Great moments from last night's reading
Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory
Here's a little moment that totally stuck in my mind from last night's reading. It's slightly random, in the way that true things about a person can be random.
Stuart Aysgarth, this very dark, embattled Viscount, is working on this "caper," let's call it, with Emma, that involves them going to London.
Aysgarth has this sleek black carriage pulled by eight giant black horses, but one of the horses is going a little wild and reckless and almost makes the carriage tip over. So Stuart has to stop the carriage and send the horse and its mate back to the stable and go with six for a while.
When Stuart climbed back into the carriage, he shoved through the doorway like a man who was more than merely frustrated by a wayward horse. He was angry. He sat back heavily into his seat, then glanced at Emma. "Happy?" he asked, as he she'd had something to do with it. "No more wild, whirling rides once we get to Harrogate."
Mystified, she told him, "It's a good decision."
But he didn't like it. Reducing the team to six, removing perhaps the fastest, strongest animal and its harness mate, seemed to mean more to him than giving up "Wild whirling rides." He saw it as giving up something else, something she didn't grasp, though nothing he would speak of.
I found myself thinking of this little passage a lot today. Nobody in their right mind would ride with a horse messing up the team and endangering everybody, but Stuart hated to have to take the horse off, even temporarily. By this time in the book, a good 2/3 through, Stuart seemed, to me, this known hero, a character I felt I understood and trusted. And suddenly, this note of irrationality.
I loved two things about this moment. One was a a big thing about human nature, you know, people don't behave in their own self interests in a lot of ways--you just have to look at the way our world is right now to see that. And people don't add up so tidily as they frequently do in books, either. It made him feel so real as a character, just this odd resistance to a smart decision, truly a moment.
The smaller thing was what this particular stroke of irrationality said about the character, like, reader beware, there's a little shadowy place here. You don't know him. There are eight horses here, and one of them has a wild streak and isn't with the program.
This book so working for me right now!
ETA/Monday morning update: Okay, after I wrote this I went to bed and finished the book and Ivory did bring this back, and twisted it in the most interesting way for this story. When I read it the night before last, I thought it was a strange little note to add dimension to this character, when in fact, it's a surprising metaphorical key. It was so subtle, I didn't think it would be that important. I like the idea of what I wrongly thought it was, and I also like what Ivory did with it.
Images: Black horse public domain file from wikimedia by V8Jess. Statue public domain file from wikimedia by manvyi