Saturday, March 08, 2008


I have been tagged by the excellent Beaman for the book meme which is currently doing the blog rounds. As it is a literary meme, I will do it! You have to grab the nearest book to hand, turn to page 123 and write down the 5th sentence and the next 3. OK, I am currently reading the 2003 edition of Flora Fraser's biography of Emma, Lady Hamilton, Beloved Emma. To be honest, I am finding this tome to be one of those rather dreary historical biographies which describes in detail not only every meal but also almost every bowel movement of its protagonists. However, I persevere because I like reading of the Hamiltons' life in Naples at the time of the "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies" and, as long-term readers of this blog will know, I am fascinated by Nelson's Sicilian connection, which I wrote of last year in a series of posts beginning here. Horatia Nelson, Nelson and Emma's illegitimate daughter, is buried in the chuchyard at Pinner, [north London] where I used to live. [Poor lady - she could never bring herself to acknowledge Emma as her mother.] And this romanticised version of the lovers' story is said to have been Churchill's favourite film.

Sentence 5 on page 123 quotes Emma herself, writing of Sir William Hamilton:
"He has no diners, but what I can be of the party."
She goes on:
"Nobody comes without they are civil to me; we have always good company. "
Now Fraser takes up the narrative:
"From this proud summary, we can deduce that there were some ladies and gentlemen who preferred not to come but to be uncivil about Emma elsewhere. There had been further changes in the domestic arrangements."
I think sentence 3 here is interesting as it makes one wonder how much has really changed with regard to how both men and women are apt to treat a woman they regard as "fallen".

I don't tag but some of you may find this a pleasant meme to do.

Note to my students : the first two sentences quoted from the book are written in an 18th century English style which you should not copy!


Leslie: said...

I did this and quoted from "Love in the Time of Cholera." Maybe you saw the post.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, Leslie. Yes, I enjoyed that post and I thought I had commented? Forgive me if I didn't. Love to you, baby Eden and family from Sicily x

James Higham said...

Excellent take:

To be honest, I am finding this tome to be one of those rather dreary historical biographies which describes in detail not only every meal but also almost every bowel movement of its protagonists.

Crushed said...

I could be wrong, but I have a feeling Hamilton the husband governed Sicily for a time, possibly whilst the mainland was under revolutionary rule, during the Parthenopean Republic.

Fredinand of Naples and Sicily had personal reasons to hate the revolutionaries. Firstly, he was a Bourbon, secondly his wife Marie- Caroline, was the sister of Marie Antoinette.

Ellee Seymour said...

I picked up Georgina, duchess of Devonshire, by Amanda Foreman, but it's a huge paragraph. Just wanted to let you know I was with you in spirit.

I hope you are enjoying your book, and that Simi is improved.

James Higham said...

Yes, Simi's health - is it better?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, James. Ciao, Crushed. You are right and he seems to have been such a nice, mild-mannered man, poor soul. Maria Carolina certainly used Emma and did nothing to help her in later years. Hi, Ellee, and thank you. I read that book and found it over-detailed, too. But I adored the R4 serialisation of it a few years ago. Ellee and James, thanks for asking: she seems fine now and is bounding about barking at the electricity every time it goes off [4 times this afternoon] as I write. But I am keeping a close eye on her. Oh, here she is: "Thanks for asking about me, Auntie Ellee and Uncle James. I'm OK and looking after my mummy again now. xx wags"

jmb said...

I have tried several times to do this meme since I was tagged more than once but have had not luck with the result being sensible. One can't cheat either since it could be checked!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, jmb. Agree that's the trouble with it - you can't cheat!


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