Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chapter 18: In Which the Admiral Becomes the Most Interesting Character in the Book

Previously in Varney the Vampire: Our Heroes try to make Varney blow his cover and only succeed in making him angry.

I honestly cannot believe I am only on Chapter 18. I had to go over my old entries yesterday to make sure I didn't accidentally misnumber something or skip a chapter. I feel like so much has happened in eighteen chapters and yet, paradoxically, many of those events have been stretched out to the point of tedium. I haven't been skipping ahead too much, because I want to keep my reactions genuine and relevant to the particular chapters, but I've skipped ahead enough to know that the Bannerworths' story goes on for nearly a hundred more chapters. How on Earth is this nonsense sustainable?

Anway, Chapter 18 (THE ADMIRAL'S ADVICE. -- THE CHALLENGE TO THE VAMPYRE. -- THE NEW SERVANT AT THE HALL.), we return to the character of the Admiral, who was first introduced in Chapter 15 and whom I rather liked. The bell rings, and George has to answer it himself due to the servants being too afraid to stay in a house with a vampire.
"And who the d----l are you?" cried one who was immediately outside.

"Who do you want?" cried George.

"Shiver my timbers!" cried Admiral Bell, for it was no other than that personage. "What's that to you?"

"Ay, ay," added Jack, "answer that if you can, you shore-going-looking swab."
Okay, I laughed. Whatever the literary equivalent of chewing the scenery is, the Admiral fits the description -- but I like it. I'm actually inspired to keep reading just to figure out what the hell a character like this is doing in a vampire novel. And then this:
"Come along, then; yet, stop a bit. I say, young fellow, just before we go any further, tell us if he has maimed the vampyre?"

"The what?"

"The wamphigher," said Jack, by way of being, as he considered, a little more explanatory than the admiral.
It's a relief to have something to laugh at that's intentionally funny, not just bad, and JMR really does write the character interaction between the Admiral and Jack quite well so far.

So George takes the Admiral to see Charles. A bit of expository dialogue ensues as they walk, reminding the audience of what happened in Chapter 15: the Admiral doesn't want Charles to marry Flora. So the Admiral confronts Charles, who asks for a chance to make his case.

We then get some more backstory: it seems that Charles came into a fortune, but the Admiral is his trustee until he reaches 21; or, as JMR puts it:
A considerable sum of money had been left to him, but it was saddled with the condition that he should not come into possession of it until he was one year beyond the age which is usually denominated that of discretion, namely, twenty-one.
Really, JMR? Was your chapter really twelve words too short?

But not to nitpick too long (although isn't that the entire premise of this blog?). The rest of the chapter is pretty much just more of the same: Charles considers his backstory carefully, briefly consults with Henry and then goes off to tell his uncle what's going on. Meanwhile, Henry goes off to see Flora, whom we encounter again in the next chapter.

Chapter 19: In Which JMR Writes His Own Digressions


  1. It is a bit confusing. BAck when it was written they totally lost count so some chapter numbers seem to have been repeated. Must do the explanations.
    I'm trying to precise it down to a more readable version and it's beginning to give me headaches.
    It is fun to see how writing worked back in the 19th Century.

  2. I LOVE the word "wamphigher" I make this the name of a Blog or something.