FIND in
<--prev V209 next-->
From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) The cenoby files
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 14:36:40 -0500

Charles Reed writes:

>painting.  This reminds him of the paintings in the cenoby, and he writes,
>[Nettle] told me about the beautiful pictures upstairs in the cenoby and I
>them in our book because Maytera Marble had posed for Molpe."  (Tor
>page 228)
>>>From this unambiguous statement, it is clear that Marble (not Rose) posed
>the painting.  The resolution of the puzzle is to realize that it wasn't
>*really* Marble posing for the painting but Magnesia, her former and
>personality.  When maid-of-all-work Magnesia became Maytera Marble, she put
>her old life entirely.  Thus, when she said that she had posed for the
>that was a slip-up.  Magnesia, not Marble, had posed for that painting.
>to maintain the lie that she was Maytera Marble, she had to "confess" the
>she told about the painting.  Marble felt "flattered" by the postulant's
>admiration because she was the one who actually posed.

I don't know that the statement in OBW can be construed as
"unambiguous"--Horn and Nettle were the source for both sets of data, after
all. That sort of technical hairsplitting--which name she was using at the
time of the lie--might impress a lawyer, but are the gods from whom she
seeks absolution really that easily fooled? Marble knew perfectly well that
her original name had been Magnesia, as did Betel and Rose. If it was when
she still called herself Magnesia that she posed for the painting, then she
didn't lie to the postulant, regardless of what the postulant thought about
it. At the worst it was a misapprehension, not a lie.

>I think this might also explain why Marble keeps repeatedly confessing this
>"lie" to Maytera Betel.  I don't recall if this is directly addressed in
>text, but if Magnesia's reason for becoming Maytera Marble is because she
was in
>some kind of trouble and needed to hide,

Magnesia wasn't trying to hide; she became a sibyl because parents were
complaining that their children were now being taught by a laywoman. _All_
women take a new name when they become sibyls.

> then I think you are correct in your
>guess that it was upon becoming a maytera that Magnesia got rid of her
>human-looking face.  If that is the case -- that Magnesia was hiding from
>something and that Betel was instrumental in keeping her hid -- then Betel
>have gone to great lengths to ensure that Magnesia stayed hidden, since
>was an "accomplice" as it were.  And if Betel found out that Marble had
>to a postulant that she had posed as Molpe in the painting, Betel might
>well have been distraught at Marble's clumsiness, and to make sure Marble
>suffer any more bouts of clumsiness, she kept reminding her of her slip-up,
>forcing Marble to confess again and again so that the point would be
>home that she could not afford any more such mistakes.
>If all of this is true, it's even more interesting to think of Betel's
>to conceal Patera Pike's child from him, isn't it?  It makes Betel a very
>interesting off-stage character, and not an entirely likeable one.  It
>that both Rose and Marble were "hidden" in some sense by Betel, and that
>went to great lengths -- even cruel lengths -- to make sure her secretes
>secret.  It also raises the question of whether Magnesia was hidden because
>knew of Rose's pregnancy.  I can't think of a reason why this would
>her going into hiding, though, so that might not be a very good guess.

I don't see how Magnesia could have failed to know of Rose's pregnancy; not
even a chem could have been that ignorant of human physiology. Magnesia
would have seen pregnant mothers all the time at the school. In any event,
she was at the cenoby both before and after Rose's pregnancy.



<--prev V209 next-->