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KxBurns
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PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

[ Edited ]
The chapter begins with the introduction of the actress, Keira Parker, who will portray Grace in Ursula's movie. The meeting between Keira and Grace is a great illustration of the changes in manners and class markers since Grace's youth, and much of the commentary to this effect comes directly from Grace.

But what I found most revealing were Keira's questions and Grace's answers to them. Keira asks what seem to be naive questions about Grace and her relationship with the Hartfords, in order to establish her character's motivation.

Grace maintains that she kept her distance, as dictated by the conventions of the day. She does allow that she might have had feelings about events that she kept to herself. But, of Keira, she thinks "No doubt she had glimpsed a larger role for herself, an amended script in which the housemaid is no longer an outside observer, but a secret member of the Hartford sisters' coterie. She is young, of course, and from a different world. She doesn't conceive that certain lines should not be crossed" (p. 138-139).

Yet we're lead to believe that Grace did, in fact, play a larger role than she lets on. Whether she was truly just an observer or she crossed those very lines remains to be seen!

Returning to 1916, the deaths of Lord Ashbury and Major Jonathan raise the question of inheritance/succession.

Also of note is Grace's questioning the character of Frederick toward the end of the chapter. His coldness in the face of his father and brother's deaths leads Grace to agree more with David's assessment of his father than with Nancy and the staff's devotion to him. Do you think she is correct in this interpretation?

Karen

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:31 PM
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psujulie
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

I thought the synopsis above was a great summary of the chapter. I did think it interesting that once again Grace comments on hair at the beginning of this chapter (even mentioning Ursula's hair color twice on the first page). So far in this book, hair color, style, texture, etc. (even hair bows a few times)has been mentioned a lot by the characters. I'm not sure if this is going to play out later in the book, but I think it's something to note.

I, too, found it very interesting how Grace is interacting with Keira. I found it extremely funny that Keira was supposed to be asking Grace questions, but kept interrupting her with her own ideas. I actually found Keira to be a little disrespectful to Grace and her position -- maybe it was a generational gap thing! She took liberties by using her first name instead of Dr. In addition, she didn't mask her disappointment when Grace explained her character's role in the movie. I felt like Grace was getting treated as she always did when she was a servant -- just a position to support the main ones in the house! What I really found interesting was how we pretty much know that Grace is downplaying her role in the story. She obviously feels the need to talk about it at this point in her life, but I get the idea that it's something that she only wants to share with someone to whom she is very close.

I thought it ironic (on pg. 138) when Grace says "The others became like a family to me." Keira definitely got her hopes up that she was referring to Hannah and Emmeline. I think Grace really was referring to that, but she didn't want to appear to cross the lines between servant and mistress. Later in the chapter (pg. 146), Mrs. Townsend does mention that she feels like part of the family when referring to the death of the Major -- "Not the same as when it happens to one of your own."

On pg.148, we see again that Frederick is watching Grace making her feel a little uncomfortable. I like the wording that Ms. Morton uses here -- " The other (eye) was dark, fixed, intent on its prey. As I watched him, I realized that he was watching me." The imagery of a hunter/prey relationship is evident again here.

I am not quite sure what to make of Frederick after reading this chapter. I think it's interesting that Grace is not questioning his intentions and behavior. It's hard to say how he "should" show his grief, but I don't have a good feeling....

Finally, on pg. 151, we learn that Lady Asbury has had the mantel clock stopped to memorialize her husband's passing. I'm not sure how long the clock is kept off (or if it's forever), but I think the clock does represent life in the house, both literally and figuratively. Grace also mentioned the clock (on pg. 11 when she was visiting the movie set) as being an imposter clock. She specifically says about the mantel clock, "The quietly insistent way it had of marking the passage of time: patient, certain, cold - as if it somehow knew, even then, that time was no friend to those who lived in that house."
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no4daughter
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

[ Edited ]
I agree with the previous post that Keira was very rude to Grace especially in the passage where she is telling Grace that she had tried out for the part of Emmeline and says, "I'm playing Grace and I have to make the best of it." I thought Grace lived up to her name when she says she can sense Keira's dissappointment and doesn't blame her as there were many times she would have also preferred to be Emmeline.

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:32 PM
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dhaupt
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

[ Edited ]
In this chapter the author gives us hints as to what's to come by making us ask questions as to why the characters are doing and acting the way they are. [Edited by Karen]
When Grace meets the actress I found it interesting that although she thought her actions rude, she said herself that she would have told her to not be so formal and I also find it interesting that Ursula's actions are also informal Grace doesn't seem to be bothered by her familiarity.
I felt that Frederick was stoic in the way that men of that time were supposed to be and I didn't find his actions cold but expected.

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:35 PM
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kiakar
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July - SPOILER

[ Edited ]

no4daughter wrote:


KxBurns wrote:
Returning to 1916, the deaths of Lord Ashbury and Major Jonathan raise the question of inheritance/succession. However, the "waiting game," as Lord Gifford puts it, is quickly ended by the birth of a baby girl for Jemima. Although everyone expects her to be hoping for a male heir, she is relieved to have a girl. Why do you think this is the case?

Karen




I think Jemima is relieved to have a girl because a girl would not be afflicted with hemophilia and she would not lose another child from this disease.


I agree with the previous post that Keira was very rude to Grace especially in the passage where she is telling Grace that she had tried out for the part of Emmeline and says, "I'm playing Grace and I have to make the best of it." I thought Grace lived up to her name when she says she can sense Keira's dissappointment and doesn't blame her as there were many times she would have also preferred to be Emmeline.





Jemima was relieved of it being a girl too, I think, because now she doesnt have to raise her child up in this house with all the ghosts that surround it. And of course the blood disease too. But I think she was relieved and happy to be able to leave with her child in tact.

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:33 PM
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kiakar
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

[ Edited ]
I agree with the previous post that Keira was very rude to Grace especially in the passage where she is telling Grace that she had tried out for the part of Emmeline and says, "I'm playing Grace and I have to make the best of it." I thought Grace lived up to her name when she says she can sense Keira's dissappointment and doesn't blame her as there were many times she would have also preferred to be Emmeline.






Keira was just a chattering abnoxious girl who didn't put any emphsis on being discreet concerning others feelings on matters. I think Grace saw this in her, and didn't take any slight with her comments. Grace knew a young girl concerned with her career would naturally think in this manner.

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:33 PM
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July



kiakar wrote:
I think Jemima is relieved to have a girl because a girl would not be afflicted with hemophilia and she would not lose another child from this disease.


I agree with the previous post that Keira was very rude to Grace especially in the passage where she is telling Grace that she had tried out for the part of Emmeline and says, "I'm playing Grace and I have to make the best of it." I thought Grace lived up to her name when she says she can sense Keira's dissappointment and doesn't blame her as there were many times she would have also preferred to be Emmeline.






Keira was just a chattering abnoxious girl who didn't put any emphsis on being discreet concerning others feelings on matters. I think Grace saw this in her, and didn't take any slight with her comments. Grace knew a young girl concerned with her career would naturally think in this manner.




What a contrast with the person she is to be portraying! She had better be quite the actress to pull off the role of Grace, the servant!

I guess she is a foil to all three young girls--Grace, Hannah, and Emmeline. She seems to have little character in common with any of them.

It is odd to me how little Grace tells her. Someone posted above me that perhaps that is because she has a story to tell and only wants to tell it to Marcus. So how does Grace feel about this movie being made? How does she feel about Ursula? Why didn't Ursula interview Grace much earlier when she was researching for her screenplay? That bugs me!

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no4daughter
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July - SPOILER

[ Edited ]

dhaupt wrote:
Why does Jemima want a girl.
Well we know later on why Jemima wants a girl, but in this chapter if I would have to guess why I would think that maybe Jemima doesn't want her child to inherit the lordship.
When

I am sorry if I revealed something I shouldn't have in my post.

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:35 PM
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Linda10
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

PsuJulie talks about (on page 138) how Grace says, "The others became like a family to me." The actress, Keira, assumes she means the Hartford family. It was funny when Grace clarifies that she means the servants! I realize that a lot of the charm of this book is because it takes place in the house of an upper-class family; but I really would have to agree with Grace. There is something very comforting about NOT being rich and famous. Maybe it's because the pressure is off; you're not in the public eye. Doesn't it seem like the so-called "beautiful people" are usually messed up? Just look at all our modern-day celebrities! Oh, well, maybe I'm feeling more like Grace as I get older myself.

Also, aren't the characters in this book, lower class as well as upper class, "family" to us readers? Isn't it so easy to feel like you're a member of the Hartford household as well? I, for one, am soooo afraid that Alfred isn't going to come back from the war. I'm so afraid he's going to die as well. I hope I'm wrong. I know I'll cry if something happens to him. Ah, books! How can a piece of fiction seem so real?
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Bonnie824
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:
br>
Also of note is Grace's questioning the character of Frederick toward the end of the chapter. His coldness in the face of his father and brother's deaths leads Grace to agree more with David's assessment of his father than with Nancy and the staff's devotion to him. Do you think she is correct in this interpretation?

Karen




Frederick's father never seemed to respect or love him really, and his brother was the "perfect one". Not grieving seriously for them does not make him cold IMO. His deep grief over his son and the fact that his father and brother's influence might well have impacted David's decision to sneak to war so young make him more sympathetic to me.
Bonnie

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:36 PM
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wendyroba
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

I found it interesting that Grace continues to be the "proper servant" in her conversation with the young actress - obviously it is hinted that she did in fact 'cross the line' between family and servant - but I think she is still protecting them, keeping their secrets.

As far as Frederick goes - he too has a secret (and I think I may know what it is). He is not who he seems...this has been hinted at throughout the book up to this point. It will be interesting to see his character play out.
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EbonyAngel
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

I found the part about the photograph interesting? Even the way they were lined up.
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Librarian
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July - SPOILER

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:
However, the "waiting game," as Lord Gifford puts it, is quickly ended by the birth of a baby girl for Jemima. Although everyone expects her to be hoping for a male heir, she is relieved to have a girl. Why do you think this is the case?




Going back to the Until we Meet Again chapter, Nancy relates to Grace what happened to Jemima's boys, Timmy and Adam. Nancy on page 111 exhorts Grace, "You're to pray she'll be delivered of a healthy babe this time...One that won't go bleeding itself to an early grave." -----Hemophilia passes down through the girls genes but only the boys suffer from this lack of blood coagulation. Was this known at Jemima's time so that she would know a girl wouldn't die of it?
Librarian


Message Edited by Librarian on 01-08-2008 07:51 PM

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:36 PM
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paula_02912
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July - SPOILER

[ Edited ]
I thought that this chapter was one that dealt mostly with contrasts...but first I will answer the question regarding why Jemima was relieved to have a baby girl...

I think she was relieved because the first two boys she had died from hemophilia, which she said ran in her husband's side of the family...so it makes sense for her to be relieved to have a girl, because there is a higher percentage chance, in her mind, that this baby will survive...

Now, back to contrast...the first contrast I found was Keira stepping out of the shadow from behind Ursula...maybe I am reading too much into it...but, I felt that the contrast here was that Keira, a well-known actress, if Sylvia's behavior is any indication, who is used to being in the light, steps out of a shadow...she is playing Grace, whose life was lived in the shadow, where she was purported to go unnoticed; but should have been seen...

Another contrast I found was that of Ursula's treatment of Grace and Kiera's treatment of Grace...I felt that Ursula's manner was more respectful vs. Keira's, which to me was disrespectful, especially when addressing Grace by her first name...I am from the time when you respected your elders and addressed them by their married name or sir or Madam...I just felt that Keira was very rude...

There is also a contrast between the way Sylvia treats Grace, a rare jewel who has so much yet to give and how she treats Keira Parker, an actress, whom she seems to idolize...

I also like how Morton contrasted modern day styles to emphasize the differences between Grace's youth and those of young people in the latter half of the 20th Century...I feel that it reminds readers of what's memory and what's reality...nice juxtaposition!

Once comparison I deigned to make was that maybe Ursula's life paralleled that of Grace's...she lives inthe shadow, but her role is pivotal to the success of the show; without her there would be no show and without Grace there would be no show or it wouldn't be as successful because she would not be able to share her own experiences; making the show seem more realistic and truthful...

I loved the line where Grace is talking about when Hannah meets R.S. Hunter to Keira, inadvertently mentioning them meeting at the lake, which confused Keira alot...anyway, Keira says that "it works really well this way, the lake being where he killed himself and all. Kind of like the end of the story is in the beginning." I liked these lines because 1) that is exactly how this book started, and 2) Keira was finally showing some insight, making me change my view of her somewhat...

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:37 PM
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paula_02912
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

wendyroba wrote: "As far as Frederick goes - he too has a secret (and I think I may know what it is). He is not who he seems...this has been hinted at throughout the book up to this point. It will be interesting to see his character play out."

Could his secret be that he himself was a child borne as a result of a liasion with a servant? It would be interesting to find out if that was the case...it would make sense why he was treated like an outcast by his family...
Peace and love,
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cocospals
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

I love using post-it notes to mark passages I wish to remember:

1. If found Grace's feelings towards Keira refering to her by her first name quite interesting. It does not seem to bother Grace that Ursula calls her by her first name, why Keira?

2.The author drops a tiny hint of the future when Keira is going over the scenes with Grace and she says "It works really well this way, the lake being where he killed himself and all"

3.Another hint of what is to come is dropped where Keira is talking about trying out for the part of Emmeline..."dying like she did in that car accident"
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Tarri
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July

Keira questions Grace about Grace's role in the house and is surprised that Grace does not feel closer to the sisters. I think it is hard for a 17 year old to imagine what it must have been like to be a servant in 1916, I'm 54 and it's hard to imagine the way Grace (and poor Katie) were treated. Of course, I'm sure Keira wanted a bigger role in the movie, don't we all think our part is really the most important?

As to Grace's reaction to Keira calling her Grace and not Mrs/Ms/Miss/Doctor, all of my friend's children call me by my first name, but when I was in school everyone was called by their title and surname.

I think Grace's questioning on the character of Frederick is very astute. Whether or not her assessment on that day will be born out, remains to be seen in future chapters.

My opinion is that Jemima wants a girl because she believes that girls take less risks in life and she wants her child to be safe. She may also believe that a girl will not inherit hemophilia like her sons. As it is the early 1900s, I'm not sure how much they really knew about the trait.

Cocospals, Grace told Ursula to call her Grace and Keira did it without permission. I'm not sure if that is the reason, but it would make sense.

I can't find how long the clock is stopped for, but the reason it is stopped is to leave it going in a death room brings bad luck.
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bookhunter
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July



Bonnie824 wrote:


KxBurns wrote:
br>
Also of note is Grace's questioning the character of Frederick – now Lord Ashbury – toward the end of the chapter. His coldness in the face of his father and brother's deaths leads Grace to agree more with David's assessment of his father than with Nancy and the staff's devotion to him. Do you think she is correct in this interpretation?

Karen




Frederick's father never seemed to respect or love him really, and his brother was the "perfect one". Not grieving seriously for them does not make him cold IMO. His deep grief over his son and the fact that his father and brother's influence might well have impacted David's decision to sneak to war so young make him more sympathetic to me.
Bonnie




I think the character of Fredrick is a sad figure because he is not able to pursue his dreams. He does not want to be the heir and Lord--he wants to be a successful business man. He has not been happy in love--his wife died (right?) and he seems to have no interest in Fanny or anyone else. Did he have a "true love" in his wife or our supposed tryst with Grace's mother?

He was not successful in love/marraige.
He was not successful in the military.
He has not been successful in his business.
And I guess we can even say he is not very successful as a father.

Now is all this failure the fault of Fredrick or because of the cards he is dealt in life (or both)?

Grace's mother says happiness can only be found at your own hearth.

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GMorrison
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July



Tarri wrote:
Keira questions Grace about Grace's role in the house and is surprised that Grace does not feel closer to the sisters. I think it is hard for a 17 year old to imagine what it must have been like to be a servant in 1916, I'm 54 and it's hard to imagine the way Grace (and poor Katie) were treated.


Indeed, and Kate Morton does an excellent job of subtly portraying just how much Grace wanted to be closer to the two sisters, be a part of their lives and not just an invisible servant, without even realizing that that is what she wanted, because it was verboten for someone in her position.


As to Grace's reaction to Keira calling her Grace and not Mrs/Ms/Miss/Doctor, all of my friend's children call me by my first name, but when I was in school everyone was called by their title and surname.


I think Grace found it rude for two reasons: the rules of social etiquette hold that younger people address their elders by Title + Surname until told they can do otherwise (yes, even today), and that Keira is coming to Grace for help--she makes several demands for information about her motivation, relationships, even wants Grace to help her secure a larger role in the picture. But that's just it--they're demands, not polite requests. I found Keira's behavior just as off-putting as did Grace, and I'm ostensibly a reader who knows that these are fictional characters in a fictional setting! Imagine what it must have been like for Grace herself, who was raised to value (and does value) etiquette and social mores, to realize that this is the sort of person who's going to be portraying her!


My opinion is that Jemima wants a girl because she believes that girls take less risks in life and she wants her child to be safe.




Furthermore, she must be relieved because as a girl, Jemima's daughter will never be in danger of having to go fight a war from which he'll never return, like her father-in-law, husband, and nephew. Hannah may have found it infuriating, but I'm sure a parent approaches such a restriction with a different set of priorities.
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Peppermill
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Re: PART TWO: The Twelfth of July - SPOILER

[ Edited ]

Librarian wrote:

KxBurns wrote:
However, the "waiting game," as Lord Gifford puts it, is quickly ended by the birth of a baby girl for Jemima. Although everyone expects her to be hoping for a male heir, she is relieved to have a girl. Why do you think this is the case?

Going back to the Until we Meet Again chapter, Nancy relates to Grace what happened to Jemima's boys, Timmy and Adam. Nancy on page 111 exhorts Grace, "You're to pray she'll be delivered of a healthy babe this time...One that won't go bleeding itself to an early grave." -----Hemophilia passes down through the girls genes but only the boys suffer from this lack of blood coagulation. Was this known at Jemima's time so that she would know a girl wouldn't die of it?

I haven't done the research to try to figure out what was known when about hemophilia, but since it afflicted the royal families of Europe, I suspect a considerable amount was known by this time. I have been fascinated by these allusions by Ms. Morton -- is she tying the Hartfords to the royal family of Queen Victoria? What is the Scottish aristocratic connection?

"Hemophilia A and B occur almost always in boys. Generally, hemophilia A and B pass from mother to son through one of the mother's genes. Everyone has two sex chromosomes, one from each parent. Females inherit an X chromosome from their mother and an X chromosome from their father. Males inherit an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father. The gene that causes hemophilia A or B is located on the X chromosome. This is why men can't pass along the gene that causes hemophilia to their sons. Most women who have the defective gene are simply carriers and exhibit no signs or symptoms of hemophilia. It's also possible for hemophilia A or B to occur through spontaneous gene mutation."

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemophilia/DS00218/DSECTION=3

A bit of background on the disease and its impact on European history is given here:

http://www.hemophilia.ca/en/2.1.2.php

Although I can't speak to its reliability, this site has an anecdote about Prince Leopold/Prince Alfred and Australia that relates to hemophilia. Does Ms. Morton know this story and did it impact her in writing HAR?

http://www.geocities.com/hemophiliaclub/info.html


Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-10-2008 12:38 PM
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