Villette Readalong Pt 3 C 16-20

Really, 17, because I talked about 16 last week by mistake.  Lucy has recovered her health under the civilized care of the Brettons and overcome her amazement that people can bring their furniture with them.  They have a lovely old time sightseeing around Villette which I still keep thinking of as a village.   It’s not.   She said so early on and it’s full of art galleries.   I guess it’s the name.   It sounds petite.  At any rate, the psychic Dr. John has realized she likes to spend time alone in these galleries, so he drops her off and she stares at paintings she hates for several hours, then he picks her back up.   She’s in the middle of a hearty despising of Cleopatra who is too fat and dark to suit Lucy, who blames the models in these paintings for their egos, rather than the artists.   And she blames Cleopatra for not picking up after herself.   I tried to find out if this was a real painting.   I found several Cleopatras of zaftig dimensions, but none of them were dusky.   They were all as pale as if Cleo were a Norwegian.   So, Lucy and her ‘tude are really starting to piss me off, when M. Paul arrives with a whole other set of medieval attitudes.  Sacré bleu!  Unmarried ladies must not look at half naked women!   Zut alors!   Sit in this corner and look at these pictures of nice women, which Lucy does, presumably because she thinks they’re all ugly and there’s nothing she likes better than criticizing others.

M. Paul has his fans among my fellow Readalongers and I can sort of see their point.   He is an amusing character and certainly Lucy and he could have an interesting life butting heads and maybe even learning something in the process.  But then it is time for a concert.   Lucy gets a new dress and it’s God forbid!  pink!   She’s horrified, but has nothing else to wear.   On the way to the concert she’s almost a different person, enjoying the ride, the company, the novelty of the concert hall, but then the music starts up and she’s back.   They all suck.  A simple Scottish ballad on the street would be better.  She gives a thorough character analysis of the King and Queen of Labassecour based solely on their looks. Labassecour means farmyard, so they’re the King and Queen of the Farmyard.  I’m not quite sure why this region of France seems to have separate royalty.   Did France have royalty in 1853?  I’m extremely vague after Napoleon.  Ginevra is there and having a lovely time looking lovely and sneering at Dr. John, when she makes a critical error.   She sneers at his beloved mater and like a bolt of lightning Dr. John is cured.   Ginevra who?    Will Dr. John’s suddenly free heart turn toward little, cranky, unattractive Lucy?   Or is she stuck in the friend zone?    Dr. John does seem to like them pretty, and as he’s quite pretty himself, with anyone a little more human than Ginevra, he’s probably in with a chance.


Also in most of these Cleopatra paintings she’s about to be bitten by the asp.  Did Lucy just miss this in her desire that the Queen of Egypt should get up and tidy?

I am definitely enjoying this much more reading everyone else’s posts about it.   I like Dr. John better than most everyone else seems to, but I agree with Megs that he might be impossible if one failed to live up to his standards, which it seems like Lucy would fail to at some point.


4 thoughts on “Villette Readalong Pt 3 C 16-20”

  1. I did not even bother looking up Labassecour, I’m glad you did. I’m ALSO glad that I’m not the only one who started googling paintings of Cleopatra. Who exactly this King and Queen are I don’t think I care enough to find out, but I loved how much Lucy adored the Queen.

    Do we all agree that Lucy is somewhat plain-looking? I can’t decide, especially since LS is such an extremely unreliable narrator. I think I’m conflating her with the “poor, obscure, plain, and little” Jane in my mind, and just imagining them both to look like Mia Wasikowska. So: not plain at all. It is quite possible that I have been thinking about this too much.

    1. It’s impossible to tell with modest and/or self-loathing narrators. I tend to assume they’re actually good-looking in a less conventional way, but Lucy’s such a trip, who knows? I like that Cleopatra you found a lot. Wonder what Miss Snowe would make of that?

  2. I don’t dislike Dr. John, but I think he’s too boring for Lucy. Or actually, I don’t care about Lucy, because I still haven’t figured out what to make of her, but Dr. John is too boring for ME. I don’t want to spend the rest of this whole book with him.

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