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Good morning! I know you missed having me show up and drag you out of bed and poke you into the kitchen for Elsie Dinsmore! Choice of drink is ginger tea, chamomile tea, or peppermint tea depending on which works for you as a nausea remedy. Backup drink is Pepto-Bismol. Food is a liability. Emergency escapes include the door, the window, and the back button. From here on out, all depends on your personal tolerance. But it might get that ugly.

Really, Elsie, I am sorely tempted to administer
a very severe punishment"

Elsie caught at the arm of the settee for support.

"Tell me what you did it for; was it pure love of mischief?" asked
her father, sternly, taking hold of her arm and holding her up by
it.


Daddy D. sounds stern! or cold! or angry! a lot. Lucy wasn't allowed to point this out, because Elsie wouldn't hear a word against him. Living in a state of denial is moral. Also, if he doesn't want Elsie to be afraid of him, he doesn't act like it. He constantly demands if she would "dare" do this or that, and here he is reaching out and holding her up so she doesn't faint from terror at the thought of punishment.

Punishment and obedience are going to be constantly checked from here on out. It's not just martyrdom porn anymore. Oh no, I am not kidding:

He took it in his and held it a moment, while the little girl
stood tremblingly awaiting what was to come next. He looked at the
downcast, tearful face, the bosom heaving with sobs, and then at
the little trembling hand he held, so soft, and white, and tender,
and the sternness of his countenance relaxed somewhat; it seemed
next to impossible to inflict pain upon anything so tender and
helpless; and for a moment he was half inclined to kiss and
forgive her. But no, he had been very much irritated at his loss,
and the remembrance of it again aroused his anger, and well-nigh
extinguished the little spark of love and compassion that had
burned for a moment in his heart. She should be punished, though
he would not inflict physical pain.


What bosom?! She is eight! The thing that Finley is writing is not the thing that Finley wants to be writing, I think.

We're landing smack into an uncomfortable read. If they weren't father and daughter, and she weren't eight, this would be explicitly lifestyle stuff and we'd all be protected by Your Kink Is Not My Kink. But she is his eight-year-old child and while it veers in and out of nauseating sight, it is never entirely in the open. Those reviews didn't acknowledge anything going on, which is why I am being hella inconvenient and saying it when I read it.

This ties back to something about a subculture in the evangelical movement that makes a lot of people deeply uncomfortable: the emphasis on the sexual purity of daughters and the protective involvement of fathers can offer a kind of legitimacy to grooming. Fathers take their daughters to purity balls so they will feel loved and not take any sexual outlets... which can legitimize unhealthy interest. The picture gets murky, and some people like it that way.

A lot of the stuff in Elsie Dinsmore where it reads skeevily, like all the uses of "fondled," is just an artifact of the writing. No big. But a lot of this is brow-raising because, frankly, it's brow-raising, and that makes the evangelical emphasis on giving this book to daughters distinctly unnerving. The uncomfortable message oozing from large parts of this book (and just boiling in book three) isn't going to go away at all when she marries Travilla, or in the dialogue afterward. Or -- but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Daddy D. just revealed to us in the above passage that he punishes Elsie not to correct her behavior, but as Adult's Revenge. So none of what we'll be reading involves actual parenting on his part.

"See, Elsie," laughed Louise, maliciously, "he is feeling in his
pocket for his knife. I suspect he intends to cut your hand off."

Elsie started, and the tearful eyes were raised to her father's
face with a look half of terrified entreaty, half of confidence
that such _could not_ be his intention.

"Hush, Louise!" exclaimed her brother, sternly; "you _know_
you are not speaking truly, and that I would as soon think of
cutting off my own hand as my child's. You should never speak
anything but truth, especially to children."

"I think it is well enough to frighten them a little sometimes,
and I thought that was what you were going to do," replied Louise,
looking somewhat mortified at the rebuke.

"No," said her brother, "that is a very bad plan, and one which I
shall never adopt. Elsie will learn in time, if she does not know
it now, that I never utter a threat which I do not intend to carry
out, and never break my word."


I forget how old Louise is, but that's okay, I think Finley does too. Anyway, here we have the message again: male authority is absolute and unswerving, punishment is unavoidable.

Daddy D. ties up Elsie's hand in his handkerchief and tells her she can't use it until he says, and then sends her to her room. This is all accompanied by Elsie's intensely described humiliation because the other children are watching. Ew.

Walter, who was far more tender-hearted than either his brother or
sister, felt touched by the sight of her distress, and ran after
her to say, "Never mind, Elsie; I am ever so sorry for you, and I
don't think you were the least bit naughty."


Yes, dear tender-hearted Walter, that sweet child. We will wrap him in readerly sympathy. Oh, I forgot to mention the crime Elsie committed: she found a hummingbird in a jar, thought Arthur was just torturing animals like usual, and let it go. Turns out it was Daddy D's hummingbird he was going to kill and preserve. You know, an interest in taxidermy was just the trait Daddy D. needed to round off his character. Anyway, Elsie's now physically restrained from using her hand.

But she was not to be left to her choice in the matter, for
presently there came a messenger bringing a peremptory command
from her father "to come down _immediately_ to her supper."

"Did you not hear the bell?" he asked, in his sternest tone, as
she tremblingly took her seat at his side.


Yes, this is the man who decided not to love Elsie because her terror of him hurt his feelings. No, that wasn't long ago. You'd think consistency within a book would be possible.

"Yes, sir," she answered, in a low, tremulous tone.

"Very well, then; remember that you are always to come down the
moment the bell rings, unless you are directed otherwise, or are
sick; and the next time you are so late, I shall send you away
without your meal."

"I don't want any supper, papa," she said, humbly.

"Hush," he replied, severely; "I will have no pouting or sulking;
you must just eat your supper and behave yourself. Stop this
crying at once," he added, in an undertone, as he spread some
preserves on a piece of bread and laid it on her plate, "or I
shall take you away from the table, and if I do, you will be very
sorry."


Times Daddy D. has invested himself in exactly what Elsie will and will not eat and when, this time taking her food and getting it ready for her himself: two. Also, he just threatened his child.

"May I go to my room now, papa?" asked the timid little voice as
they rose from the table.

"No," he said, taking her hand and leading her out to the veranda,
where he settled himself in an easy-chair and lighted a cigar.

"Bring me that book that lies yonder on the settee," he commanded.

She brought it.

"Now," said he, "bring that stool and set yourself down here close
at my knee, and let me see if I can keep you out of mischief for
an hour or two."

"May I get a book to read, papa?" she asked timidly.

"No," said he shortly. "You may just do what I bid you, and
nothing more nor less."


Someone explain to me why we are reading this. No, the answer is NOT "because you won't stay out of my house," I phrased the question badly. Someone explain to me what this is doing in a book about morality and the teaching of moral lessons to children. This scene ain't about moral lessons. She's literally wearing light bondage while he orders her around. If I had a daughter I'd let her read this, but only because I thought it would sail right over her head. Elsie being the child of the man is a good cover.

That's a problem.

She sat down as he directed, with her face turned toward him, and
tried to amuse herself with her own thoughts, and watching the
expression of his countenance as he read on and on, turning leaf
after leaf, too much interested in his book to take any further
notice of her.

"How handsome my papa is!" thought the little girl, gazing with
affectionate admiration into his face.


During this whole punishment ritual set off by how he was looking at her and how vulnerable she was, she is sitting there thinking about him and how handsome he is. Maybe this is intended to underline gender roles and the ick is accidental. It's icky anyway.

And then she sighed, and
tears trembled in her eyes again. She admired her father, and loved
him, "oh! _so_ dearly," as she often whispered to herself; but
would she ever meet with anything like a return of her fond affection?
There was an aching void in her heart which nothing else could fill;
must it always be thus? was her craving for affection never to be
satisfied? "O, papa! my own papa, will you never love me?" mourned
the sad little heart. "Ah! if I could only be good always, perhaps
he would; but I am so often naughty; --whenever he begins to be kind
I am sure to do something to vex him, and then it is all over. Oh! I
_wish_ I _could_ be good! I will try very, _very_ hard.
Ah! if I might climb on his knee now, and lay my head on his breast,
and put my arms round his neck, and tell him how sorry I am that I
have been naughty, and made him lose his bird;


Evangelicals would probably say it's all in my head and I have a dirty mind. I don't really care; I've got four books of subtext and outright text to back me up. Regardless, I admit that right there is where my reading always hits a wall, even knowing she's just referring to that damned hummingbird.

An exclamation from Enna caused Elsie to turn her head, and
suddenly springing to her feet, she exclaimed in an eager, excited
way, "Papa, there is a carriage coming up the avenue--it must be
visitors; please, _please_, papa, let me go to my room."

"Why?" he asked coolly, looking up from his book, "why do you wish
to go?"

"Because I don't want to see them, papa," she said, hanging her
head and blushing deeply; "I don't want them to see me."

"You are not usually afraid of visitors," he replied in the same
cool tone.

"But they will see that my hand is tied up, and they will ask what
is the matter. O papa! do, _please_ do let me go quickly,
before they get here," she pleaded in an agony of shame and haste.

"No," said he, "I shall not let you go, if it were only to punish
you for getting off the seat where I bade you stay, without
permission. You will have to learn that I am to be obeyed at all
times, and under all circumstances. Sit down, and don't dare to
move again until I give you leave."


We will have unquestioning, utter obedience in all things! This is a moral book! For children! The humiliation factor is this time taken out by Daddy D. knowing his guest won't care and won't ask, so that was.. totally a moment where he knew best and was just vindicated? I don't know what Finley is trying on anymore.

Another half-hour passed, and Mr. Dinsmore still sat reading,
taking no notice of Elsie, who, afraid to speak or move, was
growing very weary and sleepy. She longed to lay her head on her
father's knee, but dared not venture to take such a liberty; but
at length she was so completely overpowered by sleep as to do so
unconsciously.

The sound of his voice pronouncing her name aroused her.


Godammit. That one's not Finley's fault, but it didn't help. Also, Elsie's father just gave her a time-out until she literally collapsed.

"You are tired and sleepy," said he; "if you would like to go to
bed you may do so."


That was another punishment spanning half a day. It takes about ten times as long to punish her as it does for her to learn from her punishments.

"I am very sorry I was naughty, papa. Will you please forgive me?"
The words were spoken very low, and almost with a sob.

"Will you try not to meddle in future, and not to cry at the
table, or pout and sulk when you are punished?" he asked in a
cold, grave tone.


That's what all this ongoing cycle of punishment has been about? Her not submitting to the stupid initial punishment gracefully enough, so he corralled her at his feet and kept punishing her for new things? This is sick.

"Yes, sir, I will try to be a good girl always," said the humble
little voice.

"Then I will forgive you," he replied, taking the handkerchief off
her hand.


FEMININE SUBMISSION. HAVE YOU GOT IT? FEMININE SUBMISSION. WE'LL BE BACK HERE IN A COUPLE PAGES IF YOU MISSED "FEMININE SUBMISSION." What? What? Was I shouting? Sorry, Finley temporarily deafened me.

He looked at her with an impatient "Well?" Then, in answer to her
mute request, "No," he said, "I will not kiss you to-night; you
have been entirely too naughty. Go to your room at once."


You're forgiven, Elsie! What? You can't ask for affection! You're not forgiven! You're grounded!

So we learn that the weather, and the mercurial temperament and unreasonable demands of her... father, plus Arthur daily hooking her elbow with his terrible cold claw-hand and shaking it to mark up her copy-book as petty revenge for that time he was beaten and half-starved and "imprisoned" for a week (no really, it calls it "his imprisonment,") have all added together to weaken little Elsie's dedication to her studies. Plus her copperplate handwriting looks all shaky and blotted, and there are giant triangular stab marks all over her book.

At the same moment Mr. Dinsmore's voice was heard calling in a
stern, angry tone, "Elsie!"...

...He was sitting with the copy-book and report in his hand, and
there was much severity in both tone and look as he addressed her.


That does it. I am now picturing Daddy D. as a curly-haired blond man with a paper plate with a frowny face on it strapped to his head. He constantly holds up a newspaper with Elsie standing on the other side of it.

"I am angry with you; very angry, indeed," said he in the same
severe tone, "and very strongly inclined to punish you.


The other bad thing about the icky subtext is that it preempts so much fun. Daddy D. could be a demented Sailor Moon fanboy with his emphasis on that word. He could wave his fantabulous beaded purse and shout about the name of the moon and everything. But I have to settle for the paper plate.

"You don't _know_? Very well, then, I think you could not be
very ill without knowing it, and so you seem to have no excuse at
all to offer? However, I will not inflict any punishment upon you
_this_ time, as you seem to be really sorry, and have promised to do
better; but beware how you let me see such a report as this, or hear such
complaints of idleness again, unless you wish to be _severely punished_;
and I warn you that unless your next copy-book presents a better
appearance than this, I certainly shall punish you.


Add one scene, just one, where a slave finishing chores late at night walks by Daddy D's room and hears him talking about punishments in his sleep, and this is a horror novel.

"There are a number of pages here that look quite well," he
continued, turning over the leaves; "that shows what you
_can_ do, if you choose; now there is an old saying, 'A bird
that _can_ sing, and _won't_ sing, must be _made_ to sing.'
Hush!" as Elsie seemed about to speak; "not a word. You
may go now." And throwing himself back in his easy-chair, he took up a
newspaper and began to read.


No one fine-tunes the subtleties of a character like Finley.

Speaking of characters, remember how Adelaide has always been a sympathetic ally to Elsie? Great! Neither do I! Now she is:

With many tears and sobs Elsie told her the whole story, not
omitting her papa's threat, and her fear that she could not, on
account of Arthur's persecutions, avoid incurring the punishment.


I should have just started a count of how many times that word is used. It's at least as frequently as the name of a recurring character. Probably more.

Adelaide's sympathies were enlisted,

What? Why? No, really, why? What's led to this change in Adelaide? Finley, you want to tell us? No? Okay...

and she drew the sobbing
child to her side, saying, as she pressed a kiss on her cheek,
"Never mind, Elsie, I will take my book or needle-work to the
school-room every day, and sit there during the writing hour. But
why don't you tell your papa about it?"

"Because I don't like to tell tales, Aunt Adelaide, and it would
make your mamma so angry with me; and besides, I can't tell papa
anything."


Maybe this is the logical extension of Elsie's passivity being part of her perfection. Given Elsie's strategic deference to Enna just so she can spike Grandpa Dinsmore's blood pressure, I think she's undercutting her father's ability to protect her, which is the one thing he's been so prideful of.

Then, kissing the little girl again, she rose hastily and left the
room, with the intention of seeking her brother; but he had gone
out; and when he returned he brought several gentlemen with him,
and she had no opportunity until the desire to interfere in the
matter had passed from her mind.


And Adelaide's moral sense of what's right succumbs to the Goldfish Effect. I know I've set up the text with narration for comic effect, but I don't intentionally change the meaning of the text by the bits I cut for brevity. The failure of an adult to protect Elsie is immediately followed by this:

"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer,
and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." The promise had
been fulfilled to Elsie, and help had been sent her in her
trouble.


That wacky god, throwing bricks to his drowning children!

But now she had been much comforted and encouraged by her aunt's
sympathy and kind promise of assistance...


Stop it! Laughing is starting to hurt! Elsie makes Daddy D. his beaded purse, "punish" hits two counts in a page as she thinks, and off she goes, unaware a frowny-face paper plate looms behind her like a full moon:

Fearing that he might possibly have returned, she knocked gently
at the door, but receiving no answer, opened it, and went in; but
she had not gone more than half way across the room when she heard
his voice behind her, asking, in a tone of mingled surprise and
displeasure, "What are you doing here in my room, in my absence,
Elsie?"

She started, and turned round, pale and trembling, and lifting her
eyes pleadingly to his face, silently placed the purse in his
hand.


You know who can't read this book? Social workers. They'd keep turning the page, hearing a voice in their ear, and realizing their hand dialed CPS on its own again. Elsie has moved on from acting terrorized and is acting downright traumatized.

He took her hand as he spoke, and sitting down, lifted her to his
knee, saying, "Elsie, my child, why do you always seem so afraid
of me? I don't like it."


He says, through his frowny-face paper plate.

..."O papa! _dear_ papa, I _do love_ you so
_very_ dearly! will you not love me? O papa! love me a _little_.
I know I've been naughty very often, but I will _try_ to be good."

Then for the first time he folded her in his arms and kissed her
tenderly, saying, in a moved tone, "I _do_ love you, my darling, my
own little daughter."


We can tell, because




yeah.

"Do you indeed care so very much for my love?" he asked; "then, my
daughter, you must not tremble and turn pale whenever I speak to
you, as though I were a cruel tyrant."


He says, through his frowny-face paper plate.

"O papa! I cannot help it, when you look and speak so sternly. I
love you so dearly I cannot bear to have you angry with me; but I
am not afraid of you now."


Yeah right. She was trembling a minute ago. If he were to move suddenly to swat a fly, she'd either faint or wet herself.

"That is right," he said, caressing her again. "But there is the
tea-bell," he added, setting her down. "Go into the dressing-room
there, and bathe your eyes, and then come to me."

She hastened to do his bidding, and then taking her hand he led
her down and seated her in her usual place by his side.

There were visitors, and all his conversation was addressed to
them and the older members of the family, but he now and then
bestowed a kind look upon his little girl, and attended carefully
to all her wants; and Elsie was very happy.


Third time this update he's messing around with what she eats. Anyway, things momentarily seem on the upswing. Adelaide can't be bothered to talk to her brother, but for whatever reason she does remember to run interference with Arthur. Then Miss Day gets all up in Elsie's grill, leading to:

Poor Elsie could bear no more, but bursting into tears and sobs,
said: "Miss Day, I _did_ know my lesson, every word of it, if
you had asked the questions as usual, or had given me time to
answer."

"_I_ say that you did _not_ know it; that it was a
complete failure," replied Miss Day, angrily; "and you shall just
sit down and learn it, every word, over."

"I _do_ know it, if you will hear me right," said Elsie,
indignantly, "and it is very unjust in you to mark it a failure."

"Impudence!" exclaimed Miss Day, furiously; "how _dare_ you
contradict me? I shall take you to your father."




That's interesting.

No, that's interesting. Elsie was by the definition of Elsie-code actually bad there. Read it again. If Grandpa had seen that she'd be his favorite grandchild. And it's prefaced by this:

All this Elsie bore meekly and patiently, not answering a word;
but her meekness seemed only to provoke the governess the more;
and finally, when Elsie came to recite her last lesson, she took
pains to put her questions in the most perplexing form, and
scarcely allowing the child an instant to begin her reply,
answered them herself; then, throwing down the book, scolded her
vehemently for her bad lesson, and marked it in her report as a
complete failure.


Yes, I know a twin of Arthur's top hat has appeared atop Miss Day's proto-hippie headband, but Elsie breaks off being meek and patient and actually indignantly lectures Miss Day on injustice. Oh, sure, we start with tears and sobs, but back in chapter one we had tears and sobs because Elsie was sorry she got mad about Miss Day's injustice. I'm not sure they mean much.

Elsie could have handled that one differently. Being told to learn the same lesson twice is standard Miss Day crap teaching. I wouldn't want my hypothetical daughter talking to an adult that way, mostly because it's putting her in a battle against an adult who can retaliate in all kinds of ways and it won't end well, but... partly because... well, it's really not respectful.

Elsie does not need to argue that Miss Day hasn't listened. Elsie does need to make a reasonable request that Miss Day allow her to say the lesson once more. Sure, Elsie was pushed out of line and it's a point of manners, not of morals. However, this is an odd moment in the books where Elsie is not so perfect. Even more oddly, it's not making me like Elsie more.

"Elsie has been very impertinent, sir," said Miss Day; "she not
only accused me of injustice, but contradicted me flatly."

"Is it _possible!_" said he, frowning angrily.


That paper plate saved him moving eleven muscles.

"Come here to me, Elsie, and tell me, is it _true_ that you contradicted
your teacher?"

"Yes, papa," sobbed the child.

"Very well, then, I shall certainly punish you, for I will never
allow anything of the kind."


I'm going to need a paper plate of dull surprise soon.

As he spoke he picked up a small ruler that lay before him, at the
same time taking Elsie's hand as though he meant to use it on her.

"O papa!" she cried, in a tone of agonized entreaty.

But he laid it down again, saying: "No, I shall punish you by
depriving you of your play this afternoon, and giving you only
bread and water for your dinner.


That's number four on the freaky food-obsession thing. I forgot to count punishment mentions again. Finley is at least squeamish about actually hitting Elsie, although she doesn't mind close calls.

Sit down there," he added, pointing to a stool. Then, with a
wave of his hand to the governess, "I think she will not be guilty
of the like again, Miss Day."

The governess left the room, and Elsie sat down on her stool,
crying and sobbing violently, while her father went on with his
writing.


I'm... not even sure to count that as disobedience or not. Why the loud tears when she's been told like five times now not to cry? She could be traumatized by nearly getting beaten, but I'd think she'd be relieved. She can't go play, but in Elsie-world that happens often and she does get to hang out in the same room as her father. She's away from Miss Day. The bread and water thing is pretty harsh, especially since this means she misses the day's meat ration. But her dad wouldn't even know she was crying if she faced away and cried quietly. Of course, being near Daddy D. is a chance to be repeatedly hit with new punishments for unintentional crimes, so hell, I'd probably cry too.

"Elsie," he said, presently, "cease that noise; I have had quite
enough of it."

She struggled to suppress her sobs, but it was almost impossible,
and she felt it a great relief when a moment later the dinner-bell
rang, and her father left the room.

In a few moments a servant came in, carrying on a small waiter a
tumbler of water, and a plate with a slice of bread on it.


Ongoing four.

..."What is the meaning of this?" he asked in a stern, angry tone;
"why have you not eaten what I sent you?"

"I am not hungry, papa," she said humbly.

"Don't tell me that," he replied, "it is nothing but stubbornness;
and I shall not allow you to show such a temper. Take up that
bread this moment and eat it. You shall eat every crumb of the
bread and drink every drop of the water."

She obeyed him instantly, breaking off a bit of bread and putting
it in her mouth, while he stood watching her with an air of stern,
cold determination; but when she attempted to swallow, it seemed
utterly impossible.


This scene isn't like the last, but unfortunately we haven't gone in a better direction. Daddy D. needs to rule Elsie's consumption of food, and it's getting way out of hand. He also thinks he needs to overcome her stubbornness and temper or whatever...

...she's eight. Who needs this level of command of the actions and inner life of an eight-year-old? Does it matter if she eats it then? It's all she's getting, which is less than her daily requirement of protein, so why not just wait until she feels hungry? Why did Finley write all this detail?

"I cannot, papa," she said, "it chokes me."

"You _must_," he replied; "I am going to be obeyed. Take a
drink of water, and that will wash it down."

It was a hard task, but seeing that there was no escape, she
struggled to obey, and at length every crumb of bread and drop of
water had disappeared.

"Now, Elsie," said her father, in a tone of great severity, "never
_dare_ to show me such a temper as this again; you will not
escape so easily next time; remember I am to be obeyed _always_;
and when I send you anything to eat, _you are to eat it_."


Text: Daddy D. is a control freak about Elsie and food. Subtext: Daddy D. is freakin' obsessed with Elsie's body and what is going into it.

It had not been temper at all, and his unjust severity almost
broke her heart; but she could not say one word in her own
defence.


Finley keeps saying that she can't tell her father, but there's really no reason why she can't, besides so that Finley can keep this punishment party rolling. Whatever happened to cause Elsie's change, this whole thing started because Elsie spontaneously upended her moral code to argue right to Miss Day's face. Miss Day has been a constant force of bullying in Elsie's life. If she can oppose her right there in the schoolroom, why can't she ask her father for the protection her father constantly says he'll provide? Does Elsie not believe him? Why not say that? Would it undermine the patriarchy or something?

I'm not going to find my answers here. Whatever, Adelaide to the rescue. Wait, Goldfish Adelaide? She cares again?

"Are you _sure_, Horace, that Elsie was so much to blame?"
asked his sister, speaking in a tone too low to reach any ear but
his. "I am certain, from what Lora tells me, that Miss Day is
often cruelly unjust to her; more so than to any other of her
pupils."


Again: did Miss Day just wander in and start teaching unpaid? Lora seems to freely proclaim that Miss Day is crap at her job and mean to them. Adelaide's known for however long.

"No! it is a positive fact that she does at times _really
abuse_ her."


This book is supposed to teach morals. Morals are supposed to be constants. Failure to protect a child counts as neglect. It has legal ramifications. Yes, that's modern, but the whole reason it's a crime is that it has always been wrong to see someone being abused and stand by. Finley doesn't seem to mind presenting us with horrible people, but we're supposed to think Walter is tender-hearted even after he tried to ruin a slave's life for a riding crop. I think we're supposed to be on Adelaide's side here. Problem: the only moral thing to do with Adelaide is to call the police on her negligent ass.

We're reading Elsie Dinsmore! We must dodge collaborating in her abuse!

"Indeed! I shall certainly not allow _that_" he said,
coloring with anger.

"But in this instance, Adelaide," he added thoughtfully, "I think
you must be mistaken, for Elsie _acknowledged_ that she had
been impertinent. I did not condemn her unheard, stern and severe
as you think me."


Said the man in the frowny-face paper plate. No, I will not get tired of that image. No, I don't know why his reaction to learning his sister has known about the ongoing abuse of his child is to argue that he was just in punishing her. Yes, I'm starting to get cranky and may start advocating someone self-terminate again. Yes, that's immoral of me. He's fictional and so's the child and I shouldn't let it bother me that much. He just learned his child has been abused for some time and his sister has known and stood by. That explains Elsie's state of fear and crying that are supposed to bother him so much, and that impacted his relationship with his child, and he replied with slight anger towards Miss Day.

Adelaide is still... doing whatever Finley thinks she is doing, and has developed superpowers of her own:

"If she _was_, Horace, believe me it must have been only
after great provocation, and her acknowledgment of it is no proof
at all, to my mind; for Elsie is so humble, she would think she
_must_ have been guilty of impertinence if Miss Day accused
her of it."


Adelaide is psychic! Also wrong. Elsie had her own Finley-approved code about being meek at Miss Day. We got suffering porn out of it. Can't go back now.

Then he sat thinking a moment, half inclined to go to his child
and inquire more particularly into the circumstances, but soon
relinquished the idea, saying to himself, "No; if she does not
choose to be frank with me, and say what she can in her own
defence, she _deserves_ to suffer; and besides, she showed
such stubbornness about eating that bread."


I'm just gonna call that five counts and quit there for the morning. Daddy Dinsmore is creepy as all hell.

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January 2012

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