Monday, April 8, 2013

Destination Toronto: Professor Picton's House

On April ninth, Julia walked through the melting snow to Professor Picton's house, clutching her printed thesis in one hand and a bottle of Chianti in the other.

Julia stood on the front porch of Katherine's three-story brick home and rang the doorbell.  She wiped her palms on the front of her pea coat, trying to eliminate the clamminess.

Gabriel's Rapture, Ch. 32


Before I get into the heart of this post, I'd like to apologize for missing last week.  In case you don't follow my ramblings on twitter, I've been ill since Easter weekend.  I wasn't even sure I'd make this week's post, but have finally begun to feel better. 

I should also mention that this particular location requires more imagination, but given the timing of Julia's visit to Professor Picton's home, I thought it was only right for us to tag along.  After all, Picton is not a woman easily ignored.

"Julianne, welcome." Katherine opened the door and ushered her student inside.

If Julia's small studio was a hobbit hole, then Professor Picton's house was the abode of a wood elf. A wood elf with a taste for fine, old furnishings.  Everything was elegant and antique; the walls were paneled in dark wood with expensive carpets blanketing the floors.  The decorating was aristocratic but spare, and everything was extremely ordered and tidy.

After taking Julia's coat, Katherine graciously accepted the Chianti and the thesis, and directed her to a small parlor off the front hall.  Julia promptly sat herself in a leather club chair in front of the hearth and accepted a small glass of sherry.

In my discussions with other readers, Katherine Picton is always held in high esteem.  She is a character we all want to know more about and want to hear more from. And I'm crossing my fingers that she'll make an appearance in Gabriel's Redemption.

Personally, when I first read this scene I was reminded of my grandmother, Marguerite, and her home. 

She was not a professor, but she had the highest of standards in all areas of her life. Her home was small, but impeccable with only the finest furnishings.  She was beautiful. Even in old age, my Grandma Marge possessed both a model's figure and height. Her fashionable wardrobe was always the talk of the town. 

But beyond this, my grandmother was the feistiest woman I have ever encountered.  She was tough and she was opinionated, and you really didn't want to tangle with her because you'd lose. She was also free-spirited, athletic and the best cook in our family. She had a great sense of humor and continued to educate herself on anything she could for as long as she could. She was well-read, well-informed and even kept up with her granddaughter on all the newest trends.  For anyone who knew her, there was no denying she was a force to be reckoned with and I have no doubt she was one of the strongest, most elegant women I will ever know.

So I cannot help but think of her when I read about Katherine Picton. I can guarantee that if she were still here, she would have been one of the first people I would have gifted with this series of books.  She would have read them with enthusiasm and we would have had some very interesting *ahem* discussions as a result.

"Julia examined the large books about English architecture and gardens gracing the low coffee table. The walls were lined with pastoral scenes interspersed with the occasional severe black and white portrait of the ancestral Pictons.  She sipped her sherry slowly, savoring the warmth as it slid down her throat to her stomach.  Before she could finish, Katherine was escorting her to the dining room.

"This is lovely." Julia smiled, in an effort to mask her nervousness.  She was intimidated by the fine bone china, crystal, and silver candlesticks that Katherine had set atop a white damask tablecloth that looked as if it had been ironed.

(Not even the linens would dare to wrinkle without  Professor Picton's permission.)

I expect to be back next week, and pack your suitcases because we'll be leaving Toronto for a quick visit to the U.S.

Until then, take care,


Unknown said...

Glad you're feeling better! It seems as though the nasty bug has made its rounds. Thank you for posting this lovely scene with Professor Picton and Julianne. I visualize Judi Dench in her role. Hopefully we will see this story made into a movie. You do a great job taking us on these memorable tours. Loved hearing about your grandmother too! Those are beautiful memories to cherish.


nana7 said...

I really enjoy these posts! Glad you're feeling better. Katherine Picton reminds me of my favorite aunt and guesse what her name was...Margerite!

Jenn said...

Thank you both so much.

We often hear Judi Dench's name suggested for Prof. Picton and I think that's a wonderful choice. Wouldn't that' be something to see on the big screen?

Nana, it sounds like your aunt and my grandmother would have hit it off quite well. That's fabulous. :)

Unknown said...

Loving your website. :o)

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