Still on the subject of books: some time ago on one of the shelves I came across and wrote in a previous Blog about a book by a Victorian writer whose name was F. Marion Crawford; found it a delightful read and quite a page turner. Well, blow me down and shiver me timbers as Long John Silver would say (well it is getting close to Christmas and the Mermaid Theatre used to do ‘Treasure island’ every year: I was in it twice) I have found another Marion Crawford lurking there. Where did they come from and why? Well that is a mystery that will never be solved. Mister Crawford was not one of your one book authors but appears to have been quite prolific. This one is called ‘Saracinesca,’ set in nineteenth century Rome and, although the writing is distinctly Victorian and what one could term florid: if one were to compare it to architecture would Baroque or Rococo suit? Or to painting, how about Fragonard; every leaf on every tree and every bug on every leaf? Despite this it is a ripping yarn! This guy certainly knew how to tell a story and it would make a fabulous film in the manner of ‘The Leopard’ which, of course, started life as a novel and the same period: the Risorgimento, or better still, a television series. I couldn’t get my nose out of it and, when I got to the end, imagine my surprise and bitter disappointment to read that over 400 pages was only part one and the story would continue. But bugger me gently and sideways, I cannot find ‘Saracinesca Part Two’ anywhere. Did he write it under another title maybe? Or did he just not get around to it at all? Anyway, here is an example of Mister Crawford’s writing and you will see what I mean by florid –
“She said nothing, and though she at first made a slight movement – not of resistance, but of timid reluctance, utterly unlike herself – she suffered him to hold her hand. He drew closer to her, himself more diffident in the moment of success than he had ever been when he anticipated failure; she was so unlike any woman he had ever known before. Very gently he put his arms about her and drew her to him. ‘My beloved – at last,’ he whispered, as her head sank upon his shoulder. Then with a sudden movement she sprang to her height, and for one instant gazed upon him. Her whole being was transfigured in the might of her passion: her dark face was luminously pale, her lips almost white, and from her eyes there seemed to flash a blazing fire. For one instant she gazed upon him, and then her arms went round his neck, and she clasped him fiercely to her breast. ‘Ah, Giovanni,’ she cried, passionately, ‘you do not know what love means!’
Beat that if you can and if anyone knows where I can find part two please let me know.