From Fiction to … eh … Fiction

The opening paragraph of the excerpt in the last post is closely modelled on the opening paragraph of the first chapter of Thackeray’s VANITY FAIR. There are also echoes of something else, but I’m not going to gell, because that would be spoiling the fun. *g* So for now, here’s what Mr. Thackeray had to say:

While the present century was in its teens, and on one sunshinymorning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of MissPinkerton’s academy for young ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a largefamily coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by afat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of fourmiles an hour. A black servant, who reposed on the box beside thefat coachman, uncurled his bandy legs as soon as the equipage drewup opposite Miss Pinkerton’s shining brass plate, and as he pulledthe bell at least a score of young heads were seen peering out ofthe narrow windows of the stately old brick house. Nay, the acuteobserver might have recognized the little red nose of good-naturedMiss Jemima Pinkerton herself, rising over some geranium pots in thewindow of that lady’s own drawing-room.

Miss Jemima is the nice younger sister of the nasty Miss Pinkerton, and I decided she should have a school of her own. Hence my Miss Pinkerton is Miss Jemima Pinkerton (not that she’ll have a big part in either story, but still!).

2 thoughts on “From Fiction to … eh … Fiction

  1. Laura Vivanco

    It’s a long, long time since I read Vanity Fair so I didn’t pick up on the similarities. The Word Wenches had a post up about first lines, and there were some given which came from books I’ve read, but I only recognised one first line, and it was from a Georgette Heyer.

    Not sure if that says more about me and my memory (or lack of it) or about Heyer’s talent for writing a memorable first line.

  2. Sandra Schwab

    Laura, I wouldn’t worry too much about my memory. I’m spectacularly bad at remembering lines from fiction, and only a tad better at remembering poetry. I’ve got friends who can quote books, films and what not at the snap of one’s fingers, and it never fails to amaze me! I’ve always been better at remembering moods and scenes than direct quotations (or, indeed, names). (Hey, I often don’t even remember the names of my own characters, why then should I remember those of other people’s? *g*)

    Thanks for the link, btw. Loved the first line from Mary Stewart!

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