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Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 23:17:47 -0400
From: William Ansley 
Subject: Re: (urth) The cenoby files

At 4:57 PM -0500 9/23/02, Roy C. Lackey wrote:
>She has nothing but contempt for
>Marble, as shown by her persistent refusal to use the customary honorific
>"Maytera" when speaking to others of her: "Marble's still fooling around in
>the kitchen. The littlest thing takes that girl forever." (LS1, 8) Note the
>"that girl", even though Marble is more than three times as old as Rose. To
>Rose, Marble is "that girl" because Rose remembers her when she still had
>her girlish face and synthetic-bio covering.


I'm glad to hear you say that "there are some puzzles I can't seem to 
work out" regarding BotLS. I couldn't work out practically all of 

I haven't read the books in quite some time. I remember the puzzle of 
the picture, but had totally forgotten about the puzzle of the trunk, 
if I even realized it was a puzzle back then.

I'm not going to shed any light on your puzzles, but I did have a 
different interpretation of the passage you quote above. I took it to 
mean that Marble was still a maid when Rose first knew her and she 
still thought of her as one. While I admit that I am basing this on 
historical novels, movies and television, it seems to me that a 
female servant may have been called "girl" long after she too old to 
really be one, especially if she was a member of a class or 
especially a minority group that her "masters" felt was inferior to 
themselves. It seems to me that an an aristocratic young English 
woman might have called an older female servant girl and certainly an 
aristocratic young woman of the antebellum American South would have 
done so with an older female colored (as she would have said) 
servant. To me, Rose's remark about Marble is exactly the kind of 
thing a woman might say about a kitchen maid that she didn't much 
care for.

This is not to say that Marble didn't also retain her girlish 
appearance when Rose first knew her, but I don't think it is 
necessarily the case that she did.

William Ansley


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