Monday, 17 March 2014

A Double Misfit

Fiction ~ short story
First published in Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (US), August 1902¹
Approx. 4,100 words
(First read 17/03/2014)

A real-life archaeologist
One of those amazing EFB stories which somehow manages to be both leaden and featherlight at the same time.  This one tells the familiar tale of a love-rectangle, two women and two men, none of them especially likable or in any way real.  The bulk of it takes the form of a highly expository conversation between the two women involved, and is really only there to introduce the dull, predictable, visible-from-space 'climax' in which yet another poor sap² wanders off into the Cambridge sunset, guilty only of loving some heartless little bint ... moan moan whine whine ~ I've nothing good to say of it.  (Well, apart from this little quote, describing the sap's slavish devotion to his bint, which tickled me:
[After dinner] he had turned over the leaves of her music when she had sung, upsetting a candle, and [...] he had gleefully, at her request, engaged in cock-fighting with an under-graduate on the hearth-rug. 
The mind boggles.  Or at least it would if it wasn't fast asleep.)  The story's available online here.

¹ Subsequently published in the Windsor Magazine (UK), January 1903.
² Rossington is an archaeology professor at Cambridge University.  At one point EFB really and truly says this:
"But I do take it seriously," replied the agonized archaeologist.
You couldn't make it up.

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