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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) The cenoby files
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 23:16:00 -0500

mantis wrote:
>Let's stop there.
>Fact: Marble hasn't been there in 184 years.
>Fact: Marble supposes that nobody had been up there for a century.
>The crux of your point seems to be that Marble implies or believes that she
>saw the trunk there on her last visit, 184 years earlier (a paradox), but
>as I read over the text in the book it seems to me that Marble does =not=
>say that she saw the trunk there on her last visit (184 years earlier).

No, no. Your reading of the text is correct; she did not see the trunk on a
visit 184 years ago. As I said in the second paragraph: "But both trips to
the attic came after Rose's death."

>Thus, it resolves: the last time she went up into the attic she was a maid,
>then she put away her maid gear and became a sibyl, at which point =someone
>else= put her footlocker up in the attic, and now she enters the attic to
>see an unfamiliar trunk which is her forgotten old life.  Her supposition
>about the amount of time since anybody else had been up there is simply
>Or am I once again missing something?

She may have been wrong, on the first of those two trips to the attic, about
it being 184 years ago when, still a graceful girl, she had last pulled down
those attic steps--I have no way of knowing. She may be wrong, too, about no
one else having been up there in over a century (the amount of time the
door-hooking tool had been lost)--again, I have no way of knowing. But was
she also wrong about having been a teacher and sibyl for only fifty-odd
years? She said she started teaching when Pike was a young augur. If she was
right about teaching only for the last fifty-odd years, then that trunk
can't hold her old maid gear; not if no one has opened that attic door for
more than a century. That's why I'm puzzled.



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