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Rain on the windows of an Old Dark House - Laura Wise

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May 22nd, 2009


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08:35 am - Rain on the windows of an Old Dark House
The Dog of the House and I have a 'day off.'

Because my scheduled outing for the day is canceled, Miss Dog and I went out somewhat late for our morning walk... which has been honored in the breach rather than the observance during this water-soaked week of rain rain and more rain. Because I didn't pay close attention to the radar (o invaluable radar!), we were surprised by a sudden downpour. I dragged her home at once, but I did get soaked nevertheless....

Which is so much less pleasing when one wears glasses, to be honest, esp. if one is dragging a stubborn canine on a semi-busy street.

Once safely inside and dripping, however, I started thinking about the romance of walking in the rain (when one doesn't wear glasses), and about Gothic glamor. The film blogger the Self-Styled Siren recently posted on the topic of films about Old Dark Houses, where she waxes lyrical about Gothic films with storms, heroines running about in the rain in their nightgowns, mysterious heroes, and of course Old Dark Houses.

Her post made me nostalgic for those books (rather than films) I read when I was a v. young lass -- Rebecca, of course, which gets more interestingly complicated every time I go back to it, but also paperback Gothics like Mistress of Mellyn or similar. The ingenues would likely annoy me now, and the heroes would require a good slap or two, but I did eat up the tales back in the day. It's the Old Dark Houses, and the storm, and the mystery of it all. Yes, that's romance all right, and delicious fiction.**

(**I prefer English Old Dark Houses, I must admit. Southern Gothic always makes me cross for some reason -- perhaps because it's too close to home and therefore I can't suspend disbelief. If I hear a mysterious scratching in my attic, it won't be a ghost or a mad emanation from tragedies past -- it'll be a squirrel out of place.)

Perhaps it's time to take a trip to the used-book shop...

May your weekend be filled with deliciousness, only a little bit fictional!
(Also, happy birthday to stateless82!)

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:freixenet
Date:May 22nd, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
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When I used to read Phyllis Whitney, I found a deep and abiding passion for those Old Dark Houses, not just the ones where long dead relatives were found alive to complicate plots but the ones where generations had grown up (all keeping a secret in their turn), preferably ones with cellars and hidden pantries and mysterious woods and treacherous, choppy, busy rivers. Oh, and heroines in riding habits. My all time, sets the measure favorite was a story of hers called *Thunder Heights,* where I first ran across the soap opera names Althea and Booth. Thank you for reminding me about it. I wonder if I still have a copy here?

And aside from all that, the romance of rain walking is, I think, trumped by the reality, which is fogged glasses, clammy hair and clothes, and then the sudden realization that you haven't left a towel on the floor to mop up feeties with when you've finally returned. On the other hand, there's hot tea and a piece of cinnamon toast!

hugs!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 22nd, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
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Oooh, but you are a woman of distinction -- Whitney wrote American Gothics, right? (Not to be confused with American Gothic the TV show, which however reminds me that I need to post about my old love for Gary Cole as the Midnight Caller.)

You are also quite right about the reality of rain walking. [sends tea and toast and hugs]
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:May 22nd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
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I haven't thought of Mistress of Mellyn in years. Apparently for me, all Old Dark Houses should be either in Cornwall or the Yorkshire Moors, or in a pinch, on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

I feel your pain about raindrops on the lenses...so hard to navigate between the waterspots!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 22nd, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
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Apparently for me, all Old Dark Houses should be either in Cornwall or the Yorkshire Moors, or in a pinch, on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

I hear you, sister. :-)

Hugs and joys and great old books!
[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:May 22nd, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
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Rain and glasses - definitely not mixy things.

I hope it stops soon.

((Hugs))
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 22nd, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
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I hope the rain stops soon too! It's breaking all sorts of records which shouldn't be broken. ;-)

[tea, hugs, and good thoughts]
[User Picture]
From:heron_pose
Date:May 22nd, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Out here in Vega$, it's hard to even imagine Old Dark Houses; I loved them in the abstract but found, much to my dismay, that they -- like walking in the rain -- are much more depressing in real life than in fiction. For me, I mean.

I hope the rain is good for the Double Knock-Out, and brings neither fungus nor infestation.

::sends a hot toddy::
::hugs::
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 22nd, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
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H_P, H-P! [tackle-hugs]

To be honest, I suspect I'd find Vegas (or at least the touristy part) more depressing than a nice Old Dark House elsewhere... but neither would be my first choice. :-)

As for the roses, well... Maybe they'll bud again. Maybe. But I caught the Dog of the House 'watering' them this morning!

May your weekend in Vegas be as fab as it can be, may your return be easy! [hugs]
[User Picture]
From:stateless82
Date:May 23rd, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
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oh, I love Gothics. Like you, I'm not sure if re-reading would be as much fun as remembering them, but it might be worth finding out. I know I've some somewhere.

I just finished Jean Rhys' "The Wide Sargasso Sea", which is pretty darn gothic-y itself.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 23rd, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)
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I couldn't find any of the Gothics I remembered at the used-book shop yesterday, but then I didn't look all that hard. (Hee.)

Some day I'll have to reread Wide Sargasso Sea... the first time I was annoyed by the modernist prose AND the depiction of Edward Fairfax Rochester, but maybe now I could detach. ;-)

Hugs and a happy birthday WEEKEND!
[User Picture]
From:pinkdormouse
Date:May 24th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
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Old dark houses: lovely. I should write about them more.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:May 24th, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
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I think about writing Old Dark House stories too, but I don't know what new thing I'd have to say...

But I will say Happy Sunday to you, and send hugs! ;-)


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