Polly and Nina (FIre and Hemlock, was Hexwood

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 2 15:38:24 EST 2002

Nat wrote
> >Polly's attractiveness is, surprisingly when you
look at it, not all
> >that different from Laurel's--Tom Lynn has a thing
for fair-haired
> >females.

He does doesn't he? Isn't that horsey woman, Mary?,
another of 
the same type? However I think something else is going
on here 
too.  We're told that Polly's grandfather was one of
Laurel's victims
which makes her (Polly) a sort of in-- law, giving her
a toehold of a
right to be at the funeral. Her looks would seem to
imply an actual family
relation, giving a stronger right (cf the people
allowed into Hunsdon
House at the end) and I think Tom recognised that.
(could the business
with the vases have been a test?). I have a feeling
there were part Leroys
all over the neighbourhood -- Laurel's people have
been interbreeding with
the locals for yonks. However  we know that Laurel had
her claws into
three men from the same family, Tom, his brother and
Leslie, so there may
have been a preference for certain lines.

Then Hallie said, after some other stuff which will
reappear later,

 Then I got to wondering if there were physical
descriptions of Ivy -
other > than the "stony" part.  I didn't find much,
except for the little
glimpse > through Polly's eyes, when she says Ivy's so
much better looking
than > Nina's mum.  There is also "Ivy smoothed at her
beautifully set
hair", > which I found interesting, coming after the
meeting with Laurel.

Ivy's appearance was something I'd never really
thougth about. My 
mental image is the later, dressing-gowned, Ivy, gone
to seed. The 
resemblance of their names has been remarked on
before, realising 
that Ivy was originally a good looking, elegantly
groomed woman, 
gives some plausibilty to the idea that that Ivy too,
was a 
descendant of the Leroys. It also ties in nicely with
the way that 
Laurel was able to get at Ivy so well.

Nat continued
> >Nina's sense of making herself attractive
later--she shows off her
> >developing bust, dyes her hair, chases boys, etc.,
while superficially
> >about beauty, stand in contrast to Laurel's
literally stunning
> >elegance. Polly is in the oddly powerful position
of growing into the
> >physical ABILITY to give Laurel a run for her
money, but not wanting to
> >be judged on that OR on the vulgar sorts of things
Nina gets into in
> >her teens.
Interesting. I'm not sure I'd exactly characterise
outfits/behaviour as vulgar -- cetrtainly not in
intent. I sort of see
Nina as probably despairing of her "faults" frizzy
hair, glasses etc, and
putting on a big show as a way of attracting attention
away from them. Of
course she is, in fact, an attractive girl and the
effect is to draw
attention to that and to give her the enviable air of
being confidently

Hallie then said

> Hrmm...   I see what you mean, but I have a hard
time fitting her 
> very young self's envying Nina's looks with her not
wanting to be 
> judged on her physical attractiveness later.

Didn't it just mean she had grown up a bit?

  Although had it been 
> mentioned *after* the funeral, it would have made a
very attractive
> explanation.
> Your comments did go a long way towards reconciling
me to Tom's 
> "thing for fair-haired females", though.  The only
sentence in that
> whole book which consistently irks me is Tom's
telling Polly that he
> always loved her hair - just as he's about to be
done in.  Somehow it's
> now fallen into place as consistent with that whole
idea of Polly,
> Laurel and Ivy as aspects of the Three-Formed
Goddess.  So Tom's
> attraction to the Goddess is first misplaced in
Laurel, his next one
> gets it right.  I suppose it *could* also suggest an
explanation for
> Polly's puzzling mistaking of Laurel for Nina.  If
another grouping of
> three is Nina, Polly and Fiona, it could be the
(physical) association
> of Laurel and Polly transposed on the (non-physical)
association of Nina
> and Polly.  Maybe?

Another group of three is Polly, Ivy and Granny. I'm
going to have to read
F&H again real soon....

As I was typing the above I found myself singing "The
Polly and the 
Ivy". You know, she could have been named "Holly", in
an earlier 
draught, only "Polly" suits her better and "Holly"
might have been 
too obvious. Or maybe not!


Ps. Sorry abouit the horrible formatting, I can't get
my new address to sned mail thru the pop3 thingy, so I
had to paste this one into my yahoo mail which has a
different line length (yesterday I had the pop3 thing
using shorter lines but it hasn't today). Computers

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