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Rebel Angels
by Libba Bray

p.374-375 "You trained dog to English?" He points at me with the dagger. He makes a barking sound that tumbles into more laughter and then a terrible coughing fit that leaves blood on his hand.
     "The English." He spits. "They give us this life. We are their dogs, you and I. Dogs. What they promise you cannot trust. But Chin-Chin's opium makes the whole world sweet. Smoke, my friend, and you forget what they do. Forget that you are a dog. That you will always be a dog."

     He points the tip of his dagger into the sticky black ball of opium, ready to smoke his troubles away and float into an oblivion where he is no one's inferior. Kartik and I move on through the smoky haze. The Chinaman leads us to a tiny room and bids us wait a moment while he disappears behind the rags over the door. Kartik's jaw remains clenched.
     "What that man said..." I stop, unsure of how to continue. "What I mean is, I hope you know that I do not feel that way."
     Kartik's face hardens. "I am not like those men. I am Rakshana. A higher caste."
     "But you are also Indian. They are your countrymen, are they not?"
     Kartik shakes his head. "Fate determines your caste. You must accept it and live according to the rules."
     "You can't really believe that!"
     "I do believe it. That man's misfortune is that he cannot accept his caste, his fate."
     "I know that the Indians wear their caste as a mark upon their foreheads for all to see. I know that in England, we have our own unacknowledged caste system. A laborer will never hold a seat in Parliament. Neither will a woman. I don't think I've ever questioned such things until this moment.

p.443 "No use crying over spilled blood."
orbitaldiamonds: painting of dragon and books ([ a ] dragon and books)
[personal profile] orbitaldiamonds

A Great and Terrible Beauty
by Libba Bray

p.10 God save me from a woman's tears, for I've no strength against them.

p.11 I could ask them for directions back to the marketplace, though my Hindi isn't nearly as good as Father's and for all I know Where is the marketplace may come out as I covet your neighbor's fine cow.

p.42 She attempts one of those confessional smiles, the sort usually seen in reverent portraits of Florence Nightingale. In my experience, such smiles mean that the real message--the one hidden by manners and good posture--will need to be translated.
      "I think you shall be very happy here, Miss Doyle."
     Translation: That is an order.
     "Spence has turned out many wonderful young women who've gone on to make very good marriages.
     We don't expect much more from you. Please don't embarras us.
     "Why, you may even be sitting here in my position someday."
     If you turn out to be completely unmarriageable, and you don't end up in an Austrian convent making lace nightgowns.

p.52-53 We scurry across the threshold of the quiet, cavernous chapel and take our seats, our footsteps echoing off the marble floors. Arched wood-beamed ceilings soar a good fifteen feet above us. Candelabras line the sides of the church, casting long shadows over the wooden pews. Stained-glass windows line the walls, colorful advertisements for God, pastoral scenes of angels doing a ngelic sorts of things--visiting villagers, telling them good news, cradling babies. There is the odd panel with a severed gorgon's head, an angel in armor standing next to it, brandishing a sword dripping blood. Can't say that I've heard that particular Bible story--or want to, really. It's a bit gruesome so I turn my attention to the altar where a vicar stands, tall and thin as a scarecrow.

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Heather's Library

March 2010

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