I paddled off to my local book club this afternoon. This month's read was Thackery's, "Vanity Fair." Everyone seemed to have enjoyed this book of manners in Regency Britain.
There was much discussion as to the relative merits of the two principal female characters, Rebecca Sharp and Amelia Sedley. The gentlemen of the group were of the view that Rebecca was the girl to go out with for the night, but that Amelia was good wife material to have waiting at home. The females of the group purported to be aghast at this view (one could almost see the fluttering fans!), but the red blooded males were adamant in their views. Rebecca was vivacious, albeit a scheming hussy, and Amelia was rather insipid.
The notes to classic novels can often provide interesting historical snippets. One of our number adverted to the reference to the Red (Blood) Hand of Ulster. Apparently every Baronet is entited to have the "Red Hand" in their coat of arms in reflection of the reason for the creation of the baronetage, namely the provision of soldiers to fight in Ulster.
Vanity Fair was a long read but we now have to read the 1082 pages of, The Count of Monte Cristo, by 5th February. I suspect that this will not be as easy a read.