Sunday, 12 July 2009

Veggie Books: Mary Reilly

The idea of a film about a maid in the house of Dr Jekyll never appealed to me, so it was a surprise that I enjoyed the book so much. Maybe it was the picture of Julia Robert's thin downturned mouth atremble that was unappealing. But in the novel (by Valerie Martin) Mary is not a miserable creature at all. She has strong ideas about the relationship between servants and masters, and about how to be happy, and how to keep happiness. Her own happiness has been taken from her by an abusive father, and she sees something of the same theft occurring to Henry Hekyll at the hands of his apparent friend, Edward Hyde.

This is the month to plant garlic. Mr Bradshaw told us a story that the Queen's cook chews a clove of garlic and then breathes over the royal salad, which made our cook shout with laughter.

I have not spoken to Master, although I see him much. He is always with company or has his head in a book or is going in and out. He tells me a good day, might ask for this or that, or bid me carry a message to Cook or Mr Poole, but no more, and I feel when he sees me I remind him of the house in Soho, which, it seems, he wants to forget.

As do I. I want to tell him, but how can I? I know he has said all will be well, but how can I believe it when I know that between us, nothing will ever be as it was again.

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