Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?
Not knowing what else to do to pass the time, Freddy decided to waft over to Emma’s house to see if anything was going on. He told Jeeves, his devoted valet and dependable rescuer, to prepare an afternoon visiting costume while he bathed and shaved. Jeeves, of course, impeccable in his taste and manner, did a fine job of turning Freddy Wooster out as a proper gentleman should be when he makes an afternoon visit.
It is important to understand that Freddy had no designs on Emma, who was the neighborhood beauty and most eligible single woman. Freddy’s design, of course, was to remain unentangled from the bonds of matrimony, a goal at which he had succeeded quite successfully in spite of the machinations of aunts, and various mothers of available females.
Emma always prepared for possible afternoon visitors. A girl who was good at heart, but somewhat spoiled, she always did what was right and proper. Dressed in a sprigged muslin afternoon-tea-on-the-lawn sort of outfit with a lacy fichu tucked modestly over her bosom, (have you ever wondered how all these extremely modest young females, who would never think of showing an ankle in public, seemed to have no problem whatsoever showing their bosoms?) she was a picture of fresh-faced English beauty and in every way a gentlewoman of class and distinction. Except that she truly didn’t care for one of her elderly neighbors. Her only flaw of spite was sometimes directed toward this poor soul, who just didn’t seem to understand how to go on.
As Freddy allowed Jeeves to dress him for a visit to Emma and, he hoped, a substantial high tea; as Emma groomed herself and checked the preparations for her possible afternoon guests–unbeknownst to all, our Pip happily made his way to Emma’s from the opposite direction of Freddy. He was in an open carriage, happily tooling along the road and enjoying the beauties of the English countryside. Seated beside him, I too enjoyed the scenery, but I was a bit worried about how our companion would be received. Abel Magwitch was no one’s idea of an English gentleman. However, he was Pip’s benefactor, finally revealed after many years and many trials. Pip looked on him as a father. (I know, I know, I’m messing with the story line. It’s MY post, ok?)
Abel was a bumptious-looking man who had no refinements and didn’t care a button for the niceties of the English upper class. He was fairly clean, but his clothing was ragged and his hair long, straggly, and unkempt. His face showed the results of his hard-lived life. One had to look into his eyes to see the kindness and gratitude with which he favored his young protegee, Pip, who had learned to look beyond Abel’s exterior and saw the big heart under the spotty waistcoat.
Because I knew Emma, I wondered how she would receive someone of such careless appearance and manner, I wondered how Pip would respond if she were rude. And of course, I had no idea at all that Freddy, who was rather a dim sort of fellow, was also on his way to Emma’s.
I wondered. . .