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Oke of Oakhurst by Vernon Lee Part 2
So the story develops. It begins by our painter narrator noting the strange fascination Alice Oke has for her namesake from 1626. I wonder whether that precise date is important?
Later on, he discovers that not only is she wearing a dress copied from the 1626 Alice Oke’s portrait, but it is the very dress. She moons over the poetry of Lovelock and he notices that it is as if the poems were written to her. She seems to know the very words they spoke.
She lingers in the Yellow Room, a room in which no Oke, except her could bear sit. William Oke notes the fact he hates the room, and all the Okes do, but says nothing has happened there. Then Vernon Lee drops the comment that perhaps something will happen there.
I think the oak symbolism must mean something. So far I am just thinking it is to represent the solid, earthiness of William Oke of Oakhurst and his family.
Also she mentions the cries of lambs separated from their mothers for at least the second if not the third time. So she either didn’t edit her draft very well, or this too is meant to be in and therefore symbolic.
The 1626 Alice Oke killed her lover the poet Lovelock. She comes over as a bit of a psycho. I think 1880 Alice Oke is a different kind of weird. She is fey and withdrawn from reality where 1626 Alice seems a bit of a firebrand and a wicked woman.
As 1880 drives madly through the countryside, to take our narrator to the murder spot, she seems possessed by this wicked highway-woman ancestress.
In the yellow room, our man gets the idea that Alice 1880 does not seem to be another woman from Alice 1626 but the very same.
I also note that the cavalier poet Lovelock (the cavaliers were the foppish ones who fought for the side of the king in the English civil war) was a dab band with a sword. Poets aren’t as cool these days.
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Music by The Heartwood Institute