The end of my last extract, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to read on Saturday, had a fire scene in The Angel. ForÂ some reason I was looking around on theÂ internet for fire and ice imageryÂ and came across some references toÂ a classic novel which has a couple of fires. I decided to ‘borrow’ a bit of the action, althoughÂ theÂ original language was definitely not in keeping with the toneÂ of what I was writing.
Here’s some selected parts of the sourceÂ — no needÂ to worry about quotation as it’s very out of copyright:
‘I hurried on my frock and a shawl: I withdrew the bolt and opened the door withÂ a trembling hand…I [was] amazed to see the air quite dim, as if filled with smoke; and while looking to the right hand and left, to find whence these blue wreaths issued, became further awareÂ of a strong smell of burning…in an instant I was within the chamber. Tongues of flame darted round the bed: the curtains were on fire. In the midst of blaze and vapour, Mr Rochester lay stretched motionless, in deep sleep. “Wake, wake!” I cried. I shook him but he only murmured and turned: theÂ smoke had stupefied him…I rushed to his basin andÂ ewer…both were filled with water. I heaved them up, deluged the bed and its occupant, flew back to my own room, brought my own water-jug,Â baptized the couch afresh…the splash of the shower-bath I had liberally bestowed, roused Mr Rochester atÂ last.’
This gave me the idea to have Kim empty ice on James to try and wake him, although my fire wasn’t dramatic enough to have flames inside the room:
‘Â She coughed. The air stank. The smoke detector at the end of the hallway bleeped incessantly. She ran to the top of the stairs. Catching an orange glint in corner of her eye she stopped and looked out of the window. She saw flames through the outside glass door of the function room…”James. James. Wake up. Wake up. Thereâ€™s a fire.” Kim shook him hard…flames were licking at the thatched roof…Turning the bar sink taps on full, she grabbed two bar towels and plunged them into the water. She picked up a plastic bucket and filled it from the ice machine. Carrying the bucket, she rushed upstairs, pressing a wet towel to her face. In her room she found James had put on his jeans but had then fallen asleep again on the bed. The thatch was now ablaze outside the window…Kim threw the ice in his face. “Get up you stupid man. Thereâ€™s a fire. Iâ€™m not leaving you here.” As he awoke, a finger of black smoke entered the bedroom.’
I guess almost every writer who’s ever read Jane Eyre will probably have consciously or unconsciously borrowed something from the novel but it was quite fun to do. No one noted on any of the scripts that they’d spotted it, although had I got to read it out then perhaps it may have been more obvious.
I think there’s a bit of a Jane Eyre archetype in the plot of the book. While James isn’t really a Mr Rochester, Kim is going to beÂ coming from somewhere different (Germany) to London and then will meet James and fall out and reconnect with him later (perhaps?) but I think her St. John Rivers phase will come before James. Hold on! That’s given me an idea for the sort of character she can hang around with in London — a supporting character and a bit of sub-plot that IÂ noted I was lacking with the post-its.