Myrtle Reed : Lavander and Old Lace (1902)

by - septembrie 01, 2009

Rareori mi-a fost dat sa citesc o carte atat de... linistitoare si incantatoare precum Lavander and Old Lace, scrisa de Myrtle Reed.

Suntem in vacanta de trei saptamani deja si inainte de a pleca cautasem o carte usoara dar si interesanta in acelasi timp; tocmai terminasem de citit un sf extraordinar (o sa scriu si despre el cand o sa am timp, daca o sa mai am vreodata) si cautam ceva relaxant si total diferit de genurile pe care le citisem pana atunci. Asa ca am ajuns iar la Gutenberg Project si am ales intamplator - dupa titlu, de fapt :D -, un romance scris in perioada victoriana. Nu sunt tipul de persoana care sa fi citit vreodata Pe aripile vantului sau vreo carte de Austen sau Bronte (desi am vazut adaptari filmate ale acestor carti), asa ca era si o provocare, daca pot spune asa. Oricum, dintotdeauna m-a fascinat tot ce tine de trecut, fie el indepartat sau nu, iar lectura cartii a fost o ocazie buna sa aflu cam cum erau relatiile interpersonale la inceputul secolului si mai ales, rolul femeii in acea perioada.

Lavander and Old Lace a fost publicata in 1902 si este povestea lui Ruth Thorne, o jurnalista de 34 de ani care vine sa locuiasca pe perioada concediului in casa unei matusi pe care nu a cunoscut-o niciodata. Matusa Jane este plecata intr-o calatorie, dar Ruth primeste instructiuni foarte clare despre cum sa se ingrijeasca de casa si, mai ales, este rugata sa aprinda in fiecare noapte o lumanare la fereastra din podul casei. Curioasa jurnalista incearca sa dezlege misterul din spatele acestei cereri, insa nu afla mai nimic; o cunoaste pe Miss Ainslie, o vecina al carei nume apare in niste taieturi vechi de ziar din casa matusii sale si al carei trecut este inconjurat de o aura de mister si il intalneste pe Carl Winfield, un coleg jurnalist de care ajunge in cele din urma sa se indragosteasca. Care este legatura dintre Miss Ainslie si tanarul Winfield, dintre matusa Jane si lumanarea vesnic aprinsa pe timpul noptii... asta nu mai spun, las pe cei curiosi sa descopere.

Tot aici am citit si cea mai frumoasa descriere a unei gradini si a florilor, semn ca acestea erau la mare pret in acea perioada iar indeletnicirea gradinaritului, la o femeie, era privita ca o trasatura pozitiva si dezirabila. Foarte interesanta mi s-a parut situatia in care a fost pusa Ruth dupa logodna cu Carl, cand el i-a spus ca nu vrea ca ea sa mai lucreze. Stiam ca era ceva obisnuit in acea perioada ca femeile sa fie casnice, insa nu citisem nicaieri o incercare de explicare a acestui aspect, modul in care putea fi convinsa o femeie care muncea sa faca acest lucru, nu stiam daca era ceva impus sau era pur si simplu un lucru dorit. Iata cam cum scrie Reed despre "obligatia" femeii de a deveni casnica, intr-o discutie dintre Ruth si Carl:

        - We'll have to have a flat in the city, or a little house in the country, near enough for me to get to the office.
        - For us to get to the office, supplemented Ruth.
        - What do you think you're going to do, Miss Thorne?
        - Why... I'm going to keep right on with the paper, she answered in surprise.
        - No you're not, darling, he said, putting his arm around her. Do you suppose I'm going to have Carlton or any other man giving my wife an assignment? You can't any way, because I've resigned your position for you, and your place is already filled. Carlton sent his congratulations and said his loss was my gain, or something like that. He takes all the credit to himself.
        - Why... why... you wretch!
        - I'm not a wretch... you said yourself I was nice. Look here, Ruth, he went on, in a different tone, what do you think I am? Do you think for a minute that I'd marry you if I couldn't take care of you?
        - 'T isn't that, she replied, freeing herself from his encircling arm, but I like my work and I don't want to give it up. Besides... besides... I thought you'd like to have me near you.
        - I do want you near me, sweetheart, that isn't the point. You have the same right that I have to any work that is your natural expression, but, in spite of the advanced age in which we live, I can't help believing that home is the place for a woman. I may be old-fashioned, but I don't want my wife working down town... I've got too much pride for that. You have your typewriter, and you can turn out Sunday specials by the yard, if you want to. Besides, there are all the returned manuscripts... if you have the time and aren't hurried, there's no reason why you shouldn't do work that they can't afford to refuse.
        Ruth was silent, and he laid his hand upon hers.
        - You understand me, don't you, dear? God knows I'm not asking you to let your soul rust out in idleness, and I wouldn't have you crave expression that was denied you, but I don't want you to have to work when you don't feel like it, nor be at anybody's beck and call. I know you did good work on the paper... Carlton spoke of it, too... but others can do it as well. I want you to do something that is so thoroughly you that no one else can do it. It's a hard life, Ruth, you know that as well as I do, and I... I love you.
        His last argument was convincing.
        - I won't do anything you don't want me to do, dear, she said, with a new humility.
        - I want you to be happy, dearest, he answered, quickly. Just try my way for a year... that's all I ask. I know your independence is sweet to you, but the privilege of working for you with hand and brain, with your love in my heart; with you at home, to be proud of me when I succeed and to give me new courage when I fail, why, it's the sweetest thing I've ever known.

Recunosc, unele pasaje m-au enervat (cum e cel de mai sus :D), insa stilul este foarte concis, la obiect, precis, fara descrieri aiuristice menite sa umple pagini degeaba. Am avut impresia ca vad un film, nu ca citesc o carte. Mai mult, pe langa faptul ca e o carte de aventuri si mistere, Lavander and Old Lace pare a fi un manual... asta e sentimentul pe care mi l-a lasat.

Apoi am gugalit-o pe dna Myrtle Reed si am aflat ca a fost fiica unui pastor si a unei jurnaliste care a studiat psihologia si care a scris multe carti despre stiinta si religia orientului. Nu-i de mirare asadar ca Myrtle Reed a scris carti, fie sub numele ei, fie cu preudonimul Olive Green, care au devenit bestseller pentru perioada aceea. De fiecare data, isi prezenta cu un umor fin parerile despre moralitate si societate si era foarte constienta de rolul pe care il au cartile in general in viata tinerelor femei.

Lavander and Old Lace a avut asa un succes incat a fost ecranizat in 1921, in rolurile principale jucand Seena Owen - Ruth, Louis Bennison - Carl si Marguerite Snow - Miss Ainslie.


Lavander and Old Lace de Myrtle Reed este o carte gratuita care poate fi citita online aici si este disponibila pentru download aici.

Enjoy!

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