time? I didn't seem to have any problem following The Castle of Otranto, other than not remembering some characters, but that was more related to my aging brain. :)

ETA: Kudos to you, Liz, for sticking with me through this. If I can understand it all, I will like it all.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 12:33 am

2.1 We haven't actually met her, she's just been mentioned in passing. Remember when Madeline is talking to de Sevignie's "sister" (the girl who really is Josephe's daughter), and she says that de Sevignie is depressed because they're trying to force him to marry a rich woman, and he's in love with someone else? The rich woman is Mademoiselle D'Alembert.

2.2 Passing off the baby - Philippe and Elenora's son - as his own nephew. "Young" Philippe is a married man at this point (or is until Elenora dies).

We're talking across generations here. The plan of marrying off the baby and the heiress is a long-term one (obviously), and only comes to fruition* about twenty years after the "murder" (abduction / imprisonment) of Philippe.

(*Although it doesn't come to fruition at all, because de Sevignie won't play along.)

2.3 Well, it's all about the connections, which were all-important at the time. Lafroy is probably assuming that the Marquis and D'Alembert Sr would "raise him" (pay for his clothes, buy him a nice house, get him a soft job) so that they needn't be ashamed of their "low" in-laws.

4. Agreed! This novel really fudges the issue.

6. Ah, but The Castle Of Otranto isn't really a Gothic novel, remember?? :)

All Gothic novels are complicated - they all have one or more secrets that have to be untangled - but I think as time went on the plots got more and more complicated as the novelists tried to out-do one another and to find new ways of surprising the reader.

Clermont certainly is complicated, but I've read Gothics even more so. For example, Catherine Cuthbertson's single Gothic novel, Romance Of The Pyrenees, is the one I mentioned where the explanation / flashback goes on for longer than a volume. :)

Kudos to you, Liz, for sticking with me through this.

My pleasure. Honestly!

Jul 25, 2012, 8:22 am

> 2.1

I think one of the factors contributing to my confusion is not only the presence of many people with the same or interchanging names, but the fact that we're dealing with three generations. Contemporary novels that do this I usually avoid completely! However, such contemporary novels usually include a nicely diagrammed family tree before the stories even begin.

2.3 How far along family lines did the "raising" go? If there were multiple nephews, I can see this being a burden on the titled person. This makes me think of those individuals who win the lottery (or die), and then, suddenly, relatives that were unknown before seem to come crawling out of the woodwork.

6. All Gothic novels are complicated - they all have one or more secrets that have to be untangled - but I think as time went on the plots got more and more complicated as the novelists tried to out-do one another and to find new ways of surprising the reader.

With this in mind, would you be willing to tutor me along in another one...say in September or thereabouts? Other than being confused, I actually found this novel the most fun of all those we've read together so far. I do prefer the "gothic" side to novels such as The Castle of Otranto and Clermont to the "social satire" of the works by Jane Austen. Sorry!! :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 6:30 pm

2.1 Ah, but they can't do that in Gothic novels, because the real family relationships are usually a big part of the secret.

The cross-generational thing is fairly common, although the extent varies and so does the resulting mystery / confusion. Romance Of The Pyrenees is probably the most complicated Gothic novel I've read, because of exactly that: it has a hugely convoluted revenge plot crossing generations, and almost everyone except the heroine has at least two identities.

If it was readily available, I would certainly recommend it to you. :)

2.3 It would only be the immediate connections, but most likely, the "raised" in-laws would then in turn provide for their poorer relatives. This chain reaction was one of the reasons that girls were forced into mercenary marriages: everyone else benefitted as well.

I do prefer the "gothic" side to novels such as The Castle of Otranto and Clermont to the "social satire" of the works by Jane Austen. Sorry!! :)

You should be!! *sniff*

Yes, of course I would! We can use the intervening time to figure out where we go next.

BTW, how many pages is your copy of Clermont - and are you comfortable doing another novel of comparable length?

Jul 25, 2012, 7:51 pm

Clermont is 378 pages (without the appendix). I'd be game for one of comparable length. Maybe you could set up a "menu" of possible books, and I'll start seeing which ones I can find. They don't need to be well known novels, either.

Jul 25, 2012, 7:55 pm

The accessibility of these books remains an issue, though: there are lots of them "out there" but they may not be easily or inexpensively obtained. :(

I confess, my first thought was The Monk - which is the extreeeeme other end of the Gothic novel sliding scale - lots of sex and violence and horror - and it's in print! :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 8:44 pm

Let's do The Monk then! I see it was set in Madrid, and I was there! I loved being in Spain. I can easily get a copy of this book on-line from many sources. Want to shoot for starting in September? In case you take a break from me to tutor someone else, I can begin any time when you're free after working with another tutee. I do want to share the wealth!

By the way, the offer of Clermont is still there is you find another tutee for that book. I'd be happy to mail it to your next student! :)

I frequent some rather out-of-the-way used book stores so, if I have a list of what I want, I might just find something obscure for not too much money.

If you have any other book suggestions, let me know, but I'd be just as happy to move on to The Monk.

Sex! Violence!! Horror!!! In print!!!! What fun!!!!!

Let me know what you think.

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 9:10 pm

Whoa, whoa, whoa! :)

Just one thing - Lewis got into a lot of trouble for The Monk and re-wrote bits of it after its initial release to "tone it down", so you need to be careful to get a copy that has the uncut text. If you're hunting in bookstores, check that your copy says "unabridged" or similar. I think the Oxford University Press editions have the original text.

FYI, you get get a copy through AbeBooks for $1.00 plus shipping! Although of course that's not as much fun as browsing bookstores.

Eta: Heh! Just had to share this:

"The Monk drew a firestorm of criticism when it was published in 1796. Contemporaries condemned it as 'lewd,' 'libidinous and impious.' 'Lust, murder, incest, and every atrocity that can disgrace human nature,' one critic cried, 'brought together, without the apology of probability, or even possibility.' Of course, it was an immediate best seller..."

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 9:30 pm

Since I have until September, I might browse the bookstores first. Would I find it among classics, horror, or general fiction?

Jul 25, 2012, 9:42 pm

Probably classics, maybe horror. Might depend on the mentality of the bookstore. ("If we call it a classic, everyone will think it's boring, so we'll put it in horror instead!")

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 11:01 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 9 - Part 2 which the evil plot continues to be revealed

Ends with:
"...who could give the smallest intelligence concerning her."


1. Is Adelaide that woman in the house of Madame Fleury?

2. How did La Froy have a knowledge of surgery (which, I'm guessing, means medical care)?

3. How did Josephe get hold of Philippe's son? How old is the child at this point of the story?

4. In which castle was Philippe being held?

5. I'm not surprised that the younger M. D'Alembert was one of the Countess's killers. At that point of the story, though, I still didn't know who Claude was.

6. Why, at this late point of the story, is an entirely new person (Adelaide) being introduced? If I don't need something, it's the introduction of yet more characters in the final chapter of a novel! :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 10:48 pm

But first! - I thought this was a rather nice summation of the discussion in #64 - #67:

The only drawback he (D'Alembert Sr) had upon his happiness, was the idea of of the degradation he should suffer by the union of his daughter with the supposed son of Josephe, a peasant upon the Montmorenci estate. But as he knew this was a measure which could not be avoided without exposure of his iniquities, he tried to reconcile himself to it by a hope, that his rank and fortune would stifle at least the open censures of the world.

1. Don't worry about her too much (she said heartlessly): she's just a character in passing, a girl who was abducted and ruined and probably murdered by D'Alembert Jr (whose story we're now mostly hearing). The short story of Adelaide is there to illustrate how the Countess knew how much danger Madeline might be in from D'Alembert Jr, and why she made her promise to leave the chateau if he came.

2. There really wasn't a medical profession at the time as we now know it, and many people, particularly in isolated country areas, would learn rudimentary surgical or medical practices (from other people who had that knowledge) and then apply their skills in case of accident or illness. Remember back at the beginning (if you can!), Clermont himself concocted herbal remedies for de Sevignie, when he was recovering from his fall.

4. Lafroy gave the abducted baby to his brother Josephe to raise, because he (Josephe) was married with a family already - besides living in a cottage where he could keep another child, whereas Lafroy lived in the castle of Montmorenci.

5. Probably Claude was the one who stabbed her - which allowed her to deny to Madeline that D'Alembert Jr was her attacker. (Tsk! Splitting hairs!)

Claude is the associate of Lafroy and Josephe. He's the one who supposedly got the story of the affair between Philippe and Geraldine out of Blanche the maid, and repeated it to Josephe. It was Lausane / Clermont overhearing this story that precipitated his attack on Philippe.

What we can now see is that Claude's story was a lie, probably invented by D'Alembert Sr, and that Lausane was meant to overhear it, so he would attack and perhaps kill Philippe. And this is what happened.

6. See Point 1. :)

Edited: Jul 25, 2012, 11:00 pm

I think I got or remember all that you explained. The only thing I don't remember is when Philippe's baby was abducted. Was it when Elenora died?

Jul 25, 2012, 11:03 pm

Yes, just afterwards. When Elenora died the baby had to be put out to nurse, and it was abducted from the cottage of the woman who had been hired to nurse it.

Jul 26, 2012, 12:50 pm

I bought a used copy of The Monk today (the Oxford University press edition) from a used bookstore for $2.39 (cheaper than mail postage!). :)

Jul 26, 2012, 4:31 pm

Whoo-hoo!! :)

Can I ask which edition? I know there have been at least half a dozen.

I didn't do quite as well as you: I picked up the recent Broadview Press edition a while back for $8.80.

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 6:29 pm

My edition was printed in Great Britain by
Hazell Watson & Viney Limited,
Ayelsbury, Bucks

This is what else it says:
Editorial matter copyright Oxford University Press, 1973
First published by Oxford University Press, 1973
First issued as a World's Classics paperback, 1980
Reprinted 1981.

My copy is a mass market paperback. There was a larger, trade paperback edition available at the used book store, but you said to get the one by Oxford University Press so that's what I did.

There is a "Note on the Text" in my book which says...
"This edition of The Monk is the only one since the first edition (1796) to be set from the manuscript which M.G. Lewis prepared for his printer."

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 6:16 pm

Excellent! That's what we wanted.

By the way---too late now, I guess!---it occurred to me afterwards that I should have made it clear that I wasn't exaggerating or being facetious by saying "sex and violence and horror": there's some pretty extreme stuff in The Monk, even by contemporay standards. But then, I know you're a Stephen King* reader, so I figured it would be okay. :)

(*I know there's one edition of The Monk that has an introduction by SK.)

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 6:40 pm

I'm cool with graphic sex, violence, and long as it's merely in a book...and the book is well written. I don't really like horror and violence on film because that always seems too real. However, one of my older son's friend's is an actor and director and guessed it...horror flicks! :) I haven't seen any of his films yet, but I'm going to get a copy of one because I helped finance it through KickStart! :)

Stephen King doesn't really do much straight horror any more. What he does now is more surreal. What I love most about his horror, though, is that he provides comic relief. I love his dry sense of humor. I recently read The Shining, one of his cult classics. I never read it before nor did I know the story or see the film. I listened to the book on audio tape, often driving home alone at night. When parts got scary, I'd turn off the tape for a moment or two and say to myself, "Here comes something gruesome!" That got me ready. I was always right. When I saw the film of The Shining starring Jack Nicholson, all I could do was laugh throughout it because Jack Nicholson was just being Jack Nicholson...even in the supposedly scariest parts! :D

What are your tutor plans when you finish Clermont with me? Do you have any tutees waiting in the wings?

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 9:51 pm

I do watch quite a lot of horror movies but I don't believe I've caught any of his - I'll keep an eye out now, though!

I hope you'll be okay with The Monk, but anyway, I've warned you! :)

(It's interesting to me that the bits that tend to upset people today didn't seem to bother people much in 1796. Critics then were fixated on the novel's supposedly blasphemous attitude, and skipped right over some fairly brutal violence and body-horror. Different strokes, I guess!)

What are your tutor plans when you finish Clermont with me? Do you have any tutees waiting in the wings?

Funny you should ask! :)

Next week I'll be starting The Warden by Anthony Trollope with Heather. There seems some general interest in this one so hopefully we'll attract some lurkers too.

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 7:15 pm

I hope you'll be okay with The Monk, but anyway, I've warned you!

I'll be just fine!

Next week I'll be starting The Warden by Anthony Trollope with Heather.

Someone just asked me about Trollope, and I recommended you as tutor. I think it was brenzi* (Bonnie). I guess you haven't heard from her. I'll point her to your thread when you start your book with Heather. I know you and Heather have great fun working your way through such novels. I'm such a novice at this. I feel good, though, knowing that I've actually started exploring a genre (rather, a couple sub-genres) I didn't think I'd ever try.

I was actually excited to find the edition of The Monk that you requested. For me, the best part of your tutelage has been your allowing me to move so slowly through each book. It gives me more time to understand each book, thereby allowing me to savor each one more as well.

I've increasingly enjoyed each book that I 've read with you in succession. I'm not sure if it's because I'm becoming more comfortable with that kind of writing or that I'm slowly gravitating more toward the kinds of books that I like. I really liked Bram Stoker's Dracula, and I read that book myself. Anyway, I think it's probably a bit of both.

* I found it. It was brenzi on message 210.

ETA: Do you think there will there be lurkers with The Monk or not?

Jul 26, 2012, 7:20 pm

Hmm... Is it contradictory that I encouraged you to get the uncut text, and then started warning you about all the sex and violence and horror? :)

Yes, I think we'll have lurkers. The Monk is quite a famous book and, perhaps more importantly, easy to get hold of. I'm sure we would have had lurkers for Clermont if the book was more accessible.

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 8:08 pm

Is it contradictory that I encouraged you to get the uncut text, and then started warning you about all the sex and violence and horror

No, it's not contradictory. The point is that the sex and violence were forced out of that book by controversy.
You wanted me to read the original work. Then you felt compelled to warn me only because you thought I might get offended. I don't think that $2.39 will make or break me! :)

I never read abridged works if I can tell that's what they are ahead of time. The only exceptions I make to reading the actual copy of a first published book is that now I read ARCs. I used to be such a purist that I'd turn down free ARCs. Those days are over. I'll live with the mistakes and the sometimes rough draft of an ARC.

Jul 26, 2012, 7:58 pm

That is indeed being a purist! - an ARC is very different from after-the-event censorship, though.

Jul 26, 2012, 8:19 pm

Clermont (Volune 4) - Chapter 9 - Part 3

...the evil plot is still being revealed

Ends with...
"...he had been most deceived"


1. Haha! The young D'Alembert was the man in the closet!

2. How come we see written the "old" D'Alembert in this chapter? Doesn't that make it too easy for Roche's readers? ;)

3. The people in this novel love hiding people away and then declaring that they are dead. Is this a characteristic of Gothic novels?

4. You told me that, in Gothic novels, people come back to life, but I just assumed that those who were to come back to life had been those who had been, at one time, really dead (e.g. ghosts).

5. I'm confused about the letters. Two were mentioned. Remind me what they were about. I like (!) how Roche says we already "know" something she told us about chapters and chapters ago. That's assuming her readers remember that something (or those somethings)!

6. Tee hee! The hand was La Froy's!!

7. Now, all of a sudden Claude wants to become a good guy? What?!!

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 9:21 pm

1. He gets around - he was also one of the men in the tunnel!

2. Perhaps she figured if we'd come this far, we deserved a break. :)

I think it's because in this section she's talking about both of them - and that they are in the same scene, together - rather than it being one of them or the other.

3. Yes, very much. It was one of the reasons that Gothic novels were set outside of England - English people could accept things like this going on amongst "foreigners".

Though to be fair, in pre-revolutionary France there was the lettre de cachet, which was an order for imprisonment indefinitely without trial issued by the king. If you were close to the king - or if you could afford a substantial bribe - it meant that you could arrange for one of these and get your enemies locked up for life.

4. Some Gothic novels do have ghosts (there's a beauty in The Monk!), but for the most part the English at this time were uncomfortable about supernatural phenomena and usually explained away anything that appeared supernatural in their novels. People turning up alive years after they have supposedly died is quite common, though.

5. Yes, there always was an assumption by authors that readers would remember. At least Roche directs the reader to a particular item / event, instead of just saying (effectively) "I mentioned this a while ago..."

When the Marquis found out that Clermont / Count St. Julian was alive, he wrote to D'Alembert Sr (that's the first letter), who wrote back (the second letter) all sunshine and lollipops and pretending to be happy for the Marquis - but also mentioning the "illness" of Madame D'Alembert, to lay the groundwork for her "death" and the proposal of a marriage between Madeline and D'Alembert Jr. The third letter mentioned here is the anonymous one to Madeline (which we now know was from Claude) telling her than Madame D'Alembert was alive but imprisoned.

6. He gets around too!

7. Repentant henchmen are another common Gothic feature - as are deathbed confessions. Plots have to come to light somehow, you know! :)

Jul 26, 2012, 9:39 pm

This is going to be tough. Now I won't be able to tell the good guys from the bad! :)

Jul 26, 2012, 9:40 pm

If it helps, repentant henchmen rarely appear before the last chapter or two. :)

Edited: Jul 26, 2012, 9:52 pm

That will definitely help. I'll be on the lookout for those turncoats!

Jul 26, 2012, 9:54 pm

This bit cracked me up, BTW:

D'Alembert detested his wife; and could not, without the utmost reluctance, think of sparing her life...

Jul 26, 2012, 9:54 pm

>>#92 I should say, they rarely repent before the last chapter or two! :)

Jul 26, 2012, 9:59 pm

> 93

D'Alembert detested his wife; and could not, without the utmost reluctance, think of sparing her life...

That is a pretty amusing line...but in the context of contemporary times only!

Did people never divorce in those times? I guess not ... so murder was the only way out? Or maybe desertion? Or even locking the wife away and declaring her dead. Yep. I guess all three would work.

Jul 26, 2012, 10:06 pm

Yes, somehow all those were LESS sinful than divorce!! :)

Seriously, at the time women had few if any legal rights and were completely subject to their husband's wishes. The kind of stuff you get in a Gothic novel is exaggerated, but infidelity, domestic violence and desertion were not uncommon.

In Catholic countries (Clermont is set in France, remember) there was no divorce, while in England you could only get a divorce through an Act of Parliament, which essentially meant that divorces were only available to the powerful and wealthy (and male). Divorce became a matter of civil law in England during the 19th century, but the laws were inequitous, making it comparatively easy for a man to divorce his wife but very difficult for a wife to divorce her husband - and they stayed that way into the 1930s (I think).

Jul 27, 2012, 11:47 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 9 - Part 4

...believe it or not, the plot is still being explained!

Ends with...
"render us deserving of happiness in that which is to come."


1. I'm really not trying to drag out the ending of the book, but rather look at each piece of it so that I'm missing as little of this story's finale as possible.

2. Counting melancholies
"deepest melancholy"
"in a melancholy manner"

3. Who forged Count St. Julian's letter?

4. The big, strong, important, impressive, head-of-the-family Marquis faints? Fainting is not only for women?!

5. If de Sevignie can't have Madeline, he will be satisfied with Count St. Julian's esteem alone? Oh, come on! I don't believe that for one minute!!

6. The Marquis is now blackmailed into promsing La Froy ... anything he wants? What?! Someone has got to be kidding me!!

7. Then, Madeline's father faints. Oh, no! Not he as well!! This is way too much!!

To be continued... :)

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 12:08 am

*I* believe it! :)

That's perfectly fine - there's no sense in losing the plot (literally!) at this late stage.

3. We don't actually know, but probably Lafroy.

4. Fainting is a matter of "sensibility", not gender. (Though the Marquis is elderly and has been in poor health for some time, apart from the emotional shock to his system.)

5. That's not exactly what he said - rather, that even if he can't have Madeline, he still wants the good opinion of her father - he didn't say he'd be satisfied with it!

6. It's not really blackmail. Think of it as a plea bargain - Lafroy wants immunity in exchange for his testimony against the D'Alemberts. (Happens all the time in your legal system, doesn't it??)

7. ...and he, apart from finding out that he's not a murderer, has been under opium for the past week, so he's probably a bit the worse for wear too. :)

Jul 28, 2012, 11:32 pm

Clermont (Volume 4) - Chapter 9 - Part 5 which we reach the conclusion of the story


1. Counting melancholies...
"deepest melancholy"
"the melancholy impression"

2. Do all Gothic novels of that time wrap up so neatly - meaning that all ends well for the good guys and bodes poorly for the bad guys?

3. "I shall conclude with an humble hope, that however unworthy of public favour it may be deemed, its not aspiring to fame will guard it from severity."

I'm not sure I understand that concluding line. The author thinks that her book will not be received favorably by the public? Then she hopes it won't get bad press because so few people wll know about it? Huh?

4. As for neat wrap-ups, not only does Viola end with her malevolent husband stabbing himself and then quickly dying, but she also ends up with a new husband within only a few more pages. Both she and Count Durasso (and Madeline and de Sevignie) live happily ever after.

5. Aha! That's why the new character of Count Durasso suddenly appeared as this book was coming to an end!


The end!

Thank you so much again, Liz, for your patience and kind tutoring of Clermont and what has become my favorite of all the four reads we've together done so far.

Enjoy your tutored read with Heather. I alerted Bonnie (brenzi) of your new Trollope tutoring session so hopefully she will be one of your lurkers. (I think we scared them all away with Clermont!).

I have the Monk put away in a secure place so that, when we're both free, I'll get it back out and we'll begin another "lyzard tutors SqeakyChu" adventure.

It's been great fun!

Jul 28, 2012, 11:49 pm

"The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily - that is what 'fiction' means."
Oscar Wilde

2. Most novels of ALL kinds. Novels still had a bad reputation - they were viewed as promoting immoral behaviour - and most novelists felt obliged to have that sort of ending, even if it took a lot of contrivance to get there.

3. Following on from Point 2., female novelists were particularly vulnerable to critical attack - they were always attacked personally, not just with respect to their writing - and often included these sorts of self-deprecatory comments to try and ward it off. Sometimes they would claim that novel-writing was just a hobby to while away spare time, and conversely insist that they were not serious, not ambitious, not chasing fame by writing---all of which was viewed as inappropriate female behaviour. That's what Roche is doing here: yes, she's written a novel, but she's not aspiring to fame - heavens, no!

Edited: Jul 28, 2012, 11:51 pm

I need to go back and do a final "melancholy" sweep, but in the meantime---


Jul 29, 2012, 5:51 am

Thank you, Liz and Madeline. I have been lurking, and enjoying, this thread from start to finish. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the book and, as you have said, it's a complicated story so it has been harder to follow from questions and answers alone...

I shall be following The Warden tutored thread even though this is a book I have read more than once and know fairly well, and I do have a copy of The Monk which I shall read when that thread starts, but no pressure!

I've not had a tutored thread of my own - I don't think my reading style suits it as I tend to read in fits and starts - but I have enjoyed several threads even of books I think I know well because other people's questions and points of view add to my understanding and enjoyment - often they ask about things that I didn't know that I didn't know!

Jul 29, 2012, 6:23 am

#85 "I'm sure we would have had lurkers for Clermont if the book was more accessible." I've been lurking!

Congratulations on finishing Clermont! Madeline, I predict you will enjoy The Monk.

The tutored read thread for The Warden is here - all lurkers welcome.

Jul 29, 2012, 8:08 am

It's nice for me to know that there were lurkers. Liz puts her heart and soul into her tutoring, and she has much to teach any lurkers on her tutored threads. I'm very much looking forward to reading The Monk with her.

Jul 29, 2012, 6:36 pm

Thanks for de-lurking, guys! It's nice to know you were out there. I'm sure this was all very confusing for you, not having the book - heck, it was confusing for Madeline, and she had it! - but I hope we gave you a taste of Clermont's many strange pleasures. :)

Jul 30, 2012, 6:51 am

Now! - once we turned into the home stretch, I got very slack about counting melancholy-s (mostly because the final chapters are lo-oo-oo-ng); so my last task here is to do a final sweep back:

Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 5): 1
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 6): 3
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 7): 3
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 8): 0
Melancholy count (Volume IV, Chapter 9): 4

Final total: 88

I'm kind of disappointed - I was sure we'd crack triple figures! :)

Jul 30, 2012, 6:52 am

And now we're truly melancholy..!

Jul 30, 2012, 9:07 am