[DWJ] Age in F&H

Kyra Jucovy arykiy at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 01:05:44 EDT 2014

Dear all,

As promised in a message to the list a few weeks ago, here is a textual
proof that Tom Lynn, at the end of *Fire and Hemlock*, is 33:

1) Tom is ten years older than Seb: "Tom's ten years older than I am."
(Part 4, Chapter 6, pg. 376)

2) Seb was fifteen when he and Polly met on the train: "Quite apart from
the fact that Seb was guarding her, she had not the least idea what you
talked about to boys of fifteen." (Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 174)

3) Polly was eleven when she met Seb on the train, making her four years
younger than Seb: "Granny did give Polly a birthday present after all.
Polly was staying with Granny the week she was eleven, because Dad was
coming back to settle up who was to have what." (Part 2, Chapter 1, pg.
133); "Halfway through the summer term, a little before Polly's twelfth
birthday, a packet came for her through the post." (Part 2, Chapter 4, pg.

4) Just to emphasize that, even though they met on the train in the spring
and the book ends in October, the age gap should be the same in October, at
the start of the book in the October nine years previously Polly was ten:
"That was when she was how old? Ten?" (Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 14); and she
thought Seb was fourteen: "He was in a grey suit and looked as respectable
as the rest, and he was rather old too - at least fourteen, Polly thought."
(Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 22). This isn't sufficient evidence on its own
because Polly wasn't sure at the time, but combined with the fact that she
was sure he was four years older than she on the train a year and a half
later (possibly with the help of her added retrospective knowledge based
on, you know, being engaged to him) AND the fact that it all works out to
make Tom 33 at the end of the book, it helps.

5) Polly is nineteen at the end of the book: "And the habit died hard, even
at the age of nineteen." (Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 13)

6) Hence, Seb is four years older than she and thus 23; Tom is ten years
older than that and thus 33.

Regrettably, I forgot to copy down the details of my F&H edition, but
hopefully the part and chapter numbers will help anyway. . . .

I will always think that this is the most amazingly awesome Easter Egg
ever. You have to be obsessive about finding out people's ages in books
even to realize!


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