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In San Juan

Writing from Kathleen's tiny VAIO, without the help of my text editor, I have managed to connect - and to report that I am alive and reasonably well. We're at the InterContinental San Juan, on Isla Verde - Puerto Rico's Miami Beach. It is pouring rain - which is not a problem, since Kathleen's at the convention, while I've got lots to read.

Kathleen had the bright idea of slipping me an Atavan on the flight, and I think that it had a healthy effect. The ride was really rather smooth, with only a few isolated moments of turbulence, never so rough as to prompt the captain to turn on the seat-belt sign. Even so, I detected a difference, a lack of apprehension. I wasn't waiting for the plane to rumble.

As a result, I was able to read the first dozen chapters of Emma, absorbed enough to pay attention to Jane Austen's unusual opening strategy. I'll write about this more when writing is a bit more convenient, but what distinguishes the opening of Emma from the conventional opening of a nineteenth-century novel is that, instead of beginning with a crisis that will set the action in motion while allowing the characters to present themselves, it dilates on the heroine's environment, widening the circle of her world a little bit in every chapter. Chapter 2, for example, expands upon the Weston connection, introducing the as-yet unmet Frank Churchill. In the following chapter, Harriet Smith steps forward - or, rather, is gently prodded into prominence by Emma's not entirely disinterested attentions. The opening action - disengaging Harriet from Robert Martin and preparing the field for -

But what's this? The good ladies at the Business Center have hooked my own machine up. Boy, am I dumb.


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Kathleen has a book in her, called "Travels with RJ"...
I predict a blockbuster and movie as well.......

Have a wonderful time. Sip silly drinks with umbrellas and enjoy the sunshine. We already miss you both.

Dear RJ,

How lovely you're in a warm beautiful place. Alexandria is not bad today: cool balmyness (spelling?) and quietly sunny.

I wish Kathleen would send along something for me to slip Edward (Jim's other name when I call myself Elinor). I'm afraid all the tests turned up nothing. According to modern science, Edward has nothing wrong with him.

The pain is off and on but sometimes strong between the shoulder and hand on his right side.

Ah, _Emma_. Can anyone ever tire of Austen? Early on too you can easily work out from the dropped suggestions worlds of events and relationships and landscapes. It really begins with _S&S_.


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