The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories
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Whether she's spinning the tale of an Irish soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon's attempts to "improve" women, a seventeenth-century countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an "undead" murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her stories an "elegant, colorful prose filled with unforgettable sights, sounds and smells" (Elle). Here she summons the ghosts of those women who counted for nothing in their own day, but who come to unforgettable life in fiction.
into my dress and squeezed my nipples to see what would come out. Mr. Howard ran back from the inn at dinnertime, with sauce down his neck-kerchief, and told me not to fret. "St. Andre is no man-midwife, Alary; the only females he's seen close up are dead ones." At that I started to shudder, but my sister Toft told me to give over my nonsense. That afternoon I gave birth to my first rabbit, which was supposed to be my twelfth. The first thing was, Air. St. Andre rolled up his flowing cuff and
brings them some cold beef for a late supper. Then John and their hostess exchange significant glances, and he stands up and holds out his curved arm to Effie. The newlyweds leave Hobbs downstairs warming his toes at the fire, and follow their hostess's lamp up two flights of creaking stairs. "This is quite the genteelest room in the house," she assures them, poking the fire, "and the rest of the floor is quite empty tonight, so you won't be disturbed." Effie studies the drab watercolour of Ben
fire before her mother's voice tightened around her: did she mean to smoke them out entirely? Dot was called for to carry the manuscript to the gardener's bonfire, where it would do no harm. From that day on the girl would write no words of her own, only lists of French verbs and English wars. In the strongbox behind her eyes, she stacked volumes of stories about her pretend families. She sealed her lashes and reread the adventures only in bed before it was light, in case anyone might catch her
we spend so long in the orchard." "We are studying the names of the insects." And the governess tagged her on the shoulder and, picking up her skirts, hared off down a damp grassy path. Margaret was still considering the matter when she found her legs leaping away with her. In the April evenings, Mistress Mary entertained the household with recitations and English country dances. Her Ladyship looked on, her hair whiter by the day. They argued over the number of buttons on the girls' boots.
The pen outdoes the sword, or so they say, but Margery reckons the flame outdoes them both. Of course there'll be punishment. Is there a single day that doesn't drag its punishment behind it, as a ewe her filthy tail? Margery knows and right now Margery couldn't give a fart. Once in a while comes a day unlike all the others, priceless in your hand like a peppercorn you must wager the rest of your days to win. The flames lick lovingly. The scent of black soot clouds round Margery Starre. It's