headache gone now from earlier partly by turning this question over in the mind: Imagine if all of your books were burned – and they were beautiful leather bound volumes that were old and precious. How would you react? I know I would never have the money to replace them all and would either wallow for years in some sort of rose tinted misery or try to get over it and start all over again scouring second hand bookshops for replacements.
As a reader and lover of books it is possible to sympathise a great deal more with the Earl of Groan as his library is burned to the ground. What up to now has been a growing fascination with Steerpike and how far he will go to get power tips now into something darker and as his actions result in the death of a man you start to wonder just how far and cold he will go and is.
Bullet points between pages 212 – 272
* As Steerpike has planned tha family meet up in the library for the special gathering to discuss the future for Titus and his place in the Groan family but no sooner has the old retainer Sourdust started the initial part of the ceremony than smoke is smelt
* Quickly they realise they are locked in and the smoke becomes heavier and Sourdust dies, Nannie Slagg becomes ill and the Earl seems to lose himself to panic a couple of times biting his wrist as the smoke rises
* Fuchsia climbs towards a window and just as she gets to a position where she can smash the glass she sees Steerpike on the other side and he smashes it and comes in as planned and saves them
* He is disappointed when Sourdust’s son steps forward to replace his dead father and he seems to expect the Earl to go mad almost instantly – a process that starts but takes a year to ferment
* Meanwhile Keda has gone back to the bright carvers and the two men fighting for her hand kill each other in combat leaving her alone and ill and she goes to recover before heading back to face the music
* A year after the fire it is the time of the Great Breakfast and as Swelter gets ready he is summoned to the Earl’s room along with Flay and once there they see that the Earl has become as much as he can an owl and asks for twigs and a mouse to eat
* Fuchsia runs to get the doctor and although it is an obvious mistake Steerpike is also sent for and panic starts to spread among those who serve the Earl that he is going mad but the doctor arrives and injects him with something that calms him down and Steerpike is clearly over the moon about the illness
One slight threat comes as the Countess asks Slagg where Steerpike came from – if she persists in this line there might at last be some one prepared to mount an attack against him. More to come…