[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] How-To: Unburden Your House// Mrs. Bennet’s Guide to Marrying off 3/5 of Your Daughters in Less Than a Year//

”She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

This is the very first account that we get of Mrs. Bennet’s character. She is a typical mother of little or no knowledge of important affairs with only her beauty to recommend her. Not that that’s a little achievement!

Mr. Bennet himself was swept off his feet by her ”fair share of beauty”, enough for him to make her an offer of marriage.

giphy-11So, now you see Mrs. Bennet is very adept in the arts of matchmaking, of inducing feelings of love in the hearts of another – both for herself and for her daughters. So skilled is she that she is able to marry off 3 out of 5 of her daughters in less than a year! AND ONE OF THEM AT FIFTEEN TOO!

I M A G I N E   T H A T!

So, you see there is NO ONE BETTER to give you pointers on how to find eligible partners for your daughters than our very own excitable Mrs. Bennet.

So, ladies, take notes because it’s about to get pretty educational here!

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THEM FLUTTERING NERVES!

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When your husband refuses to visit a single man of a large fortune, who is CLEARLY in want of a wife by the way, for the sake of your daughters, WHAT DO YOU DO?

🌸You quietly accept defeat.
🌸You start to devise other ways to get acquainted with the man.
🌸You try to convince your husband in a polite, orderly fashion.

Did you choose any of the above-stated options?

If yes then your daughters will forever remain alone. Mrs. Bennet actually has another tactic that works like a charm EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

You see, you have got to behave erraticallyshouting all day, blaming your poor nerves, taunting your husband indirectly – SOO MUCH THAT HE HAS NO OTHER OPTION BUT TO YIELD TO YOUR WISHES. Got it? Now practice timeee!!! 😉

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BOAST YOUR HEART OUT!

When you have a most beautiful daughterso pretty that men fall head over heels in love with her wherever she goeswhy the FUCK would you keep her hidden? 

You have been given a wonderful opportunity to make everyone feel ashamed of themselves. WHY NOT TAKE IT?

WHY TALK SENSIBLY WHEN YOU CAN BEHAVE IRRATIONALLY INSTEAD?

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So when your daughter’s future love interest praises one of her friends, you do not let the opportunity pass by. 
Make it plain as the nose on Mr. Bingley’s face that THERE IS NO ONE BETTER OR MORE HANDSOME IN THE WHOLE OF ENGLAND THAN YOUR DEAR, SWEET Jane, ALRIGHTTT????!!!

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Apart from loving your children partially, manipulating them, and spoiling them, a good mother must also possess the art of witchcraft like the ability to control the weather.

And Mrs. Bennet, being the perfect mother that she is, is 13764850985% skilled in this department. And a good thing too because when her dear Jane received an invitation from Miss Bingley to dine at Netherfield, her brain started churning out terabytes per second, thinking of ways to make Jane’s visit to her future husband’s house as long as possible.

AND THIS IS WHERE HER WITCHY SKILLS CAME IN HANDY!

She sent her daughter on a horseback instead of a carriage because SHE WAS SUREE that it would rain later and then Jane would HAVE to stay there. AND SHE WAS RIGHT!

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But HOW WAS SHE SO SURE ABOUT HER PLAN?
*whispers* Because she is secretly a very powerful witch! 

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectSPOIL ‘EM YOUNG

You are a (proud?) mother of five daughters. All day, every day only a single thought plagues your mind –

MARRIAGE. MARRIAGE. MARRIIAAGGEEEE!!!!

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And since you cannot POSSIBLY be as attentive to ALL of their prospects, sometimes you just gotta let them choose for themselves. Raise your daughters, PREFERABLY THE YOUNGEST ONE, as headstrong and foolish enough so that ALL THEY CAN THINK ABOUT IS MEN.

With this kind of golden thinking, you can be sure of a *fairly* well-settled, married daughter at the ridiculously young age of fifteen with little effort from your side.

SMOOTH, RIGHT???!

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DON’T GIVE THE SECOND ONE ANY THOUGHT!

Mrs. Bennet is a very intuitive woman.
AND VERY PROUD ONE.

When she saw that her second (and least favorite) daughter, Elizabeth, didn’t want her expert advice on ANYTHING let alone on marital affairs, she had the good sense to withdraw her services and leave Lizzie to her own devices.

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She is too proud to beg for her to consider her opinions. And rightly so because when Lizzie saw that she wasn’t going to get any help from her family, she was forced to be independent in her affairs and THAT LED TO HER BAGGING THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WHOLE OF DERBYSHIRE!!!

*SCREEEAAAMMSSSS*

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Isn’t she THE CLEVEREST WOMAN TO EVER WALK THE FICTIONAL EARTH??!!!!! 

Sooo…do you agree with Mrs. Bennet’s advice, then? I think she is pretty good at this matchmaking stuff (not better than Emma though *wink-wink*) RIGHTTT?!!!

And WHAT DID YOU THINK OF ALLL THE GIFS?!?!!
I MADE THEM!

I MADE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEMM!!! AREN’T THEY SOOO VERRYYY VERYY PRETTYY!!??? *heart eyes* *dies*

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] How-To: Choose a Wife// A Step-by-Step Guide by Mr. Collins//

November 18th marked the arrival of Mr. Collinsa die-hard fan of the uppity minx residing at Rosings Park, Lady Catherine de Bourgh – at Longbourn.

His design in paying a visit to the lovely Bennet girls was to save them from destitution by, being the kind-hearted man as he was, offering his hand in marriage to whichever one may please his eye.

HOW CAN YOU REFUSE ADMITTANCE TO SUCH AN HONEST MAN? Mr. Bennet sure as hell didn’t for his curiosity wouldn’t have allowed him to. And thus, at four o’clock on a Monday afternoon, he paid the Bennets the great compliment of visiting them.

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With his most affected and insistent manners and a mouth that spoke nine kinds of wonder, he soon accomplished his goal of choosing his future companion.

Now, you must be wondering who the lucky girl was, right?
FORGET ABOUT THAT!
I’ll do you one betterI’ll let you in on his secrets of how to choose the perfect wife for yourself.

TAKE OUT YOUR NOTEPADS BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TO GET WILD HERE PEOPLE!!

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COMPLIMENTS! COMPLIMENTS!! COMPLIMENTS!!!

From dining table to sofas to the boiled potatoesCOMPLIMENT EVERYTHING! You can never go wrong with a few words of praise. Everyone knows that.

BUT YOU HAVE TO MASTER THE ART OF OVERDOING IT.

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And don’t worry, if you fall short of things to compliment, START PRAISING YOUR PATRONESSLady Catherine de BourghIN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHO THE FUCK SHE IS! Now, THAT’S a winning stroke I am telling you.

Tell about her to whoever is polite enough to not punch in the faceyour cousins, their parents, their aunts, their future love interest, strangers, dogs, worms. 

SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

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DON’T BE RIGID IN YOUR CHOICE

Mr. Collins is a very flexible man.

He understands the delicacy of the business of marriage and he knows how difficult it is to find a partner. And although as soon as he entered the house he chose Jane, the prettiest of the Bennet girls, as his future wife, he wasn’t unwilling to direct his attention from her to Elizabeth in a jiffy when he found out that his first choice was already spoken for.

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You see, it’s THIS casual attitude that ladies out there are looking for. Hop from one girl to another until you find someone crazy, lonely, and destitute enough to accept your hand in marriage.

THAT’S HOW THE PROS DO IT, BRO!

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THE LIGHTNESS OF YOUR FOOT

Ladies LOVE a man who is skilled in the art of dancing.
Bonus points if your skills can successfully mortify them at the most important ball of the season at Netherfield.

The more you are able to expose your partner to ridicule in the eyes of important people, the more chances you have of winning her heart!

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It’s like this – the more exasperated she becomes with you, the more she will be willing to put an end to the trauma of putting up with your ridiculous antics for your attention by JUST SAYING YES. *sigh*

I know it sounds crazy but our dear Mr. Collins SWEARS by it.

So you better listen and keep your rational thinking faaaar awaayyyyy, UNDERSTAND?

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Confess your love

THIS is the moment you’ve been waiting for and I know you must be thinking of a romantic proposal full of all the passion and love you feel for her.

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BUT WAIT!

You seeeeee, THAT’S where you are wrong. You gotta suppress your feelings about her and state your reasons for marriage in the following manner:

🤦🏻Your profession requires you to set an example of matrimony by marrying a girl from a well-off family.

🤦🏻Your esteemed patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh requires you to choose a wife AS SOON AS FUCKING POSSIBLE, and you DARE NOT to disappoint her. 

🤦🏻You, in your kindness, want to save your cousin from homelessness by providing her and her family a place to live once you inherit their father’s estate. 

🤦🏻Tell her again that the GREAT AND MIGHTY Lady Catherine de Bourgh would like to see him marry either her or one of her sisters. 

🤦🏻Lastly, remind her that her lack of fortune doesn’t matter to him because the house she is living in right now will be his in the end anyway. 

COOL, RIGHT??!!

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IN THE END, MARRY HER BEST FRIEND INSTEAD

Now if even after following all these steps she refuses to add to YOUR happiness in life by marrying you, do not despair.
Do not lose heart.
There is hope for you yet. 

You just have to direct your attention towards her plain and emotionally vulnerable best friend. THAT’S RIGHT! You know she is a burden to her family and will accept anyone right now so don’t lose this opportunity of preying on her weakness.

GO AFTER HER!

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Your main objective should be to have a wife by the upcoming Tuesday. THAT IS IT! So don’t overthink, just take it all in your stride and you should be a happily married man by the end of the week.

THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS ANYWAY, RIIIIGGGGHHHTTTT????!!! 😉

laurels+flowers_0007_Vector Smart ObjectMan, I had SOO much fun writing this, YOU HAVE NOW IDEA!! *dies of laughter*

So, what did you think, huh? 😉
Do you agree with Mr. Collins’ advice?
Would you like to see a print version of this delightful guide? Because Penguin is desperate to publish it! xD

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] Ballrooms, Red Coats and £10,000 A YEAR//Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen//

”It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

And just like that, I am back home again.

Some of you already know that I started my Classics journey with Pride and Prejudice. Mumma gave me an abridged version of it – full of images of Darcy and Elizabeth dancing, Mrs. Bennet talking outlandishly, Darcy giving Lizzie the letter – and it sparked a desire in me, a desire to know more, a desire to know AS MUCH THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS, ABOUT THIS AUTHOR!

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This little version of Pride and Prejudice became my best friend. I would take it to school, show it off to my friends (who, by the way, were sick of me going on and on about it),  daydream about it!  I was in love with all of these lovely characters and their lovely stories.

Then my aunt, upon seeing how madly in love with it I was, gave me her mother’s copy of the same. It was yellowed, frayed, the pages were flying every which way and still, it was, to me, the MOST GORGEOUS THING I HAD EVER HELD! ️

It was a memory within memory and I loved that thought.

Many times I was tempted to get it bound and all fixed up but then it’d have lost all the rawness, all the beauty of it! I mean what difference would then have been between a brand new copy and this one? I wanted it to remain JUST THE SAME, no alterations needed. And I have kept it intact, every single page intact. And I am SOOO proud of it!

When I first got it, I couldn’t have been more than 11 years old and my little mind couldn’t really make much sense of the words. Although I knew the story, the complete version still felt like unknown territory. I was having real trouble getting into it. 

BUT I WAS DETERMINED!

I read it, asked mumma about the phrases I couldn’t understand but she soon started to get irritated 🤣. After that, I kept to myself but didn’t stop reading it even when I couldn’t understand what was going on. The second read was a bit easier. And by the third time, I started comprehending everything. Still, I went on to read it TWICE MORE!

SUCH WAS MY OBSESSION WITH THIS BOOK!

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Even today as I recall all those memories, my mind is filled with vivid nostalgia and it is one of the warmest feelings ever.

I don’t know who I’d have been today if it wasn’t for my love for this book. It changed the course of my attention, the very nature of my thoughts and influenced my daily life in the SUBTLEST WAYS IMAGINABLE! 

Miss Austen has bewitched my mind and I LOVE HER FOR IT! And to celebrate this passion, I will be sharing all things Pride and Prejudice, apart from other things, of course.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading them! 

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] The Last Letter

Having read, re-read, re-re-read all of these lovely letters countless times, I was actually quite excited to start this series here.

AND THE RESPONSE I GOT FROM ALL OF YOU MADE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL!!!! I got into it with a mindset that people aren’t going to like them that much so you can imagine the extent of my happiness when you shared your thoughts and reflections on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

So, thank you soo much for increasing my excitement for these beautiful letters. I LOVE YOU ALLL!

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And now I am sad that this is going to be the last one in this series. ALAS! I was having SOO MUCH FUN discussing them with you! 😦 Maybe I will bring them back again? *EXCITED AT THE THOUGHT*

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We started this journey – this wonderful journey – with a passionate display of John Keats’ feelings for Fanny Brawne spilled naked on the parchment. It only makes sense that that’s EXACTLY how we should end it.

I got my first copy of Complete Poems and Selected Letters of JOHN KEATS exactly 5 years ago. I was very much into metaphysics back then and Keats was one of my favorites. When my friend showed me his letter to Fanny, the very first that I shared with you, I fell even more in love with his love for her. Destined to die at a very young age, his letters were infused with the imminence of death and a longing for days he, sadly, will never be able to witness.

It was this sadness that drew me to him even more.

He once said – “Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.True. His love, his desire, the depth of his heart – I experienced it all with misty eyes. All of it. And the only question this experience left on my lips was –

WHY MUST THE GREAT DIE SO YOUNG? 

”Love is my religion.
I could die for that.
I could die for you.”

These words haunt my mind still. And I have a feeling that they forever will. 

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To Fanny Brawne, 25 July 1819

Sunday Night.

My sweet Girl,

I hope you did not blame me much for not obeying your request of a letter on Saturday: we have had four in our small room playing cards night and morning leaving me no undisturb’d opportunity to write. Now Rice and Martin are gone, I am at liberty. Brown to my sorrow confirms the account you give of your ill health.

You cannot conceive how I ache to be with you: how I would die for one hour – for what is in the world? I say you cannot conceive; it is impossible you should look with such eyes upon me as I have upon you: it cannot be. Forgive me if I wander a little this evening, for I have been all day employ’d in a very abstract Poem and I am in deep love with you – two things which must excuse me.

I have, believe me, not been an age in letting you take possession of me; the very first week I knew you I wrote myself your vassal; but burnt the Letter as the very next time I saw you I thought you manifested some dislike to me. If you should ever feel for a Man at the first sight what I did for you, I am lost. Yet I should not quarrel with you, but hate myself if such a thing were to happen – only I should burst if the thing were not as fine as a Man as you are as a Woman. Perhaps I am too vehement, then fancy me on my knees, especially when I mention of part of your Letter which hurt me; you say speaking of Mr. Seven ‘but you must be satisfied in knowing that I admired you much more than your friend.’ My dear love, I cannot believe there ever was or ever could be any thing to admire in me especially as far as sight goes – I cannot be admired, I am not a thing to be admired. You are, I love you; all I can bring you is a swooning admiration of your Beauty.

I hold that place among Men which snub-nos’d brunettes with meeting eyebrows do among women – they are trash to me –unless I should find one among them with a fire in her heart like the one that burns in mine. You absorb me in spite of myself – you alone: for I look not forward with any pleasure to what is call’d being settled in the world; I tremble at domestic cares – yet for you I would meet them, though if it would leave you the happier I would rather die than do so.

I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute. I hate the world: it batters me too much the wings of my self-will, and would I could take a sweet poison from your lips to send me out of it. From no others would I take it. I am indeed astonish’d to find myself so careless of all charms but yours – remembering as I do the time when even a bit of ribband was a matter of interest with me.

What softer words can I find for you after this – what it is I will not read. Now will I say more here, but in a Postscript answer any thing else you may have mentioned in your Letter in so many words – for I am distracted with a thousand thoughts. I will imagine you Venus to night and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen.

Your’s ever, fair Star,
John Keats.

(I have omitted the postscript.)

His love.
His Venus.
His Star.

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Keats loved Fanny the way everyone wants to be loved. What fleeting joys all the rest of them will be if a heart hasn’t known such love, such burning passion!

”A thing of Beauty is a joy forever.”

Indeed. Indeed. For I will treasure every single word you ever wrote, will inscribe it in my heart, will take it with me whichever world I go to next.

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I really hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did! I had so much fun sharing and discussing with you these wonderful letters. ❤
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR LOVE. ❤  YOU GUYS ARE THE BESTEST!!!

[REVIEW] Portrait of a Passionate, Determined, and Unafraid Governess //Jane Eyre BY Charlotte Brontë//

Reading Jane Eyre was like an agonizing fire to my already ablaze heart.
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Even before I opened the book, dear reader, I already knew what these pages held. There was a promise of passion, of struggle, of bravery. And as I began with Jane her journey through her difficult childhood and her challenging life, later on, I was filled with emotions I had only ever reserved for Wuthering Heights.

There is a strange intensity in Charlotte Bronte’s words; I was both inside and outside. I was Jane and she was me. We were one. Her plight was my plight. Her wishes were my wishes. My heart was beating faster and faster as I turned the pages, mad with anticipation for I knew, I knew I was headed towards a most beautiful love. 

Brontë writes in a manner that pulls you into the story. You are there with Jane in the red room, you witness what she witnesses, you feel dread as her heart feels it, you hate who she hates.

Being at the mercy of a writer is most liberating.

You are free of any responsibility thence. You don’t have to do anything but let your gaze fall on the words and let them travel far and true into the deep recesses of your mind, awakening memories that you thought you never had, let them make their way south and tug at your heartstrings like a most insistent child, demanding attention, craving love.

Jane Eyre’s situation, as we begin this story, is most pitiful. You cannot help but feel sorry for her. The oppression she faces is unbearable. Would that I could I’d have snatched that little frightened, beaten girl from these pages and kept her close to me, shushed her and lulled her to a sweet and peaceful sleep. I wanted to do that so badly.

Charlotte Brontë succeeded in making me love her from the very first page and I think that’s a quality these sisters had in common – Emily destroyed me by rendering my heart a passion for her dark hero and his wild lover, and Charlotte gave me Janethis plain and obscure heroine, with her simple tale of woe, with her hopes and dreams and the purest heart.

”No, I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste.”

From the very beginning, if there is one thing we are sure of Jane Eyre is that she knows her mind.

Even as a little girl, when asked whether, if given the chance, she would like to live with her own distant relatives even if they were a bit poor, she declined. Poverty was a degradation in her mind and she did not falter in admitting it.

Her fearless and free-thinking mind painted her in such a vivid image in my mind that I quickly forgot I was reading and began to feel that I was being.

She was never a mere fictional being in my mind. She was a living, breathing personacting out her life in front of my eyes, in my world…or was I in hers? I forget.

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Having a passionate temper was deemed her fault since childhood. Jane said what she believed to be true, she felt intensely, she was not a rebel without a cause and yet, these propensities were labeled as FAULTS against the good nature of children.

How I would like to ask every pathetic little relative and acquaintance of Mrs. reed, was it a fault?

Being keen is a virtue of the highest order because it’s the people who feel deeply that love intensely and without guile, as Jane did all her life. She was virtuous, brave, and much too modest. Such qualities don’t come often in that combination and regarding them as faults is a crime, a crime which was committed much too frequently against Jane Eyre.

The rigidity of the society Jane was brought up in crept upon her understanding soon enough and yet she never gave up her imagination and wishes of a better life.

BRAVE INDEED.

The school she had been sent to – Lowood Institution – was, to her, an absurd sort of place, although it did provide her the means to better herself, to be able to make a name in society. Still, the teachers’ violent behavior towards these little girls left me horrified and Brontë’s casual tone while describing it all renders it even more chilling, which I guess was the point. In any way, I was invested so much in Jane’s circumstances that I just couldn’t help my emotions. They were flying every which way

FLOGGED. BULLIED. DISTRESSED. Such was Jane’s state in Lowood. But she never gave up. She was the kind who starts rebellions against injustice and cruelty. Her friend Helen Burns’ influence humbled her greatly out of such thoughts to quite an extent.

Still, the fire that burnt in her heart never really died. It just waited for the right ammunition.

”By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings.”

The little girl tiptoed, past her bedtime, into the room of the ill and the dying. Finding her best friend lying therewith an air of finality about her she couldn’t conceal her tears. And neither could I. Jane’s little heart couldn’t bear the thought of Helen being taken away from her forever and I grieved for her most intensely, most painfully.

How could you, Miss Brontë? What sort of witchcraft is this? You make your readers coil and writhe with pain with an ease that would rival God himself! How could you do this to us?
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Reading Jane Eyre was certainly not an easy task. It demanded too much from meemotionally, mentally, physicallyfor I was heavily invested in Jane’s story from the very beginning – so much so that I couldn’t bear the thought of being driven away from her without knowing her whole story.

Jane was a wild soul hidden inside a duty-bound body.

She longed to surmount the blue hills across the fields, she wanted to break free of the meager existence she had been subjected to at Lowood. She wanted to traverse the woods, to get lost in them, to seek the treasures of experience.

She wanted to love and be loved.

That was all she wanted. Such was the wish of her lovely heart. Can’t every single one of us relate to her desire? No matter where we are, what we do, the one thing that we want the one thing our heart always desiresis freedom.

And SHE DID FIND IT. Later rather than sooner but she got to taste it nonetheless. And how could she not anyway? For a person with such a tender heart and such strong mind, it’s hardly a surprise.

”It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; they will make it if they cannot find it.”

Jane had always been in a quiet revolt against her circumstances, from the very beginning of her life with Mrs. Reed until the time she went back to Mr. Rochester.

Hers was an unquiet mind and a wandering soul. She could NEVER be contained. Even when she came to work at Thornfield and her situation improved a lot from her previous life, she couldn’t help but feel deprived of all the wondrous people she hadn’t yet met, all the beautiful places she hadn’t yet seen and although hers was a bit of a negative approach, that never stopped her heart from dreaming bigger. Such a combination rendered her intelligent.

”I did not like re-entering Thornfield. To pass its threshold was to stagnation.”

Her first impression of Mr. Rochester was that of someone who had, brought excitement to her stagnant life in those wide and gloomy halls where she was the governess. She longed for activity and for her unfathomable mind, activity, it seemed, had found her at last.

But Jane’s meeting to Mr.Rochester did not strike me as peculiar. It was just the sort of scene a Brontë would want to happen – eerie, mysterious, dark, and a bit exciting. There is not a very striking contrast between the dark and foggy lands that surround Thornfield and the mystical moors where stood the dark abode of Catherine and Heathcliff. And so, the image of their toxic love was kept fresh in my mind even as I followed the events at Thornfield.

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”The ease of his manner freed me from painful restraint; the friendly frankness, as correct as cordial, with which he treated me, drew me to him. I felt at times, as if he were my relation, rather than my master: yet he was imperious sometimes still; but I did not mind that; I saw it was his way. So happy, so gratified did I become with this new interest added to life, that I ceased to pine after kindred: my thin crescent destiny seemed to enlarge; the blanks of existence were filled up; my bodily health improved; I gathered flesh and strength.”

IN SHORT, dear reader, JANE WAS IN LOVE.

Now, having overcome my faint scruples against the match due to something that the brooding master of Thornfield declared in a rushed conversation, something the lines of – “I am old enough to be your father.”I came to understand how well-matched Jane and Rochester were. Jane was not saint-like. She had desires, she dreamt of better circumstances and she wanted to experience all that life could offer.

A tenacious, wandering and clever mind as hers needed someone just as clever.

Someone who could match her temper, who could understand her silent reproaches and dreamy wonders without the need of words. And she had found such a man in Mr. Rochester. And he, in return, wanted to experience all that he could not during his youth. Hiding a most unpleasant and dark secret, he longed to be in the presence of innocence again, to know the pleasures of an unpolluted mind. And who could have been a better fit than Jane?

Her steady and quick remarks kept him on his toes and his broodiness and mystery fed her imagination in a way no-one else ever could.

It is no coincidence when a man finds himself keen on a girl so inexperienced in the ways of the world. A man loves best when he knows he has something to offer that his partner is not in possession of yet.

In Jane, he found such a partner.

He had made Jane his confidante, sharing with her the tales of his misspent youth, this girl who had no idea how such a world worked (despite being a clever person, her mind was still shielded from the vices of the grown-ups). He did this because it made him feel “needed”, “valued” and not as a master, but as a teacher, as an unwilling friend, as a well-wisher. Of such feelings he had been alienated for so long he had quite forgotten the pleasures that they brought.

Rochester and Jane’s love affair was a mere chance. But then which isn’t? It is chance that threw them in each others’ ways, that’s true enough. At this point, they were still just getting to know each other but it was a most ardent love that made it impossible to stay apart.

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Still, this is NOT an account of Mr. Rochester and Jane’s love story, dear reader. But of how Jane dealt with the frequent and distressing blows that life was yet to deal her. Yes, she loved the man, but that’s not the be-all and end off of her story.

It did not begin with Mr. Rochester’s arrival in her life and it certainly doesn’t end with her departure from his gloomy self.

That’s what makes it all the more beautiful. Jane, whose circumstance had made her such a strong womanboth worldly and emotionallywasn’t dependent on anyone to save her from anything. Nothing frightened her as much as being captive. And so she followed her wishes, no matter what and yet had sense enough to not let her character be tarnished by such whimsical fancies as the heart sometimes indulges in.

Her story took a lot out of me. Her journey from being a pitiful (but still not weak) child at Gateshead Hall to being a scared yet determined pupil at Lowood to finding her courage and love in the gloomy and mysterious halls of Thornfield taught me to hope, to be stern where it’s needed, and compassion. 

I have a lot more to say, dear reader, about our heroine and her journey but for now, this will have to do.
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Sooo??
What did you think? Have you read Jane Eyre?
Did my review of her character and her story match your reflections, even if just a little bit?
What did you think of her union with Mr. Rochester?

A BOOK REVIEWER’S Prayer + Promise + Warning.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS for I will let my heart judge the words, without any inhibitions.

When I am holding a book, my mind is no longer the master. For it is my belief that once you let too much reason in, it muddies the effect the story has on you on a much deeper level. 

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Having read a book, I will jump straight into the review with emotions hanging over my head like a sword, threatening to destroy me lest I pour them out on the paper. It pains me to not be able to talk about what I read right away so I will always be very passionate and most insistent while talking about the merits and the faults of a story.

I will not be led by anything other than what my feelings dictate.

There will not be one shred of dishonesty in what I write. Everything will be in strict accordance with the feelings invoked and the thoughts reflected upon during the course of the reading. So you can imagine that it will, sometimes, prove to be a daunting read. And I am okay with that.

When the reader is wholly invested, in a book nothing but a true account of every movement of their mind, owing to the story, will ever give them satisfaction. So that’s what I do. My reviews are much too intense and hold true to only what I thought about the book, not influenced by anyone or anything else. In that way, they will be brutal, and forgiving accordingly.

You must not be in a delusion that you will be told a detailed account of what happened with whom, who did what, and how it all ended for them. No. The only things you will find in my reviews are what moved me, what incited feelings of passionate hate or ardent love, of ignorance and indifference or that of continuous awe. That’s all I can offer you by the medium of my humble writings.

But frankly, why would you want to know anything else anyway?

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Isn’t the real reason why we read book reviews to know what the reader FELT about it? Not what happened, but their REACTIONS to the said events? THAT’S the beauty of every single review out there, isn’t it? Their singularity, their originality.

You must not read my reviews for they will be an honest account of my shattering heart and all the reasons behind it.

They will be raw, overflowing with emotions, and you might then be inclined to suppose that I am blind to the faults of the book. I am not but to think so is your choice.

You must not read my reviews because then, you will HAVE to read the book concerned with as much an open heart and suspended belief as I did, to experience, IN IT’S FULLNESS, the story those pages hold.

YOU MUST NOT READ MY REVIEWS IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THAT.
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Such are my thoughts on review writing, how they should be and why a reviewer must NEVER be forced to do otherwise. Doing justice to a book, according to our opinions on it, is all we are required to do and THAT’S ALL WE WILL DO.

EVER.

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//

“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

The Great Gatsby is one of those stories that never leave my heart. I might not always be aware but it always stays in the background. I can hear the slow and tragic music in the depth of my being – clear and inviting.

And while reading Zelda Fitzgerald’s letters to her husband I couldn’t help but imagine her as much of a fool in love as was Gatsby.

Continue reading “[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] A Beautiful, Little Fool// Zelda’s letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald//”

[RE-READING] A Tale as Old as Time – THE BEAUTY and THE BEAST

It was a dark and stormy night.

The ground seemed to shake with an unnatural aversion towards the living. I was at my grandparents’ house for the day. Mumma wanted to go to a book fair and it was really far from where we lived so they decided to make a trip of it and left me with grandpa and grandma. I was 9. I don’t remember much of that night except two thingsthe gods seemed angry, and I wanted to go home. 

Sitting by the little window in my room, I saw as the lightning struck the heavens again and again as if desiring to break it open. I remember imagining angels flying out; I remember imagining my dragon in our backyard, protecting us from it all. 

There was a war in my head –

angels against demons,
light against dark,
thunder against peace,

BEAUTY AGAINST BEAST.

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I was on the dragon’s back now, flying up up up, rain on my face, and my insides in a knot. My head was rested against the dragon’s nape, clutching him as tightly as I could, putting all my faith in him. I knew he won’t let me down. 

And he didn’t.

The next morning, it was sunny again. All the flowers seemed to be blooming with a renewed happiness, swaying side by side in celebration. And I knew we had won the war. 

In the drawing-room were my parents, waiting for me. The house smelled of stories and I when looked around, they were all around me. Mumma had brought me so many books from the fair. Each one was more beautiful than the other. They came with a promise of adventure and I was excited to start my next one. And my mother handed me the most beautiful book I had ever held in my hands – written on its cover in gold was,

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

I remember being intrigued by the title. And as I let it swirl around in my mind, I was transported back to my dragon’s back. We had had so many adventures together, you see. He was my first best friend. He still is. 

I remember excusing myself and going back to my room and getting lost in this enchanting tale of love and redemptiona tale as old as time.

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BEAUTY.

The youngest of twelve siblings.

She is the heart of this story. And I remember how much I wanted to be like her. Even today, re-reading this beautiful story, I was struck by how much I still want to be her, to have her patience, firmness of character, her strength of mind. 

”She was a perfectly beautiful young creature, her good temper rendered her adorable.”

When the father of this army of sons and daughters was reduced to poverty and the selfish vanity of the daughters came crashing on their heads, it was Beauty who made the best of circumstances.

The hand of fate is cruelest on those who take their fortunes for granted and so most of the merchant’s children were miserable, wretched that the splendor and glory which was theirs had been snatched away from them. But the youngest one, although sad herself, realized soon enough that cursing the gods for their cruel behavior was no way to go through this crisis. She made the best of the circumstances she was in. She did the work that was required of her, without a shred of complaint, no matter how she felt at heart, and soon enough she started deriving real joy from the adversity her family was thrown in.

Who but the kindest and loveliest of souls can be capable of that?

It’s no doubt then that it was Beauty who chance threw in the way of the realization of her wildest dreams. I am in awe, still, of how with the sweetest of disposition she cared for her family.  Even when her sisters were jealous of her positive outlook.

”Every intelligent person, who saw her in her true light, was eager to give her preference over her sisters.”

Is it really a matter of doubt that people regarded Beauty’s firmness of mind and her strength of character as her greatest virtue? Could her sisters truly not see that anyone, who understood the importance of such virtues, could not help by fall in love with this sweet soul?

Real world is harsh, as we are reminded of at the beginning of this story when the merchant loses his place in society and all the suitors who were apparently in love with his herd of daughters soon dissociated themselves from them and scattered away like peas, in hidden places.

And when you are dealt with a firm blow at the hands of fate, it’s not money and beauty that matters. What’s more important is with what disposition you deal with those circumstances? How far are you willing to go without falling? With a smile on your face, just one more day. Your strength is tested in such times as these when you are left alone and nobody, not even the friends who claimed to love you, come to your aid. How you emerge from it is the true test which everyone is subjected to at one point or another in their lifetime. So was Beauty. And she showed real firmness of character by putting on her bravest smile for the sake of her family, the people she loved. 

Beauty is as beauty does.

She was called by this name due to more reasons than just her physical appearance. Although her charms were many, the greatest virtues that rendered her form so lovely and her face so kind was the lack of vanity and jealousy. Pride, is a different issue altogether. Every man has some, as they should. But vanity is a fault and must never be indulged in. A habit of reveling at the nature of circumstances others in is a crime against the pure nature of the heart and it’s this unsaid crime her sisters were accused of. It’s no wonder then that however pretty they were, it was only Beauty who caught the hearts of people.

Her beauty did not diminish with her father’s wealth. If anything, it increased tenfold!

A steadiness of heart and control over mindless excitement – both happy and sad – is a virtue only the most intelligent possess. They don’t become overcome with grief due to loss or overjoyed due to happy circumstances owing to the knowledge of the fact that life is a tide; the highs and the lows are to be expected. They understand that just like the sea is never constant, neither is life. However, bad things may seem to be, they can always turn lovely, and the other way around as well. So, isn’t it just good sense to never indulge in the extremities of our fickle heart?

The Beauty and the Beast reminds us that things can always get better or worse. And we should live our day to day life accordingly, without losing sight of this simple yet powerful truth.

My younger self didn’t draw all of these lessons from the story though. I had finished reading it by the time we set out for home. It was a peculiar feeling really. I had read many many stories before but this one stirred my heart like none of the others did.

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Beauty and Beast’s love was all I could think about.

I remember sitting in the backseat of our car, listening to my parents talk but my mind was elsewhere. All I wanted was to go back to my dragon. He was flying beside our car, making sure we were safe.

I looked at his majestic form and fell in love with him, convinced that I was the beauty and he was the beast.

(That’s all I cared about at that time anyway!)

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So, have you read The Beauty and the Beast in its complete form?
How has your perception of the story changed over the years?
What are your favorite fairy tales? And favorite re-tellings?
What was the first book you ever read?

I WANNA KNOWWW!!

[MY BOOKISH OBSESSIONS] PASSION + JEALOUSY// Love Letters//

He is angry.
He is irritated.
Many days have passed and yet there is no news of his beloved. She doesn’t write.

WHY DOESN’T SHE WRITE TO HIM?

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Maybe she is ill. Maybe something bad happened to her. Oh, god, what if she is hurt somehow because I wasn’t there to protect her, to care for her? What if she someone else has caught her eye – someone who gives her attention when I couldn’t, who loves her more than me? But surely that’s not possible. Is it?

Love is toxic in the most delightful yet painful way.

You find yourself obsessing over the littlest changes. A single missed text, an unanswered call, and your thoughts go spiraling down, imagining the worst things possible. Isn’t that the truth? 

As all the dark thoughts gather in his mind, turning his every waking moment into a torment, Bonaparte pens down his anxieties and fears hoping that his jealous yet passionate urgings will convince his wife to write more often before loses his mind.

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//MY AESTHETIC// It took me SOOOOOO loooong to make this onee!!! SO YOU BETTER LIKE IT!!!

Napolean Bonaparte to Josephine Bonaparte
Verona, 3 Frimaire, year V [1797]

To Josephine, in Milan

I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. You are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, thrown off in a moment!

What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? 

Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband? Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be.

In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four-page letter at once made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy.

I hope you hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.

Bonaparte

One look at his words, even a fleeting one, and your mind is filled with his troubled thoughts, his worry, his MAD ANTICIPATION.

I don’t blame Bonaparte for the hint of anger in his letter. And although everyone may not agree but to me, such a letter – with gentle reprimands and jealousy –  is one of the best ways to convey how much a person means to them.

He wants every bit of his wife reserved for himself. No exceptions are allowed. Even when he is gone, he wants her to devote as much thought to him as he does to her.

Granted, it’s always just a phase in the long-run of relationships but ISN’T IT THE BEST??
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SO? What did you think of Napolean Bonaparte’s letter to his wife?

How you imagine his wife would have felt at the receipt of this letter? 

Which lines were your favorite?

 

 

 

 

[REVIEW] BEACHCOMBER, BLUE HOUSE & the mystery of the changed name //ROUGH MUSIC – Patrick Gale//

It seems that some of the most beautiful books I own come from a dusty, old bookshop. THAT’S where the magic lies. You go in with wonder in your eyes and excitement in your heart. You don’t know what you are looking for. You don’t know what you’ll find. And that’s half the fun, isn’t it? You just want to get lost in it, for hours..moving from corner to corner, your fingers tracing frayed corners of broken spines, flicking the pages.

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Its one of my favorite things to do. And on that sunny winter day, I was doing exactly this when my eye was captured by a book hiding away between a bunch of bulky hardcovers. On its cover was a little boy, on the beach, looking for something. And I didn’t even have to read what it’ll be about because something in my heart said that whatever story these pages contained, it’ll be worth reading.

And I wasn’t wrong.

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Rough Music is the story of a woman, her husband, and her son. It’s about her fears, her disappointments, and her guilt. It’s about a man always doing the right things and in the process failing to listen to his own heart. it’s also about a boy, a sweet little boy. A boy who lives in books and plays with criminals. A boy whose heart knows the truth but his mind wants to be a grown-up. 

But most of all it’s a story of a family and how it changed during one fine summer.

What happened during that summer? That summer holiday that was supposed to be an escape from the boredom and mundanity of life. That’s what this story is about.

About that fine summer on the beach.

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Patrick Gale is a sly human being. He hooks you in with a promise of a fun holiday and then he shatters your beliefs and your heart by turning it into something you’d never have expected. His lyrical writing captivates you from the instant you read that first sentence – full of desire, confusion, and hope to disappear. And then he forms a smoke-screen for you in the next few chapters to make sure that you believe his faux promise of a fun, loving, exciting family. 

The story follows two timelines and both of them intertwine so completely that it weaves a thick web around you and it continues to do so until you aren’t able to see anything but these beautifully flawed characters. Will – a man drowning in guilt and trying to break free of his conflicted mind, Frances – dealing with the slow but gradual demise of her memory – both good and bad, and John – a man struggling to keep it all together.

It’s amazing how much a story can change you as it changes the lives of the ones it belongs to.

Years ago, something happened in a house overlooking a beautiful beach. It was like a dream come true for little Julian – to be spending his holidays there, this heaven on Earth. And his parents? Well, they were deeply in love, as far as he was concerned. But this truth will soon change for him and when it does, he will be left with nothing but an overwhelming urge to break it all.

As the narrative shifts from Julian to Will to Frances to John, Gale presents a sharp contrast in their voices and although it seems like nothing at first but as you progress through the story, you find out just how much of their characters and their deepest desires is revealed through it. He captures the fantasy-ridden, innocent voice of Julian in such contrast with that of his parents that it’s impossible not to fall in love first, with him, and then with Patrick Gale for doing such an excellent job at bringing this little boy and everyone around him to life. 

The effect of his words is magnetic to the point that before you know it, you find yourself amidst all that is happening, with your senses heightened and your morality questioning every event that transpires.

It’s so well written that I couldn’t see the surprises coming. They kept closing in, all this time, and I was completely unaware. They stealthily caught up on me and in a moment, everything I thought I knew about every single one of them was pronounced false. 

Gale has this extraordinary talent of making things seem irrelevant until they turn into the exact opposite of that. Thrilling, in the most beautiful, lyrical way. His writing reads like elongated poetry, dispelling all the harsh truths and the sunny memories all at the same time, in an uninterrupted dream. 

Julian spent all of his childhood in uncommon vicinity to the prison and its inhabitants. Made friends with them. And it is almost poetic how he ultimately became one. In this way, the events of this story also give off a vague but unmistakable whiff of karma.

Rough Music puts the sanctity of marriage and relationships in bright light too for us to see the cracks that are otherwise impossible to discern. A marriage done solely for the comforts of belonging to someone and a desire to get away from a family of four brothers and a mother who saw her as a disappointment left Frances wanting more after the newness of the first few years wore off. And John? Well, he, bound to his duty as a prison governor and entangled in the web of politeness, never dared voice his deep love for her and it led to such disappointments later on that everything – every year they had spent together- was brought into question.

This story is also about memories.

Some we want to hold on to, others we bury deep inside, never letting them surface.

But what happens when they do?

THES N O WCHILD

When a spiteful daughter concocts a plan to send you to the very place where the dissociation of your seemingly lovely family began? When a desire for the feel of a handsome stranger calls everything you’ve been doing into question? When the guilt of hurting your sister constantly for almost as long as she’s been married drives you to such a point of confusion that you just don’t know what to do anymore? When a sound, a smell, a taste, an event brings back every emotion you’ve been suppressing for as long as you can remember? 

What happens when the past starts to flood your present and there is no anchor to hold on to?

EVERYTHING UNRAVELS.

I was also struck by the stunning contrast between what happened years ago – it’s excitement and the calm composed nature of the present circumstances acquired only after the long-accepted knowledge of those truths. They had made peace with their secrets and what happened at their unveiling and I, on the other hand, was left to the thrill and excitement and the emotional turmoil of it all. 

The unfolding of the events of this book is like the unveiling of a masterpiece – it takes its sweet time. It was less a mere advancement and more a discovery of relationships, their secrets, and the morals and attitudes that guided them – for better or worse – throughout the span of three generations. You will be told about secrets you wish you hadn’t been made privy to, you will be made to pity an old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s and defend her actions, you will be made to hate or be indifferent towards a daughter who was never really a daughter.

Yes, you will be MADE to do all of these things. You won’t have a choice. The writer is the master here and all you can do is bow down to his genius and let the story live in you, live through you. 

You’ll find that every word on these pages is intensely aware of its existence, the story painfully aware of its liveliness and this awareness will act as a bridge to the very souls of these characters. Only then they won’t just be ‘characters’ anymore. They will become your companions for the time being and beyond.

Rough Music isn’t just a story about a family and how they deal with life’s different blows and the problems in their relationships, it’s a piece of their life which Patrick Gale has entrusted us, the readers, to make sure that it is heard, understood, and reflected upon. 

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How much power does a name hold? It can change lives, memories, even the whole personality.

By the end, you will understand the mystery of a boy’s changed name.

A boy with heaps of guilt stacked on his little shoulders.
A man in love with his wife but ensnared by the silence that fears had imposed on him.
A woman losing her mind, and a loving doting husband losing himself in her.

I have lived their lives. Their forgetful, unforgettable lives. And now, their lives live in me. Maybe forever.
But memory is a fickle thing, isn’t it?

Ask Frances when you meet, in between the pages of Rough Music.

You will, won’t you? ♥