Man and Maid - Elinor Glyn It was hard to pick which edition - I read this thanks to it being free on Gutenberg (here). I was led to Glyn after reading a delightful review by Dorothy Parker (I quoted some here), and was curious as to whether other Glyn books would be as (unconsciously) amusing.This particular book was published in 1922, just to give you a time frame on this so you can have a heads up that the allusions to sex in it - tame for our year - are racy for that date.This is a book where I was just waiting to find some of the humorous bits that Parker had cited in It - but due to the topic of Paris in wartime, with a narrator who's a wounded former-soldier - well, the over the top silliness wasn't quite there with that setting. And I found myself actually enjoying reading it here and there - it may have helped that I could read the French and knew the places that were referred to. But! I did find a few instances of the unintentionally humorous writing that Parker was mocking. And of course the melodrama runs high here and there, but that's the era's romance novel for you. This one is actually kinda mild in comparison to some of the other poorly written novels of the time which I couldn't finish - the writing was that awful. Glyn is definitely still readable, and not as sappy as some. (Though there is indeed sap, oh yes.) So there's that to be said.If you want to read on with my ramblings and quotes in an As I Read It kinda way, here you go. I've quoted huge chunks here and there, some to give an idea of the style of writing, some for the silliness, and some for the historical WW1 interest. Skip to the bold areas for the more silly bits:______________________________Now some quotes to give you an idea of the tone. The book's opening paragraphs, which pretty well sum up Nicholas, our narrator/leading man:"I am sick of my life—The war has robbed it of all that a young man can find of joy.I look at my mutilated face before I replace the black patch over the left eye, and I realize that, with my crooked shoulder, and the leg gone from the right knee downwards, that no woman can feel emotion for me again in this world.So be it—I must be a philosopher.Mercifully I have no near relations—Mercifully I am still very rich, mercifully I can buy love when I require it, which under the circumstances, is not often.Why do people write journals? Because human nature is filled with egotism. There is nothing so interesting to oneself as oneself; and journals cannot yawn in one's face, no matter how lengthy the expression of one's feelings may be!"And from Chapter 2:""I think all our true feeling is used up, Nicholas—our souls—if we have souls—are blunted by the war agony. Only our senses still feel. When Jim looks at me with his attractive blue eyes, and I see the D.S.O. and the M.C., and his white nice teeth—and how his hair is brushed, and how well his uniform fits, I have a jolly all-overish sensation—and I don't much listen to what he is saying—he says lots of love—and I think I would really like him all the time. Then, when he has gone I think of other things, and I feel he would not understand a word about them, and because he isn't there I don't feel the delicious all-overish sensation, so I rather decide to marry Rochester—there would be such risk—because when you are married to a man, it is possible to get much fonder of him. Jim is a year younger than I am—It would be a strain, perhaps in a year or two—especially if I got fond.""You had better take the richer," I told her—"Money stands by one, it is an attraction which even the effects of war never varies or lessens," and I could hear that there was bitterness in my voice."You are quite right," Nina said, taking no notice of it—"but I don't want money—I have enough for every possible need, and my boy has his own. I want something kind and affectionate to live with.""You want a master—and a slave.""Yes." ..."We have grown so awfully selfish, haven't we, Nicholas, but we aren't such hypocrites as we were before the war. People still have lovers, but they don't turn up their eyes so much at other people having them, as they used. There is more tolerance—the only thing you cannot do is to act publicly so that your men friends cannot defend you—'You must not throw your bonnet over the windmills'—otherwise you can do as you please—.""You had not thought of taking either Jim or24 Rochester for a lover to make certain which you prefer?"Nina looked unspeakably shocked—."What a dreadful idea Nicholas!—I am thinking of both seriously, not only to pass the time of day remember.""That is all lovers are for, then Nina?—I used to think—.""Never mind what you thought, there is no reason to insult me."..."You are not a bit worse off than Tom Green, Nicholas, and he has not got your money, and Tom is as jolly as anything, and everybody loves him, though he is a hopeless cripple, and can't even look decent, as you will be able to in a year or two. There is no use in having this sentiment about war heroes that would make one put up with their tempers, and their cynicism! Everybody is in the same boat, women and men, we chance being maimed by bombs, and we are losing our looks with rough work—for goodness sake stop being so soured—."I laughed outright—it was all so true."So with the war thing I was thinking - besides the dis-likability of Nicolas (purposeful at this point, I'm pretty sure) - there wasn't going to be much to mock. I mean, the most humorous so far was Nicholas writing/journaling/whatevering:"...There is a mole on the left cheek of Suzette, high up near her eye, there are three black hairs in it—I had never seen them until this morning—c'est fini—je ne puis plus!"at the end of Chapter 2. But that sentence is immediately followed by:"Of course we have all got moles with three black hairs in them—and the awful moment is when suddenly they are seen—That is the tragedy of life—disillusion."So there, self realization, and not really mockable. Except maybe the "we have all got moles" line. And except in his continual Alas Poor Me mode. Will see what further chapters bring......the Poor Me mode abates a bit so Nicholas can wish that he could get back into the fight (Paris is threatened). So we understand that it has nothing to do with courage, etc....And now he is falling in love (or in early stages of it) with the typist he's hired, who started out as thin and not attractive, and of course the longer he knows her the more he's finding about her attractive. I kind of like her - the test will be to see how the author has her react when we come to the But Yes, She Loves Him Too.Must remember to find out if the photos in this ebook are from a film or a play of the material. ...And right after I added that the caption on the next photo says "A scene from Elinor Glyn's production "Man and Maid" Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1925).A quote (as I'm reading this online I have no idea how to note where this is) with an interesting take on the area during the war, specifically how the art was preserved (an attempt anyway):"How I love Versailles...Why did I not come here sooner? I am at peace with the world—Burton wheels me up onto the terrace every evening to watch the sunset from the top of the great steps. All the masterpieces are covered with pent houses of concrete faced with straw, but the lesser gods and goddesses must take their chance.And sitting here with peaceful families near me—old gentlemen—soldiers on leave—a pretty war widow with a great white dog—children with spades—all watching the glorious sky, seated in groups on the little iron park chairs, a sense of stupefaction comes over me—for a hundred or two kilometres away men are killing one another—women are searching for some trace of their homes—the ground is teeming with corpses—the air is fœtid with the smell of death! And yet we enjoy the opal sunset at Versailles and smile at the quaint appearance of the camouflaged bronzes!"...Start of chapter 8 and now Nicholas and his typist are having a discussion about reincarnation and Karma. It's not so much laughable as a "wait, how did we get here" moment. (Spiritualism was big at the time, but it's more that this fits badly into the plot except as a point in which to lecture on the subject.) Oddly the Moberly-Jorndain incident is referred to, not by name of course, but I immediately knew that was the reference from Nicholas' line:"The two old ladies seeing Marie Antoinette and some other ghosts here."...Ah, now here we go. Here's some nice eyerolling material:"...She has a darling tiny curl which comes behind her ear, slipped down probably because her hair is so unfashionably dressed—None of Suzette's "geste," nor even the subtle perfect taste of the fluffies.—It is just torn back and rolled into a tight twist. But now that I see her out of doors and in perspective I realize that she has a lovely small figure, and that everything is in the right place."What are all the wrong places that everything could be? (Yes I'm trying to channel Parker, and it's probably not working but I am amusing myself at least.)Earlier Nicholas has defined fluffies as roughly a group of women who are self centered, all about getting pleasure despite the war, not in it for love, etc. etc. Something along those lines. A chunk of these women are basically prostitutes, but this is alluded to and that exact word not used....And again, here is more fodder! Again, bolded so you'll be unable to miss the funny:"...Miss Sharp took a little parc chair and I was able to watch her as she read—I did not even hear the words—because, as she was looking down I had not to guard myself, but could let my eye devour her small oval face. All my nerves were thrilling again and there was no peace—how I longed—ached—to take her into my arms!"I fear an Eye which could devour! It can consume your face! In that direction lies the scifi monster movie! Fear the Devouring Eye!!! If there's actually not a B movie with that title, then there should be....Oh now this is delightful. Glyn references herself in her own book:"..."I am—not quite sure of that, Nicholas"—and she looked at me searchingly—"You are changed since last time—you are not so bitter and sardonic—and you, always have that—oh! you know what Elinor Glyn writes of in her books—that "it."—Some kind of attraction that has no name—but I am sure has a lot to do with love—.""So you think I have got 'it,' Nina?""Yes, your clothes fit so well—and you say rather whimsical things—Yes, decidedly, Nicholas, now that you are not so bitter—I am sure—.""What a pity you did not find that out before you took Jim, Nina!"...Things are wrapping up very nicely at this point. Glyn is actually quite clever in keeping the feelings of our typist heroine under wraps for the most part, because that way we don't get an overdose of the angst, and plus - mystery. So there's that for the good....And it turns into He is Madly in Love Yet Pretends Not To Be To Make Her Jealous and so she'll realize she loves him. It's sort of fun how romance plot setups haven't changed too much in the past 90 years. And of course the She Has to Surrender And Admit Her Feelings First, Before He Tells Her He Loves Her bit. And he must "master her." Bleh....Oh dear, there's poetry. I almost feel like I should have been warned about that somewhere..."When some strong-souls shall conquer their division,And two shall be as one eternally!Finding at last upon each others breastsUnutterable calm and infinite rest."I'll just let that stand, as is....Oh help, he's really into her nostrils:"Any student of physiognomy can see that those delicate little nostrils show passion, and that cupid's bow of a mouth will delight in kisses!"There's a lot about dealing with an amputation that makes me wonder if Glyn knew someone in real life that underwent the same thing. Also, randomly in this quote - out of nowhere - there are penguins:"...I wonder if all the hundreds of other fellows who lost a leg below the knee and were cripples for eighteen months felt the same as I did when the new limb was fixed, and they stood upon two feet again for the first time.A strange, almost mad sense of exaltation filled me. I could walk! I was no longer a prisoner, dependent upon the devotion of attendants!I should no longer have to have things placed within reach, and be made to realize impotency!...I wanted to run about! I wanted to shout and sing. I played idiotic tricks, walking backwards and forwards, like one of Shackleton's penguins. Then I went back to the glass again, actually whistling a tune! Except for the black patch over my eye, I appeared very much the same as I used to do before the war. My shoulder is practically straight now. I am a little thinner, and perhaps my face bears traces of suffering, but in general I don't look much altered."I know who Shakleton is, but dropping him and the penguins in is yet another of those "how did we get here" moments....There's a lot of the word "Hein" in the French language sections, so in case anyone else wonders (and has read this far):French-English translation for "Hein!"Short version: It has multiple meanings, dependent on how you use it in a sentence. Tricky, huh.