Happiness is not a potato… (Villette Readalong Part the 4th)

to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure.   I have to agree with her here and disagree with her, too.   I agree that happiness is not a cultivatable thing.

“Why, what’s the matter?”

“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.

“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

“Oh!” said Pooh. He thought for a long time, and then asked, “What mulberry bush is that?”

“Bon-hommy,” went on Eeyore gloomily. “French word meaning bonhommy,” he explained. “I’m not complaining, but There It Is.”

Some people are happy and some not so much.  I don’t think Lucy can be a John Graham just by willpower, or really any means at all.  But I think there are ways Lucy could live a somewhat happier life if she could stop shooting herself in the foot.  As far as I can see, Lucy just hunkers down half the time and waits for rescue.    She had the guts to leave England, go to France and find a job, but after that it’s all:  I’m not going to even talk to Dr. John, whom I knew and liked back in England;  I’m not going to write to my friends when they are quiet for 7 weeks, I will just sit here in the dark all alone, with a faceless nun.   Poor me.  If you haven’t a friend in the world, that’s one thing, but she has.  And admittedly it’s hard to control one’s behavior when one is mad about the boy and he just thinks of you as a pal, but still, come in out of the rain dammit.

And speaking of which, how about that nun?   Pretty creepy.   Nice touch, CB.  I’ve been wondering if we’re reading One Woman’s Descent into Madness.

phibes vincent price in drag

And now, Polly’s back.  Which is why there’s a seven week silence, but then oddly it seems as though the Brettons and Bassompierres have not been getting to know each other over the past nearly two months.   They seem no more comfortable than if no time had past at all.   Then Lucy refuses triple her salary for what I think would be a fairly pleasant gig — Come in out of the rain, Lucy!   I’m not telling you again!  But no, she’d rather starve.   And so you might, Miss Snowe.   The nineteenth century had no unemployment, no 401ks, no pensions, and your boss in particular likes to throw people out at the drop of a hat.   Try to put aside all that overweening pride which masquerades as modesty and accept some good fortune.    Sheesh.

But I meant to say something about Polly —  Polly, you haven’t changed a bit, and that’s saying something because you were six when we last saw you.  And now, there’s going to be a party with Ginevra.   Now, Ginevra’s a shallow silly bitch, but she puts up with Lucy which is more than most people can stand and I’m rather sorry Lucy can’t find it in her heart to think of her as something like a friend.

And considering all these people are related or knew each other fairly well, why do we need all these astonishing coincidences to bring them together?

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3 thoughts on “Happiness is not a potato… (Villette Readalong Part the 4th)”

  1. That “happiness is not a potato” part of our reading resonated with me. PREACH GIRL, PREACH. It’s all very “two steps forward, one step back” when it comes to Lucy. She is stubbornly bent on trying to make it on her own, even though life would be happier depending and trusting in others. (then again, it’s hard when the others steal your stuff or essentially bribe you to hang out with their daughters, or take the form of a shadowy ninja-nun)

  2. She was 100% guts and gusto early on and now she mostly is just sad. She still does things like decide to bury letters instead of pining over them though, to which I say: kudos Lucy Snowe, forget about the boy.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t want to hang out with Polly all the time either. She’s the worst by virtue of having absolutely zero faults.

    Also: I’m so glad so many of us latched on to “happiness is not a potato”

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