(urth) An Evil Guest: tone, and clones

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 08:24:41 PST 2010

> And I don't think she would look at the mirrors and realize "I'm
> seeing twins, so that means...", since she describes herself as 'a
> wasted face, sunburned and deeply lined, surmounted by dirty, graying
> hair. A bent and barefoot old woman dressed in rags, with arms and
> legs like sticks."

It is a staple of Wolfe characters that they see through the superficial to 
the truth.

> The thin and old part match Pavlatos


>, the rags can be replaced, the wasted face repaired by cosmetics, her 
>fattened out to 'rake-thin'
> (however that compares to her starved condition)

check, check, check

> - but the hair
> doesn't match at all, unless we're going to dismiss the
>photos, mirrors, fortune, and also postulate hair dye or a wig.

I don't see how these are impediments at all.
Well, assuming she's a good deal older than Cassie, the hair is dyed. 
Cassie's hair is auburn, right? That's technically a brunette. The text 
doesn't say "dark brown hair" or "black hair". Auburn is between brunette 
and red hair as strawberry-blonde is between blonde and red hair. If a 
strawberry blonde were referred to as "blonde", would you say "that's 
totally different"?

And of course we aren't told of Cassie's reaction to the photos, only her 
reaction to seeing herself in the mirror before she had an opportunity to 
look at the photos. The photos might well include ones of her in a 
restaurant with Gideon Chase and actor headshots. If Cassie is one of a 
series of clones then they might be photos of lots of scenes she knows 
nothing about, however contemporaneous with her time.

Coming off the island, Cassie is haggard. Looking years older. So the mirror 
is all the confirmation she needs. I think the mirrors are intended as a 
metaphor as much as a plot element.

I'm not saying there anything *proven* here. I'm just befuddled that you 
think the idea of Pavlatos = Cassie can be dispensed with. And, personally, 
based on the Sharon Bench conversation and the mirrors in the stateroom, I'd 
be surprised if P==C or C=P (that is, "eventually becomes") is not part of 
this stew.

>>> Pavlatos is really rich - far richer than Cassie's
>>> bracelet could have
>>> made her.

>>  Perhaps the bracelet is worth a great deal
>>....ala the Hope diamond.

> It is. Remember the passage about the 'awed' Barclays manager who
> informs her she is now the wealthiest woman 'in the state'?

Well, then, that's a pretty sweet stake to build a fortune on. Anyway, we 
know she's wealthy but we really don't know *how* wealthy. She's got a 
yacht. That hardly requires that she be Warren Buffet.

>> For the sake of argument, lets assume it isn't. Now we're moving corners
>> Wolfe (once again) did not delineate for whatever reason. Exactly how 
>> Chase
>> could have promised her "wealth" is still unresolved.

> I'm not sure there's a problem here. Chase promised her a cool 100k.
>[snip]Or are you thinking that since Chase was in
> love with her as well, he would give her everything
>he had (which as a
> Woldercon alchemist presumably would be a lot)?

I don't *know* how he intended to make her wealthy. $100K is not what he 
promised her. It's the minimum payment she demanded. He had something else 
in mind or else, I think, he would have stated a precise amount in the first 
place. Assuming he knows that Pavlatos is Cassie, then he could certainly 
promise that she would become wealthy due to their gambit. Otherwise, I 
don't know.

>>As long as we are pointing out the endless plots that might be plugged 
>>Wolfe's crazy-quilt story, I want to put another log on the fire. Why
>>Cassie? Why did Chase pick her? Because he saw her on stage?

> Aren't we told by him that's why?

Yes. This is a Wolfe novel. Doesn't the fact that he lays it all out in the 
1st or 2nd chapter make you a teensy suspicious? He promised to make her a 
star, which he does although she never becomes famous (so far as we know). 
So the one point (we think) we understand, he means something categorically 
different from what Cassie thinks he means. He promises to make her wealthy 
although he never explains how his plan will accomplish that unless having 
her marry Reis was his plot from the beginning. There's more going on here.


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