Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Exuberant Misunderstood Child

Aaahhhh, poor Maggie, what an exuberant misunderstood child.  Cutting your hair off after a teasing is one thing, but forgetting to feed your brother’s rabbits whilst he is away at school is something else.

I’ve only just starting reading The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, but the brother and sister ‘run-ins’ with Maggie and Tom Tulliver have had me laughing and remembering some of the things I used to get up to with my siblings.  Thankfully none of them resulted in the death of a pet, unlike poor Tom’s rabbits.

The worse thing my sister and I did, when we were around 7 and 9 respectively, was plot to kidnap her love interest Peter who lived just down the street.  We decided to write the ransom note and deliver it to his poor unsuspecting mother before the kidnap attempt.  We demanded one pound for his return.  Unfortunately having only scrambled our names at the bottom of the letter it wasn’t long before Peter’s mum had us discovered and after a few words with our mum the kidnap plot was thwarted amongst many tears. 

Getting back to Maggie, she doesn’t mean to behave ill, but she does have a tendency towards dramatics and acts impulsively without thinking; when the deed is done she tortures herself knowing that she can’t take it back and should have behaved differently.  Maggie’s latest escapade involves making her cousin cry to get back at Tom who has been showing the cousin favouritism.  She pushes the child into the mud as they make their way to a pond (which incidentally was out of bounds to the naughty children).  When Maggie realises what she has done, and the possible consequences of her action, she decides that life probably won’t be worth living and it would be better to run away and join the Gypsies!  She does in fact make it as far as the Gypsy tent, feeling very sure she would be welcomed with open arms and made the Gypsy Queen.  After some uncomfortable moments when her pockets are picked and the contents examined, along with the dismal offering of some cold bacon and hard bread for tea, she decides that perhaps Gypsies are thieves and scoundrels as Tom had once told her. Finally Maggie is convinced that they are actually murderers and that she will never see her home again………. this child has the overwrought and vivid imagination that I had as a youngster, and I can totally identify with her!

I'll post more about this novel once I've read some more. So, happy reading all!


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